Page 8, 25th July 1941

25th July 1941
Page 8
Page 8, 25th July 1941 — Catholic Gentiles Who Help Jews Are Victims of Nazi Persecution
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Catholic Gentiles Who Help Jews Are Victims of Nazi Persecution

From a Special Correspondent News has reached us of the first Ghetto Catholic church to be opened in Warsaw, capital of the conquered Polish territory to which Germanihas confined her unwanted Jews.

A Jewish refugee, who has arrived in Lisbon, relates how Fr. Pudra, because of his Jewish blood, must wear a hand with a six-pointed star on hie.. liturgical vestments.

That the notorious Nat persecution of Jews spreads to Catholic Gentiles who labour for the good of Israel is seen in the recent revelation that when the Germans entered Paris, they lost no time in raiding the headquarters of the Fathers of Notre Dame de Sinn, a Congregation of priests whose especial apostolate is the Conversion of the Jews. They threw a lay-brother into prison, and took off into Germany the Fathers' library, thinking, presumably, that through the perusal of their books they might find proofs that the Church is pro-Jewish

Because the Nazi authorities have forbidden the saying of Mass in certain parts of Poland, Catholics in those places assemble secretly after midnight and participate in the Holy Sacrifice in the basements of houses and even in caves, report Polish refugees in Lisbon.

lily their magnificent display of courage and devotion to their people, these refugees say, Catholic priests in Poland are not only bolstering the morale of Catholics, but are being looked upon as natural leaders by Protestants and Jews. In the exercise of Christian charity, Catholic priests in Poland are making real and successful efforts to aid Jews in that country.

" The Church loses the Jews," said Fr. Charles Hoare, Superior of the Whetstone Fathers of Sion, when I called on him recently, " she prays for their conversion. Members of our Congregation recite after thc Consecration at Mass Our Lord's prayer on Calvary: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' " Were it not for the war Catholic England's own efforts for the conversion of the Jews would not be now at a standstill, First moves in that direction were made under the shadow of another war, when on an eventful evening in December, 1917, a little group met the late Fr. Bede Jarrett, OP., at Bayswater Notre Dame de Sion Convent with the purpose of discussing ways and means. Hardly had the deliberations begun when a fierce air raid broke over the convent. Quietly extinguishing the electric light, the Superior, Mothet M. Judith, and her collaborators drew closer round a small table. By the flickering light of two candles, to the accompaniment of exploding bombs, and the rattle of the anti-aircraft guns—so were the first plans laid—so was founded the Catholic Guild of Israel.

The first object was to interest Catholics in the idea of the new Guild. Speakers, clerical and lay, volunteered for the work, and set the campaign going by speaking in schools, in public balls, to parochial gatherings—anywhere at all where an audience could be gathered.

Then on one Sunday evening in the spring of '1921, Mr. Reginald Garland, at that time Master of the Southwark branch of the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom, and Mr. H. I. Angress, a distinguished convert from Judaism, sallied forth to open the campaign. The famous out-door speakers' platform, newly-painted and adorned with a Cross, the Keys of Peter and the Shield of David, was set up for the first time at Victoria Park, East London, and direct contact began to be made with the Jews.

Great men in England's most difficult and least appreciated missionary activity bore the brunt of the fray, among them being Fr. Arthur Day, S.J., Fr, Vincent McNabb, 0.P., Fr. John Arendzen, the late Fr. Sohn Wolfs, N.D.S., Messrs, 3. S. Jonas, Somerville, and others.

This has now ceased. " With the evacuation and upset of the war," said Fr. Hoare, " the activities of the Guild are practically suspended, pnd even the Guild's quarterly magazine was obliged to cease publication some time ago." Consequently Catholics should not allow the work to fall into

" The Jew to-day is by nature an apostle," said Fr. Hoare, " he is at the back of most of the movements that govern our modern world, We should gain much for Catholicism if we could only convert the Jew, and use him for the spreading of the Kingdom of Christ."

As far as one can see, and according to the declaration of Sr. Paul, the conversion of the Jews will alone he the solution of the Jewish question. This solution is still, humanly speaking. a thing of the distant future, Meantime the problem of the Jews is with Oa, rare of the gravest social alld political evils that statesmen and Churchmen alike have to deal with. Hitherto the interested nations' (and they are many) hate failed to find a solution.

Side by side with the development of the Guild of Israel was the establishment of the Fathers of Sion in England. In 1921 Fr. Hoare was the first Sion priest to take up definite residence in Bayswater, where the famous Congregation of Sisters founded by the Jewish convert, Fr. Theodore Ratisbonne, a century ago, has for many years had its convent. In 1925 Cardinal Bourne entrusted him and his brother-priests with the parish of Whetstone in north-west London, and it was Mother M. Judith, a tireless worker in the apostolate to Israel, who helped them to tide over the initial difficulties of their foundation by furnishing the house, and supplying many other needs.

In the church of Sant'Andrea della Fratte in Rome one may read the following inscription in French placed near an image of Our Lady :—" On the 20th of January. 1842, Alphonsus Ratisbonne, of Strasburg, came here an obstinate Jew; this Virgin appeared to him as you behold Her; falling on his knees a Jew, he rose a Christian."

This instantaneous conversion was an answer to prayer, Theodore Rattisbonne, the elder brother of Alphonsus, himself a convert, and now a priest. had been praying very hard for a sign from Heaven. The miraculous manifestation of the Immaculate Mother of God resulted in the founding of two religious Congregations: the Sisters of Our Lady of Sims, and at a later date, the Fathers of Our Lady of Sion.




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