From a Special Correspondent The interest now being shown in the parish as a mission field was underlined Wit week when representatives of eleven different countries met in NorthamptonAire to discuss the new forms of apostolate.
The informal, international gathering, meeting at Finedon Hall, received letters conveying their blessing from both Archbishop Godfrey, the Apostolic Delegate, and Mgr. Parker, Bishop of Northampton, in whose diocese it was meeting.
Each of the forty delegates' was importaut in the field of Catholic Action or Christian Social Action. Eleven countries were represented, the largest contingents being from England and France. The English delegation included Canon McNerney, Fr. Leo O'Hea, Si., Mrs. Sheed, and Colonel Hope and Mrs. Beales from the Sword of the Spirit.
Among those from France were such well-known names as Chanoine llollande of the Mission of Paris, Abbe Miehonneau, and M. DuboisDurnee of the Temoignage Chretien.
Italy had four representatives, including two keen young Members of Parliament. Fr. Zwartkrius represented Holland; Fr. Franz Reisinger came from Austria; M. J. Delfosse of Revue Nouvelle from Belgium; and there were also representatives from Switzerland. Germany, Australia, the United States and Argentine.
CHRISTIAN MEALS The first day was devoted to short accounts of the situation of the Church in the various countries represented. In each case it was stressed that the rapid social and political developments in the world today render necessary the finding of new means of penetrating society with Christian ideals, and of directing this change towards Christian ends.
The Abbe G. Michonneau, noted for his work in revitalising an industrial district near Paris which had become almost de-Christianised, led the discussions of the second day. Problems of the modern parish were the main topic of discussion.
The participants were especially concerned with practical ways and means not only of dealing with pagans and indifferent , Christians, but also how convinced Christians could be led to be apostles and share in the work pf the apostolate.
THE PARISH New ways of showing people how religion is vital in their lives were discussed, and also new methods of work seen both in the family groups in the parish and, above all, in the strong team spirit which is the soul of this willed community life of their priests. The next day was devoted to lively discussions on the lay apostolate. Emphasis was placed on the essential duty and responsibility of the laity as members of the Church. Various types of Catholic Action and Catholic social activities were described, including the family community grouns which have developed so rapidly in France within the past five years, and to some extent in Belgium and elsewhere too.
The place of the priest-worker in France, the development of this movement, and the spiritual basis needed for this work were the subjects of discussions led by Canon J. Hollande, Superior of the Mission de Paris, on the fourth day.