A stamp collection, which the owner, Mgr. F. Cech, of La Crosse, Wis., U.S.A., calls " The Church in the hand of Philatelia," is being exhibited this year in the International Stamp Exhibition in the British Pavilion in New York World's Fair.
According to the philatelist, Ernest A. Kehr, whose review of the unique collection is given in the New York Herald Tribune, the stamps comprise various sections, the first of which illustrates the ideals and achievements of the Catholic Church in relation to civilisation. They are mounted on large poster boards and every stamp's design is explained with lettering in the style of illuminated manuscripts.
The collection demonstrates, too, the history of the Catholic Church through the centuries by using stamps which portray historic figures who were Catholics.
The Crusades are represented by a stamp from the island of Rhodes which delineates a Crusader kneeling in prayer before leaving on the last stage of the journey to Jerusalem.
Parsifal, the knight of the Holy Grail, is shown on the stamp of Germany issued in 1933 to honour Richard Wagner.
PRIEST EDUCATORS IN STAMPS
Under the caption, " Catholic Priests Who Were Educators," Monsignor Cech includes the stamps portraying Cardinal Mercier, Stanislaus Konarski, the Polish priest wino reformed the pedagogical system of his country, and Pere Gregoire Girard, a Franciscan monk who improved schools of his native Switzerland.
One entire section is devoted to stamps which portray Popes Pius XI and Pius XII, the Vatican, the papal gardens and papal ceremonies. Another section shows, through postage stamp designs, the work Catholic missionaries arc doing in remote parts of the world. Among these is a set from the Belgian Congo which portrays a group of Sisters of Mercy caring for native children at a missionary hospital in the Congo jungle.
The portion of the collection which illus trates Christian churches and cathedrals includes many forms of architecture, from the crude adobe Alamo on the United States stamps to the magnificent St. Peter's at Rome, on Italian issues, Monsignor Cech has likewise adapted the Litany of the Saints to his stamp collection.
STAMPS ILLUSTRATE LITANY
To illustrate the blessing, " In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost," Monsignor Cech takes four stamps issued at different times which, as a group, make up the sign of the cross. The first is a Greek semi-postal which depicts a cross in the sky, surrounded by the Greek inscription,
" En Totoi Nike " In this sign thou shalt conquer ").
Mgr. Cech illustrates the Litany of the Saints and the Litany in honour of the bishops and confessors, monks and hermits, angels and archangels. martyrs, virgins, acid invocations to Our Lady, by including a stamp with a picture of the saint praised.
Among them arc St. Pau! on a Malta stamp, St. Cyril and St. Stephen on Hungarian issues, St. Olaf on Norwegian, St. Joseph on Italian. St. Francis on a San Marino issue, St. Anthony on a Portuguese stamp and many others. In all there arc about 100 stamps showing saints in Mgr. Cech's collection.