Catholic Alumni Club of Detroit


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In the spring of 1940 a group of Marquette University alumni met with Rev. Vincent P. O’Flaherty, SJ, to form an organization for single Catholic university graduates. The Catholic Alumni Club, as it was called, reached a total of 40 members by 1942. The CAC of Milwaukee, temporarily suspended during World War II, has a membership today of 350.

Subsequently, on the West Coast, Sister Mary Reginald, IHM, a professor of history at Hollywood's Immaculate Heart College, saw the need for a means to bring together single young Catholic graduates living in the Los Angeles area. She talked her idea over with a young attorney, Martin McManus, who undertook the formation of a Catholic Alumni Club. The first membership meeting in 1948 was attended by 100 persons.

1954 saw the formation of two more clubs in Southern California, the Harbor and Desert Valley Catholic Alumni Clubs. These clubs joined Los Angeles in 1956, forming the Council of Catholic Alumni Clubs, to plan and coordinate joint activities and extend guest privileges to each other's members. The following year clubs were organized in San Francisco and Sacramento and a similar group, the Catholic University Club of Detroit, became the second Midwestern CAC.

These first clubs were joined by others and set the pattern for Catholic Alumni Club activities throughout the country. Through a full program of religious, community service, social, recreational, and cultural activities, CACs offer to young single Catholics in and near metropolitan areas a chance to meet friends of similar educational and religious backgrounds. CACs do not compete with but rather supplement parish activities.

A wealth of leadership talent among members has been an important factor in CAC’s growth. Because of the group's informality and wide scope of activities, members have invaluable opportunities to develop abilities for planning, administration, and decision making. Through Catholic Alumni Clubs, these young professional people serve their church, their community, and themselves.

In March 1957 the Southern California CACs joined with the Milwaukee and Detroit clubs to form the National Association of Catholic Alumni Clubs. The purposes of the new Association were stated as:
  (1) The joint advancement and welfare of the Catholic Alumni Clubs. 
  (2) To encourage and assist in the formation of new clubs. 
  (3) To exchange and disseminate information among the member clubs for their expansion, coordination, and                improvement. 
  (4) To serve as the clubs’ national spokesman in areas of public relations and club development.

On Labor Day weekend, 1957, some 300 members of the Catholic Alumni Clubs located in California met for the first important joint , CAC event, a camping and social weekend in Yosemite National Park, where club leaders conferred on plans to develop the National Association. The next year, the NACAC constitution and by-laws were ratified, pointing the way toward an expanded national CAC program.

"Holiday in the West", the first National CAC convention, held in 1960 at Colorado Springs, Colorado, was attended by CACers from 16 clubs throughout the nation. Between 4OO and 500 CACers now attend annually, with the location rotated throughout the country.

The clubs now making up the National Association stand ready to welcome new clubs into the Association.  An important aim of NACAC is the establishment of a Catholic Alumni Club in every community of over 100,000 population in the country and even in cities outside the United States as well. CAC can be established through the founding of an entirely new club or by encompassing an already established group that desires to become a CAC.

Regional organizations were also formed with NACAC, enabling clubs in the different areas of the country—— Midwest, East, West, Rocky Mountain, and Pacific Northwest, to plan joint activities with nearby CACs and pursue mutual interests. Club development, tours, and the National Convention are now part of regions’ responsibilities.

PARTICIPATION is the KEY to the measure of enjoyment in the CACD! It means new interests! New friends!  Members participate by being on A COMMITTEE!

CATHOLIC ACTION Plans, promotes — First Friday Mass, Communion breakfasts, rosary recitation, bible vigils, community service projects, days of recollection, other religious & charitable works.

CULTURAL Plans, promotes bull sessions, book reviews, art appreciation, Great Decision Series. Encourages participation in Christian Culture Series, Detroit Symphony Series, opera, Stratford Festival.

MEMBERSHIP Distributes and processes application forms to prospective members, introduces new members to the Club, maintains membership records, prepares the annual membership roster.

PUBLICATIONS Prepares and mails the monthly newsletter and all official notices of the Club. Also publishes and mails annual roster.

PUBLICITY Prepares and distributes news releases to diocesan & other newspapers and to radio stations about Club meetings and activities. Also prepares posters and helps promote CAC regional and national meetings and conventions.

SOCIAL Plans, promotes, the Fourth Friday Dances, TGIF Parties, picnics, bowling, tennis, canoe-along weekend, ski weekends, dance lessons, bridge, semi-annual dinner dances & other social doings.