Written by one of the foremeost historians of American Catholicism, this book presents a comprehensive history of the Roman Catholic Church in America from colonial times to the present. Hennesey examines, in particular, minority Catholics and developments in the western part of the United States, a region often overlooked in religious histories. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest single religious body in the nation, claiming just under fifty million members in 1980. While not neglecting structures and institutions, bishops and clergy, Hennesey is most concerned with the ordinary people of the Roman Catholic Church. Where di Catholics crom from? Why did they come to America? How did the environment into which they came to affect their Catholocism?