About 10,000 working men and women took part in the annual demonstration in Ghent, Belgium, on Ascension Day. to commemorate the publication in 1891 of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical (Rerum Novarum) on Labour.
Chief amongst the foreign visitors was Mgr. John McNulty, the Bishop of Nottingham, who accepted an invitation to preside at the demonstration in the absence of the Bishop of Ghent.
Most of those present were young people, men and girls from the working classes, who provided a brave and inspiring display of Catholic faith and action.
Labour Groups in Procession
The function opened with solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in the Cathedral of St. Bavon. Then a procession was formed, each section marching with its own flags and, in many cases, with its own band, through the main streets of the city.
The Bishop of Nottingham, with Canon Parmentier and M. de Schryver (Minister for Home Affairs) and leaders of the Catholic Labour Movement " took the salute" from the steps of one of the Catholic Workers' offices.
Every branch of labour (including the Jocistes) was represented in the procession, at the end of which came a dozen horsedrawn carriages. These conveyed the founders and original members of the first Catholic labour syndicate (trade union) in Belgium, which keeps its jubilee this year, being actually in existence four years before the publication of Pope Leo's encyclical. The processionists finally assembled in the enormous Velodrome, in the centre of which a giant cross had been erected. Round this cross flags and banners were grouped, whilst the younger sections made their acts of faith and loyalty to the Church in the style of the Performances of the Speeches were made by Catholic labour leaders and the Bishop of Nottingham gave a short address which was received with remarkable enthusiasm. His words were translated by the Minister, M. de Schryver. The whole function, which lasted until six o'clock, was a most happy and inspiring affair, and a splendid expression of Catholic belief and organised action.