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How the Catholic Church helped unemployed laborers in the 1920s

The 1920s are known as the “Roaring Twenties” because they were years of economic growth and rising prosperity. But while the U.S. was booming, other countries were grappling with stagnation and mass unemployment.

The U.K. was emerging from a war in which it had lost 886,000 lives. After a brief boom when the First World War ended in 1918, unemployment rose to more than 10% and remained high throughout the following decade.

“Although the Great Depression proper began in 1929, the early and mid-1920s were also years of economic hardship as Britain sought to recover from the First World War,” Fr. Stewart Foster, archivist of the Diocese of Brentwood in southeast England, told CNA.

While the Catholic Church struggled to respond to the crisis at a national level, local leaders found creative ways to help those who had lost their livelihoods. 

Foster highlighted the example of Fr. Francis Gilbert, a priest of Brentwood diocese, who was serving in Grays, an industrial town on the River Thames, when he was posted to the nearby resort of Leigh-on-Sea in 1917.

Although the country was engulfed in war and money was scarce, Gilbert launched a church building fund. 

Read more at Catholic News Agency

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