The History of the Police Holy Name Society
of Nassau County
The Holy Name Society is a very ancient society. A letter was written by Pope Gregory X on September 20, 1274 to the Master General of the Dominican Order to engage in a crusade to exhort the faithful to increase reverence for the Name of the Redeemer to counteract the profanity and blasphemy prevalent at that time.
In 1886, Pope Leo XIII gave permission for the Holy Name Society to be established in the United States provided the local Bishop approved.
Thirty-Six (36) years later during the reign of Pope Pius XI, the Police Holy Name Society of Nassau County was established. At approximately 2 minutes after eight on the evening of December 12, 1932, with eleven policemen present, temporary secretary Motorcycle Patrolman John Krause put pencil to paper and the Police Holy Name Society of Nassau County was off and running down the road of history.
These were difficult times for the 450 men of the Nassau Police Department. The starting salary was $2,000 per year. After “seven” long years the salary rose to $2,600 per year. However, everyone had to take a 5% cut because of the depression. The news of the day was the tragic kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s baby son. Babe Ruth was still going strong with 41 homers and 137 RBI’s. None of those 450 men had yet to hear of Adolf Hitler, Amelia Earhart, Joe DiMaggio, Pearl Harbor or Hiroshima.
Those original eleven cops of the Holy Name Society were known as the inner-core or Apostles so to speak. Upon occasion, a member would be active in the inner-core for twenty years or so until he retired and moved away or died. Curiously a new member would show up at the very next meeting of the inner-core and be active for the next twenty years or so – and so on and so on. If you were to ask the current members of the inner-core why they are active, some would be hard pressed to answer. It’s a common misconception that we pick Jesus Christ. The truth is that its Jesus Christ who picks ‘us’ just like he picked the biblical apostles who we called saints. We now call them saints but that’s not why Jesus picked them.
None of those eleven pioneers are still alive today. They lived their lives to the best of their abilities and have gone on to their reward, as have the many other police officers who followed them. Some were shot in the line of duty or while climbing Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima or in the jungles, deserts, towns and beaches of the world.
Most died after long and dedicated careers and lives. No matter how they died, the Holy Name of Jesus Christ loved them every step of the way. Those pioneer eleven have grown to approximately 1000 current members as we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Police Holy Name Society in the year of our Lord 2007.
Why December 12 was chosen for the date of the first meeting of the Nassau Police Holy Name Society may never be known. Perhaps the the eleven Nassau County police officers who gathered for that first meeting of the Holy Name Society picked the date of December 12, 1932 for no other reason than the Conference Room in Headquarters was available that night. We aren’t sure that any of them were even aware that the date they picked corresponded with the Hispanic Holyday of our Lady of Guadalupe which had been celebrated locally in Mexico for over 400 years.
It wasn’t until 1988 that Pope John Paul II raised the date of December 12 to the status of a Feast Day in all of the dioceses of the United States declaring the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the Empress of the Americas under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. So it’s obvious that we didn’t pick the Blessed Virgin Mary to guide the Police Holy Name Society, she picked us – just like Christ continues to pick the inner-core. Perhaps it was the Blessed Mother who made sure that the Conference Room was available way back then on that first night, her future Feast Day.
Gentle Lady pray for us!