.SIR,—The CATHOLIC HERALD has probably already been notified about the Ordination that took peace in the College for the Propagation of the Faith on St. Joseph's Feast; still, since we had the (to us) unusual privilege of joining in the " laying on of hands," we may be forgiven for writing a little more about it.
The Urban College of Propaganda was founded down in the City by Urban VIII in 1628, to provide education either to those who were to go to foreign parts as mis sionaries, or who came thence to be taught the Faith in Rome. The reigning Pontiff has transferred it to the Janiculum, and though we may be sorry that his windows no more look across the Piazza of St.
Peter's to the lovely pines and cypresses that once upon a time closed that horizon, he can at least rejoice that within the enormous building of pale brick that now he sees, 233 young men (1937-1938) are pre:, paring to carry the Faith of which he is the Shepherd to all parts of the earth.
Thirty-seven nations are represented there; of the 233 58 are destined for Europe, 109 for Asia, 14 for America. 16 for Africa, and 36 for " Oceania." To my delight it was an Australian who came to see me first, and then asked me to go up there for the Ordination, and the Rector in his goodness invited rue to address the students, some day, on what I liked.
On St. Joseph's Feast were ordained ten Indians (some of the Syro-Malabar rite; one or two Syriac—Mar Ivanios's men: you will not forget him?: 'the rest are Latins: one is from Ceylon), six Chinese, five Australians, five Rumanians—some of the Graeco-Rumanian rite. Then one each from the following countries: Germany, New Zealand, Greece, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Jugo-Slavia, S. Africa, Japan. I think this is right! The young man whom I " assisted " during his ordination-Mass was a Rumanian. I was glad of that, having hardly met any Rumanians before, save Prince Cihika, whom Dublin certainly will not forget.
It was wonderful to put one's hands on heads whose shaven tonsure was hardly paler than the dark hair around it; and to see dark hands laid on the yellow hair of northerners; and to kiss, well afterwards, and be blessed by, the hands not only of those young Australians, but by so many boys—as they seemed to me—from distant lands whose oriental impassivity had been mysteriously changed, by the Faith, into a recollection that no one could possibly mistake. Even in this hour of spiritual concentration one could not but notice that —I had before now, say in Algeria, envied the power of the Mohammedan to with draw himself into prayer even among crowds, in the most secular and even uproarious surroundings. But here the
difference in quality was obvious This was a different sort of prayer. The inward
absorption of these Siamese or Chinamen was as deep and deeper than, what I had envied among non-Christians, but ii was
different in kind. The difference is due to the presence of Christ and of His Mother. There is no proof of that, and no possibility of doubting it.
How one prayed, as at an ordination indeed one must, that this day will never fade from memory; that not one will ever take the marvel of his priesthood for granted: that Mass will never become but an incident in a day: that to know that in the confessional one has healing hands may never become a commonplace: that to say, when giving Communion; " May the Body of Our Lord . . . guard thy soul into eternal life " may be spoken with such con
viction as to become--be it said with reverence—all but a command; so that the Lord may feel that He simply must not allow even one soul to be lost, about whom so tremendous a prayer has been prayed.
But the hour contained its anxieties. A young man from Ceylon was talking to me about the fate of so many of his country men (the same would apply I think to Indians) who come to England and London university in particular, and who in a very short time lose alike faith and morals, and return to their home not only infected with that singularly nauseating pseudo-Com munism which is so common among our clever-uneducateds, but give themselves out, in their country, as having travelled, having seen the world, being emancipated from outworn traditions, and in short as being the men obviously marked out to hold the leading positions in the law, in journalism, in the legislature. Their sojourn amongst us having destroyed Them. they return to mechanise, vulgarise, demoralise all that is most venerable, strong, genuine and vital among their compatriots.
I said that the fault was on our side— though not wholly. Any business firm, sending out a youth to, e.g., the Argentine, would notify their representatives there; he would be picked up, taught his job, and put upon his feet and in a proper environment. This, because otherwise he would flounder and probably be no use to his firm. Catho lic parish priests in England do not so much as notify the chaplain of a Catholic university society when one of their young parishioners goes up to the University in question. Difficult, then, to expect a priest from the world's other side, to notify an English authority of the advert( of a young Japanese or Indian, and to beg that he be at once made member of our St. Francis Xavier's union. But my companion in-,
sisted that, No—the fault was on their side, though again not wholly. Too many
parents sent their sons to England wishing
them not to get into a " narrow " group of Indians, Ceylonese, Siamese and so
forth, Let them get a " liberal " education.
The result was, that they would do anything rather than notify a society composed of Catholics even half of whom were Indian. etc., that their son was arriving. So they mix with the society of inferior night-clubs and worse than inferior Cornmunists who always think that the man of colour is a sitting rabbit, and far more easily their prey than their white compatriots.
It remains that we are very remiss indeed in regard of this problem and of the socie ties by means of which we make a partial attempt at solving it. In all places where there is a large aggregate of young men and women from overseas, Catholics ought to make a special effort to welcome them, and we pray that ecclesiastical authority
will insist that this be done, and on being regularly informed that it is done. Otherwise we shall oozetinue placidly to allow our land to destroy the faith of OUT Catholic guests, and thereby cause them to ruin so much that is good overseas, which a (ollege like Propaganda is working so hard to preserve, consolidate and develop.
C. C. MARTINDALE.