Delegates From All Over The World
From Our Own Correspondent The annual International Congress of the Apostleship of the Sea took place this week in Glasgow. Delegates from all over the world attended over eighteen conferences, including a demonstration on Sunday at which 5,000 persons were present.
A tiny Glasgow whist-room has housed, all this week, the seventy men, representatives of twenty countries, seven hundred ports, and the 800,000 men who number one-third of those who sail the world's seas.
The tiny organisation which was eighteen years ago' introduced to the world as the Apostleship of the Sea, and which has since spread across the civilised world, has returned to its native city for the annual Congress.
The delegates were welcomed by Mgr. Mackintosh, Archbishop of Glasgow, who eighteen years ago presented the constitution of the organisation to the Holy Father. He was accompanied by Mgr. Myers, Bishop of Lamus, Vice-Admiral Hornell, D.S.O., R.N., the Congress's chairman, and Admiral Joubert, of the French Navy.
Some of the People A Czechoslovakian reporter entered with an Italian delegate. The bearded Franciscan, over there, was a married man, an officer in the French Navy, until domestic tragedy entered his home. The diminutive Dutch priest beside me had even braved Soviet vessels dressed as a dock labourer. This official, who welcomed the guests, was one of the three
men due to whose foresight this vast work of Catholic Action was made possible.
Harried interpreters move among the groups. The first conference of the International Congress of the Sea is in session.
When Sir John Stewart, Lord Provost of Glasgow, welcomed the delegates at Friday's civic reception, it was with the words: " It is particularly pleasing to me to find that your splendid organisation owes its foundation to Glasgow, and that the success it has since attained is due in a large measure to the early efforts of enthusiastic people in the city . . . It is my earnest hope that your deliberations during the Congress will be crowned with success, and that the work of the Apostleship of the Sea continues in its ever increasing usefulness."
CONGRESS ADDRESSES The utter dependency of the population of the British Isles upon seamen, and the clamant need to repay that service by furthering the apostolate of the sea, was stressed by Mgr. McDonald, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, when he addressed an audience of 5,000 at Glasgow on Sunday.
The occasion was the grand rally of the Apostleship of the Sea International Congress, the attendance at which taxed to the fullest the accommodation of the Playhouse, reputed to be Europe's largest cinema. Mgr. Gray Graham, Bishop of Tipasa, presided in the absence of the Archbishop of Glasgow, Amazed at Unreadiness of Catholics Mgr. McDonald expressed ssed amazement at the unreadiness of Catholics to heed and apply generally the principles embodied in the Papal encyclicals. This was the more incomprehensible in view of the amazement expressed on all sides by non-Catholics at the Pope's foreknow. ledge.
To know the work that was being done for us by the mercantile fleet which brought us our food, and the Naval fleet which guarded our shores, was to realise the debt of gratitude which was ours. Here was obviously the way to repay a great debt, and to perform a similarly great work of Catholic Action.
Mgr. Dey, Ecclesiastical Superior in His Majesty's Forces, made reference to his position as spiritual adviser to the men of the Navy, a position which had been made possible thanks to that most worthy section of the community, the British bluejacket.
The Waves Rule Britain It had been said that Britain ruled the waves. The obvious truism was that the waves ruled Britain. Where in bygone days the three most important men in the land were the farmer who grew the food, the soldier who protected the farmer, and the priest who prayed for them, today, when the burden of our food came from abroad, the mercantile fleet had taken the position of the farmer, the Navy of the soldier, and the Apostleship of the Sea of the priest.
The greater part of their life spent away from home, family and parish, the sailors were often deprived in the face of temptation of their spiritual consolations.
It was to ameliorate this hard lot that the Apostleship of the Sea had been founded.
Dealing with the international aspect of the Apostleship, Mgr. Dey said that of the 200,000 British seamen, 62,000 were Catholics.
" We do not want these men to be dependent," he said, " upon the kindness and charity of our Anglican friends. Let us loci; after our own."
Of the world's 1,200,000 seamen, not less than 800,000 were Catholics.
Tribute from I.L.O.
Captain T. T. Scott, chief of the Maritime Section of the International Labour Office at Geneva, conveyed his department's deep respect and affection for the Apostleship, whose " lifeline " he had seen in all parts of the world.
The conferences had been a revelati-n to him. He would return to Geneva with new ideas, schemes and suggestions which he could apply in his own office.
Reference to the European situation and the threat of war was made by the Congress's chairman, Vice-Admiral Hornell, D.S.O., R.N., who said that should war break out all ports, including Glasgow, would be crowded with seamen, and the work of the Apostleship greatly intensified.
Other speakers included Vice-Admiral Joubert (France), Fr. Sekiewicz (Holland), Fr. van de Vliet and Fr. Grant (Uruguay). An apology for his absence, through ness, was sent by Compton Mackenzie.