• One of the largest crowds ever to attend a religious event in Jacksonville filled the Jacksonville Baseball Park for the Eucharistic Congress conducted by the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine.
Estimated attendance was more than 25,000 people from 41 counties in North Florida that comprised the diocese. Forty-two priests were stationed in the ball park to administer Holy Communion at the Solemn Pontifical Mass.
A choir of 5,000 boys and girls, most of them from Catholic churches in Jacksonville, sang at the congress.
Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley returned from the second Ecumenical Council in Rome to take part in the congress. He was scheduled to return to the Vatican at the conclusion of the congress.
Hurley, in his closing sermon, quoted Pope Paul VI's address to the Ecumenical Council Sept. 26 giving its purpose. The objective was Christian unity, Hurley said, and that should be the aim of Christians all over the world.
"The council is to be a new spring, a new source of energy," he said.
Hurley said Catholics "greet all Christians from their hearts" and felt "a deep sadness at their prolonged separation."
Hurley said also that Catholics should beg God's forgiveness if in the past the church was responsible for the schism among Christian religions.
"Our manner is friendly, completely sincere and loyal. We are aware of the enormous difficulties to be overcome for the desired union. But we put our trust in God," he said.
• County Solicitor Edward M. Booth, chief prosecutor in Criminal Court, announced promotions for four of his assistants.
In a letter to the Board of County Commissioners, Booth said Donald G. Nichols and John F. Gaillard had been promoted to first assistant at an annual salary of $9,800 each.
Homer H. Humphries and John H.P. Helms were promoted to second assistant and would be paid $8,500 each per year.
Booth said other appointments on his staff would be made as soon as additional space was provided in the Duval County Courthouse for his offices.
The commissioners were advised also in a letter from Sheriff Dale Carson of the appointment of seven new deputy traffic officers for the Duval County Patrol. They would receive $193.75 biweekly plus $25 per month expense allowance.
• The Greater Jacksonville Agricultural and Industrial Fair wound up its 1963 run and broke all attendance records.
Fair officials said 147,261 people went through the turnstiles, up from 1962's attendance of 122,419.
Most fair personnel attributed the record attendance to new and better attractions and better facilities.
"We were in tents in the ball park last year. Our new location in the Gator Bowl prompted better participation from exhibitors, not to mention increased spectator interest," said Assistant County Agricultural Agent Tom Braddock.
A number of events were staged for children at the 1963 fair, including a quick draw contest, a pet show and livestock and arts and crafts exhibits.
When the pet show results were tabulated, Mike Ferrera's iguana, "Elvis," took the top prize.
The lizard was judged "most unique" and "ugliest" in the show.
Richard Suddath's collie, "Laddy," placed first in the "largest 4-legged pet" and "best educated pet" categories. The canine came in second in the "dog with the longest tail" competition.
• The new Jacksonville Beach Municipal Building along Third Street at Beach Boulevard was tentatively accepted by the city and City Manager Walter Johnson said furniture and other fixtures would be moved in as soon as possible.
Johnson said the contractor, George F. Tharp, had agreed to correct a list of minor defects before the city would officially accept the $334,000 structure.
The building would house Jacksonville Beach's City Hall, police department and jail.
The building was the centerpiece of the first phase of a redevelopment program, which was financed by a $1.2-million general obligation bond issue. The rest of the money went to acquisition of property in a six-block area adjacent to the new building.
Jacksonville Beach planned to issue additional revenue certificates to finance a $2.25-million second phase to include construction of parking areas in the six-block area.
• Jacksonville Mayor Haydon Burns, who had not yet announced his candidacy for governor of Florida, received the endorsement of Tampa Mayor Nick Nuccio.
Burns was a past president of the Florida League of Municipalities and was making a speech at the group's annual convention when Nuccio made his announcement.
"I will do everything in my power to aid his race for governor. This man has more knowledge of local government problems than any other man I know," Nuccio said.
• Duval County Tax Assessor Ralph N. Walter told members of the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce that the Duval County legislative delegation, not the tax assessor, was responsible for the 1963 tax increases.
"Many citizens are under the impression that the assessor of taxes is responsible for the tax increases. Positively, such is not the case, as in no case has the assessment been raised since my taking office on Jan. 8, 1963. The complaints of the citizens should be addressed to our state senate and House delegates," Walter said.
Citing the tax hikes, he said the basic ad valorem rate in unincorporated areas of Duval County increased from 49.49 mills in
1962 to 57.227 mills in 1963, an increase of $7.74 on $1,000 of valuation.
Walter credited $5.23 of the increase to 1963 legislation that provided special services such as fire protection and recreation for areas outside municipalities in the county.
He said another 1.5 mills applying to nonexempt valuations inside municipalities, as well as in suburban areas, was authorized by the Legislature for the new Jacksonville Port Authority.
• More than 2,600 Englewood High School students expressed interest in being part of "Operation Amigo," a plan to bring students from Guatemala to Jacksonville.
H. Stuart Morrison, coordinator for Miami-based Operation Amigo Inc., told the students that the 30 Guatemalan students who would be their classmates for two weeks were "much like yourselves, in that they are boys and girls."
Morrison said the visiting group would include 22 boys and eight girls selected in Guatemala for their academic promise and leadership ability.
"These students will know a lot about the United States. You will be surprised at the mental ability of the 16- and 17-year-old Latin Americans," he said.
The visitors would be hosted by the families of Englewood juniors and seniors.
Morrison told the host candidates that experience had shown the visitors would have many questions, some complicated and about difficult situations.
"It will be up to you to answer them as honestly and frankly as you can.
"You are going to be playing an important part in the foreign relations of your country on a people-to-people basis. No government is involved in this," he said.
Have you ever wondered what life was like in Jacksonville half a century ago? It was a different era of history, culture and politics but there are often parallels between the kind of stories that made headlines then and today. As interesting as the differences may be, so are the similarities. These are some of the top stories from this week in 1963. The items were compiled from the Jacksonville Public Library's periodical archives by Staff Writer Max Marbut.