All Roads Led To St. Chad's Last Tuesday
BEWARE OF RULERS AND EMPLOYERS WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD
—Says Archbishop Williams
Over ten thousand people and three hundred priests of the Archdiocese of Birmingham took part on Tuesday in the Fourth Annual Archdiocesan Eucharistic Congress.
The congress took place in the chapel and grounds of St. Chad's, Old Fallings, Wolverhampton, and comprised an open air Mass, a Holy Hour, and a vast processsion of the Blessed Sacrament.
Mgr. Thomas Williams, Archbishop of Birmingham, preached at the Congressional open air Mass, which was sung by Mgr. Bernard Griffin, Bishop Auxiliary.
A scathing attack on Godlessness and modern sentimantality was a feature of the Archbishop's sermon, who said:
" Beware of rulers and emperors who cease to believe in God, for if they do not see that you are made to His Image they will not value you."
From Our Own Correspondent WOLVERHAMPTON.
In really hot Congress weather, such as that experienced at Buenos Aires, Chicago, and other Inter national Eucharistic gatherings, Birmingham Archdiocese concen trated to-day, in a force of 10,000 people, to do honour to the Blessed Sacrament.
The Marist Brothers' College of St. Chad at Wolverhampton was the venue of Archbishops, Bishop Auxiliary, Canons, 300 clergy, secular and clergy, Ind a laity that would not be deterred by attractions elsewhere.
I stood with the Oscott Seminary Choir during the open-air High Mass beneath the cool shade of a tree, and watched Dominicans, Benedictines and Redemptorists exchange the Kiss of Peace. Peace was around me, uppermost in my thoughts, and I remembered Walsingham and Shrigley.
His Grace the Archbishop of Birmingham, who presided at Mass, looked pleased at the great concourse of his people gathered here at his bidding, and rightly so.
Though this was the fourth Archdiocesan Congress, these events are now traditional in a diocese devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, and promise to grow in popularity.
FR. DRINKWATER CONDUCTS
The Seminarians sang the Proper and the Mass, Cum Jubilo, alternating with school children and the general public, ably led by the Rev. J. Drinkwater from his vantage point on top of a table.
The Creed was inspiring, by reason of its being taken up by nearly all the people present. It was sung by even the sacred ministers at the Altar.
I saw that both His Grace and the Bishop Auxiliary, Mgr. Griffin, who pontificated, were singing It, too. A firm and united protestation of common faith, beneath the blue vault of heaven, and a challenge to the aeroplane above us that would drown it with the deadening drone suggestive of modern despair!
BLESSING OF SICK No more beautiful picture can be imagined than the profusion of colours that graced the afternoon Procession of the Blessed Sacrament. The green below, the blue above, the white and black of clergy, the violet of prelates. Nothing more touching than the moment when Bishop Griffin raised the Monstrance to bless each of some twenty invalid people placed near the altar.
Happiness shared the day with Peace. Contented clergy smiled as they recognised their parishioners. One priest told me: " This is good for body and soul."
Children romped about in the fields— there are acres of green land at St. Chad's. The refreshment marquees were soon depleted of their stock—or almost so.
"MORE PRIESTS, FROM OUR OWN PEOPLE" The Rev. Dr. R. O'Reilly conducted the Holy Hour in the middle of the afternoon, and reminded his listeners that one of the intentions of this year's Eucharistic Congress was, as His Grace had remarked in his own sermon at Mass, that " God may grant us that we may have 'more priests, more holy priests, from amongst the people of our diocese."
The need of priests is important in every diocese, but in one like Birmingham, where the territory extends from the Thames right to a few miles from Manchester, this need is keenly felt.
The Archbishop's sermon was an indictment on the modern tendency to ignore God—(I could not help thinking of the aeroplane, and the Creed).
The modern world, though admitting that He has in the past performed good services for mankind, could not see any more need of Him, and confined Him to the narrow spheres of religion pure and simple.
God could not be expected to enter into such things as economies, insufficiency of wages, as also divorce and euthanasia.
The preacher's lucid reasonings had led him to cull some interesting points from the above consideration, as, for instance, the following: " You must beware of rulers and employers who cease to believe in God, for if they do not see that you are made to the image and likeness of God, they will not value you."
ANIMALS TREATED AS HUMAN BEINGS AND . . .
The devaluation of man results in hie degradation to the rank of animal. Thus " animals are now being treated as human beings, and human beings are being treated as animals." Further : " You put an animal in a lethal chamber. You surely cannot refuse to man the same consideration you give an animal." The hard logic of the Archbishop showing the degradatory process in society resultant on the modern philosophy of " the ignoring of God" made a deep impression on all who heard him.
It was a call to Catholic Action—and to the mighty Creed that followed on his sermon. We felt we would ignore the aeroplane that would ignore us.
TELEGRAM TO POPE Prior to his sermon, the Archbishop read the following telegram which had been sent to the Pope: " The Eucharistic Congress of the Birmingham Archdiocese send homage and devotion to Your Holiness, and humbly beg Apostolic Blessing for all taking part."
After Mass. His Grace imparted the Blessing, to which was attached a Plenary Indulgence. as is customary on the celebration of a Eucharistic Congress.
People flocked from practically every town in the diocese to this year's Congress, fifteen coaches coming from the Potteries alone.
R.A.C. SIGNS TO ST. CHAD'S
The R.A.C. had signs at important points in the town and district, which read: " To St. Chad's College " and " To the Eucharistic Congress."
The nearby Church of Our Lady was often packed during the day, the Contint•sd in next column. Blessed Sacrament being continually exposed on its altar.
Directions were continually given to the people through ten loudspeakers installed at various points on the grounds. and a microphone was placed near the harmonium, thus ensuring unison in the singing. These speakers, known as " Standard Public Address," did excellent work throughout the day, and were installed by Walker Bros., of Birmingham.
One of the most hard-worked at the Congress was certainly the Rev. M. R. Woulfe, V.F., parish priest of Our Lady's, who, with his local committee of men, women and members of the C.O.M. and Catholic Teachers, bore the brunt of the day, and fulfilled their task to the satisfaction of all.