First African meeting may offer model

First African meeting may offer model for other parts of World
By Rosemary Goldie

From Entebbe, political capital of the Protectorate of Uganda, where Government buildings, attractive dwellings and the White Fathers’ church and mission are dotted over wide parklands, the red clay road leads up between Indian shops, African mud-huts and banana plantations towards Cisubi. Just before the village, a new road has been opened up to the Minor Seminary, a fine modern building, newly completed, which looks out from its eminence over the broad expanse of Lake Victoria.

It was here, a few miles from the Equator, that some 60 delegates from 15 territories of Africa, with experts from 14 Catholic International Organisations came to gather between December 8 to 13, 1953, for the first leaders’ meeting for the Apostolate of the Laity in Africa.

The meeting was organised in collaboration with the Uganda National Council of Catholic Action, by the Permanent Committee for International Congresses of the Lay Apostolate created in Rome by the Holy Father in January, 1952; it was the General secretary of this committee, Mr. Vittorino Veronese, who – as president of Italian Catholic Action -brought to Rome in October, 1951, for the first world congress of the Lay Apostolate, the militant Catholic laymen and laywomen of 74 countries and 38 Catholic international organisations.

The meeting in Uganda was in a sense the sequel to those unforgettable days in Rome, for it was clearly evident at the first world congress that regional meetings would be necessary to give more adequate study to the problems facing lay Catholics in the different parts of the world.

The tasks of the apostolate in Latin America and in Asia are one in their spiritual essence, but the external conditions of their fulfilment are widely differing.

Why Africa

That Africa should have been chosen for the first of such regional meetings was due in part to the express desire of African Catholics, but also to the dramatic acuity of the problems raised in Africa to-day by the rapidity of present social transformations, and to the obvious urgency of preparing Catholic lay people to bring to this evolving society to the guilding light of Christian principles.

This significance of the meeting was stressed in a magnificent letter addressed to His Grace Archbishop Cabana, of Rubaga (Uganda), by His Excellency Monsignor Montini calling upon the African laity – in the Holy Father’s name – to respond to “their God-given vocation with a fidelity springing from genuine spiritual life, with the clear-sightedness necessary for taking their full responsibilities in all spheres of social and civic activity and with that same resolution which has made glorious the martyrs of Uganda.”

It was stressed also, in dramatic fashion, when, a few days before the meeting, Uganda came into the limelight of the world press through the events which led to the banishment by the British authorities of the Buganda King, the Kabaka Mutesa II. Despite the announcement of a ‘state of emergency’ in Kampala, preparations proceeded normally; and, while the whole Catholic world was preparing for the opening of the Marian Year, delegates from all parts of Africa, and beyond it, were making their way – by bicycle, car, train and Comet – to Kisubi.

From Mozambique came His Eminence Cardinal de Gouveia, Archbishop of Lorenzo Marques; the new Apostolic Delegate, His Excellency Monsignor James Knox – first Australian to assume such functions in any part of the world – made Kisubi his initial goal in his jurisdiction of East and West Africa; no less than 18 Archbishops, Bishops, Vicars and Prefects Apostolic personally responded to the invitation extended to their territories; with them came missionaries – priests, brothers and nuns – but also, lay leaders, those who had answered the call of the Encyclical, Evangelii Praecones: “It is absolutely essential that in the missions there should be many lay people to enter into the ranks of Catholic Action…”

Experts Attend

Even in the fullest sense this was an international meeting: ‘Experts’ were sent from Europe by the Catholic international organisations – by the International Y.C.W., Pax Romana, the women’s and girls’ organisations, etc.; Monsignor Ligutti, director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference of the United States was there; Mr. Douglas Hyde, former communist leader and now active apostle of the writ ten and spoken word for the cause of Christ; the Prince zu Lowenstoin, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics; Dr. Aujoulat, president of the International Secretariate for Lay Missionary Activity; and lay missionaries at present working in Africa, from the Grail and from the International Feminine Auxiliaries (among them Miss Frances Scott, former Grail president in Australia).

This was, however, an international meeting of an unprecedented kind. From the outset, the organisers, whether in Rome or in Uganda, had no illusions as to the complexity of the problems to be treated and the difficulties which could arise in a continent of such social and political fermentation and of such diversity in the state of development of its various regions.

The lectures were consciously adapted to meet this situation, and did not slur over the real problems of the African scene. It was no mere theoretical interest which held African listeners strained in attention while His Excellency Bishop Lanctôt, Bukoba, Tanganyiku, spoke of ‘Africa To-day and the Mission of the Laity,’ or while His Grace Archbishop Maranta, of Dar Es Salaam, outlined with masterly touch the Church’s teaching on nation and State and its implications for Catholic lay people. And, for the Kikuyu students from Kenya who formed part of the fine delegation from Makerere University College the Church’s attitude to racism could hardly have appeared a purely academic question.

Nature Of Apostolate

The nature of the Apostolate of the Laity was treated by Monsignor Cleire, Vicar Apostolic of Kosongo; its basis in the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ; its various forms; individual and organised; organised in official Catholic Action for tasks specifically relating to the work of the Church; organised in an action of Christian inspiration, emanating directly from the lay people, for the ‘temporal’ tasks of the social and civic order.
It was a layman, Mr. Paul Ssemakula, of Uganda, who dealt from his experience as a leader in Catholic Action, with the formation that is indispensable for the apostolate: formation of intellect and will; spiritual, dogmatic, moral and liturgical formation; technical formation, enriched by experience and adapted to the milieux where the layman is called upon to exercise his activity. Two other African laymen prepared the paper on concrete social problems in Africa to-day: Mr. A. Lawrence, from French Guinea, member of the French Economic Council, and Dr. Conombo, member of the French National Assembly.

Frank discussion was the order of the day, as African delegates, missionaries and experts succeeded one another at the microphone to comment on various themes. And the same frankness – tempered by the same spirit of fraternal charity – reigned in the ‘forums’ or discussion groups to which two full days were devoted for concrete study of four essential fields.

Concrete Discussion

The Education forum was led by Dr. H. Jowitt, C.M.G., Professor at the Pius XII Catholic University for Africans (Basutoland) and former Director of Education in Uganda; the presence among the delegates of many African lay teachers gave special importance to this study of educational problems.

Discussion on Woman and the Family was under the guidance of Soeur Marie Andre du Sacre Coeur, of the White Sisters, who has done extensive research and published much material on the difficult question of marriage customs and women’s status among the African peoples, Dr, Aujoulat was chairman of the forum on the subject of Labor and Social Betterment in the rapidly evolving industrialisation of African life.

Mr. Douglas Hyde, as chairman of the forum on the Training of Leaders, stressed the excellent material afforded by the splendid African Catholic youth with their eager generosity to serve the cause of Christ. If the apostles of atheistic materialism had similar material, they would know how to use it; we may not use all their methods, but Christianity, lived to the full, has a dynamism they cannot know.

Clearly it was not possible in the short time allotted to these forums to exhaust the vast subject matter presented for their consideration, nor was it possible to make all the concrete applications necessary for widely differing territories and for the varying possibilities of their organised laity. It was, however, already of great importance that the problems should be raised and a concrete picture given of the difficulties involved. It was important, too, that African Catholics should have this opportunity to work with lay people from Europe and America whose actions do not belie the teachings brought to Africa by the missionaries – all too often the case with white ‘Christians’ on African soil – lay people, on the contrary, whoso energies are devoted to collaboration in the Church’s redeeming apostolate.

Unity In Diversity

It was important above all that, behind the diversity of the forms of apostolic activity already operative in Africa, the unity should become apparent of their guiding principles and of their source in one same life of grace. If Uganda has a fully constituted National Council of Catholic Action while also where organised lay action is still confined to the work of the catechists; if in one diocese the Legion of Mary is officially mandated as Catholic Action and in another is working as an auxiliary body; if the personal apostolate of African Catholic leaders may be exercised as tribal chiefs or as members of the political organisms of the French Union… these external differences of form or degree are far less important than the deep unity of those laboring, in whatever sphere, to make Christ’s Kingdom a reality on African soil.

This unity – the reality of Christ’s Mystical Body, not only for Africa, but for the Universal Church – was a matter of daily experience: at the opening Mass celebrated by His Excellency Monsignor Knox at the torchlight Rosary Procession through Kisubi Parish on the evening of December 8, where over 2000 Africans took part, singing the Latin hymns of the Lourdes ‘Ave’ with the same gusto as their native Luganda; at the unforgettable pilgrimage to Numugongo, place of martyrdom of Blessed Charles Lwanga, Patron of African Catholic Action, when one African Bishop celebrated evening Mass, another preached and hundreds of Uganda Catholics approached to receive Holy Communion with delegates from all parts of Africa and of the world. It was again the great and deep reality of the Church which remained as a lasting impression from the Pontifical High Mass – offered by a Cardinal for the first time in the history of Uganda – and from the Te Deum which rocked the seminary chapel on the closing afternoon. But this reality was expressed also in other, less solemn ways: by the silent presence, for instance, at every session of one of the parish monitresses, mother of a family, who understood no word of English or French that was spoken throughout, but explained in her own tongue: “I know what you are talking about even though I do not understand. These are the things which I also believe; I want you to see that I am one with you.”

Historic Occasion

At the solemn closing section of December 13, His Excellency, Sir Andrew Cohen, Governor of Uganda, stressing the value of the work done by the missionaries for the material and spiritual development of the Protectorate, styled this meeting an ‘historic’ occasion. And historic it was in deed, not only for Uganda, but for the Church in Africa and throughout the world.

Similar conferences will no doubt follow, in Africa itself and in other continents; but this first regional lay apostolate meeting will remain a decisive step forward on the road towards a ‘full and efficacious collaboration in universal charity’ traced out inn 1951 for the congressists in Rome by the Holy Father himself. It will have been also tangible proof that the Catholicism of ‘mission lands’ can no longer be considered as falling outside the orbit of ‘normal’ ”Catholic life. In the words again of the Holy Father (to the Sacred College, Christmas, 1945), “…to-day we see appearing, as it were, an exchange of life and energy between all members of the Mystical Body of Christ on earth. Not a few regions on other continents have long outgrown the missionary form of their ecclesiastical organisation; they have their own Hierarchy and, whereas they were formerly only receivers, they give now to the Church goods, both spiritual and material.


The Apostolate of the Laity. First African meeting may offer model for other parts of World
By Rosemary Goldie

Catholic Weekly (Sydney, NSW : 1942 – 1954), Thursday 28 January 1954, page 12

Archbishop Addresses Young Catholic Students

“I AM very grateful for the musical item by the C.L.C. girls, and now you will have to submit to an unmusical item by me,” said his Grace the Archbishop, Most Rev. D. Mannix, addressing a recent conference of Young Catholic Students at Sacre Coeur Convent, Malvern.

“I am, once again, delighted to have the opportunity of associating myself with this section of the lay apostolate. I like to call it the lay apostolate rather than Catholic Action. The title lay apostolate is much more significant and appropriate than Catholic Action, which has been misunderstood and misinterpreted, at all events, in this this country. country.

“I am delighted to find that you continue to make a notable contribution to the lay apostolate. No doubt there have been ups and downs. The best proof of your success is that the lay apostolate has been growing in strength over the years; for the growth of the apostolate is largely due to the fact that the young people at your stage of life are doing their best to lay solid foundations.

“I am grateful to the priests, sisters and brothers who are helping you so much. If the priests, sisters and brothers did not make their zealous contribution, your activities would peter out. I thank the priests, brothers and sisters for their contribution and the young people themselves. We all have much reason to be gratified for what has been done.

“I am much gratified to know that through your influence the number of religious vocations seems to be increasing. Recently, hero in Melbourne, a priest, Father Lyons, has been specially set the work of fostering vocations, and I am sure that you will co-operate with him. I don’t suppose all of you are going to have religious vocations; if you did, the lay apostolate would very soon come to an end. Nevertheless, you are going to make your own big contribution to the religious bodies.

“I hope also that parents, too, will co-operate generously. Sometimes parents can make difficulties in the way of vocations. While parents’ advice should be listened to and taken in the proper spirit, parents have no right to put obstacles in the way of their children’s religious vocations. That is something between the individual and God.

“We are all glad to welcome back Father Chamberlin from his world-wide investigations. I have not heard him speak his mind on how we compare with other places, but I am sure he would say that while we have a good deal to learn from other lands and peoples, we have no reason to be dissatisfied with what has been done here.

“Once again, I wish to express my gratitude and indebtedness to you. I ask God to continue to bless your movement and enlarge your activities so that His cause will advance in and through the Catholic Church in Australia.”


Archbishop Addresses Young Catholic Students (Advocate, Thursday 15 May 1952, page 8) / Trove

Lay Apostolate World Congress Opens in Rome

Problems Now are International

A Lay Apostolate World Congress opens in Rome on Sunday next, October 7, and will last a week.

Rev. F. Chamberlain, National Chaplain of the Young Catholic Students’ Movement, will Represent the Australian Secretariat of Catholic Action. The Congress will consider dogmatic, moral and ascetic principles of the Lay Apostolate in the light of Papal documents, and the fundamental objectives of the apostolate on. a world plan.

THE purpose of the World Congress of the Lay Apostolate is to gather together the best qualified representatives of national and international Catholic organizations approved by Ecclesiastical Authorities.

Leading representatives of Catholic Action and of all other Catholic Organizations of men or women are invited but as the Congress is a meeting devoted to study, the number of participants must be limited to those properly qualified.

The following is the general plan.

International delegates. Every International Catholic Organization invited by the Organizing Committee of the Congress may send at the most 10 of its representatives.

National Delegates. In order to secure an extensive and complete participation, the Organizing Committee has asked every national Episcopate to designate the lay organization admissable to the Congress. This has already been done for several countries. The delegates must belong to Organizations;

(a) of lay apostolate

(b) approved by ecclesiastical authorities

(c) of National extension.

Experts. Some lay or ecclesinstical experts in the lay apostolate, not members of the official delegation, may participate in the Congress as voluntary and individual assistants, without being entitled to vote. These experts applications had to be accompanied by a recommendation from a national Organizations of Lay Apostolate or from a member of the Episcopate.


Since the end of the Second World War world conditions have changed drastically. It is a fact of History that problems of today must be viewed on an international plane. Associations, organizations and movements, most certainly the Apostolate, must recognize the situation.

In a message to the J.O.C. Congress in Canada in 1947 the Holy Father pointed out that the Apostolate must be considered from an international angle.

“We are aware that today problems often assume not only national but world-wide proportions. Barriers tend to’ disappear, thank God, between countries and even continents, and the unity of the human race is stressed ever more and more. The progress of science also continues to favour the intermingling of peoples.”

This goes to show that questions relating to the Apostolate must be considered from the international angle. An International Lay Apostolate Congress came under consideration before the beginning of the jubilee year.

The months of preparation immediately before the beginning of the Holy Year made it particularly clear that today’s problems must be considered from the international viewpoint.

At that time, when all eyes were turned toward St. Peter’s in Rome, it was realized more clearly than ever before that there is a necessity for closing ranks. During the Holy Year itself the immense multitudes that gathered in the Holy City from all parts of the world proclaimed incessantly that the Church is universal, that she is one, that Catholicism is no empty word.

Militant Catholics, those that have listened to the summons of their hierarchy to devote their time and efforts and to sacrifice their tranquility for the triumph, of the Gospel and the salvation of their brethren, felt this more than anyone else.

It was thus that the calling of the Lay Apostolate World Congress came about. The idea was first proposed at a meeting of the Central Council of Italian Catholic Action in May, 1949, and the subject was considered at the General Assembly of Catholic Action in October, 1949.

The Congress was discussed at various international meetings and finally the date and general programme were arranged. The Congress will .take place in Rome from October 7 to 14, 1951.


The aims of the Congress can be stated as follows:

(1) To consider dogmatic, moral and ascetic principles of the Lay Apostolate in the light of Papal documents, ancient and recent.

(2) To offer objective documentation of different forms through which laymen carry out their apostolate and to explain why, under given circumstances, one method is preferred to another.

(3) To show precisely the breadth and depth of the fields in which laymen are called upon to carry out their apostolate.

(4) To view the fundamental objectives of the apostolate which can, today, be carried out on a world plan.

The aims of the Congress were studied at a conference of eighty leaders of national and international organizations representing 22 countries and a programme was made up. The final arrangement of the programme was then left to a commission of fourteen under the presidency of Monsignor Cardijn, founder of the J.O.C.


The programme accepted calls for papers on various subjects with a general discussion following each paper, The following is a list of the themes to be considered:

I—The World of Today and the Lay Apostolate. The population of the world with reference to the Catholic Church. The religio-moral, cultural and

social condition of the world today. Active movements towards an economic, political, cultural and religious unification of the world. Looking towards an international community in the world. The lay-apostolate, a necessity.

II—Doctrinal Foundations of the Lay Apostolate.

(a) The lay apostolate, not a passing need, but a permanent postulate of Christian life. (Doctrine of the Mystical Body, obligations incurred by Baptism and Confirmation; the love of God and neighbour, a divine command; the teaching of the Church).

(b) The nature ,of the lay apostolate—its relations to the ecclesiastical hierarchy—its different forms (Catholic Action and action of Catholics)—its fundamental unity. (a) The lay apostolate supposes an integral Catholic Formation; religious, moral, cultural and social.

The interior life of the apostolate, the soul of the apostolate.

What are the responsibilities and the task of the priest in preparing the laity for the apostolate. (b) How to prepare the laity for individual apostolate and for organized apostolate. How to prepare the laity for: specific apostolates in the different sectors of life. How to prepare the leaders.

IV—For a Christian Social Order.

(a) Analysis of the actual economic and social situation of the world. The deep and wide-spread longing for a more human economic and social order. The individualistic and collectivist theories fail to satisfy.

(b) The Christian concept of life responds to the most genuine aspirations of men today for mutual understanding and cooperation. The urgent need of action on the part of Catholics to inaugurate a more human and Christian social order. Love as a mediating force in uniting justice with freedom.

V—The Presence and the Responsibility of Catholics in International Life. (a) Official and non official international organizations. Catholic international organizations. The international problems that concern the spiritual and social future of all nations. (b) Need of arousing every man to a consciousness of his duty to take part, spiritually and professionally, in international life.


What part do Catholics and their organizations play in international activities. A common front and closed ranks in the face of tasks imposed for the formation of a peaceful human family. In addition to the general themes there will be particular discussion groups, “Carrefours” or “Workshops” as they have been called, on the following subjects:

The apostolate of public opinion: cinema, press, radio, television;

The apostolate among intellectual people;

The apostolate in the field of assistance and charity;

The catechetic apostolate conducted by the laity;

The apostolate among families;

The apostolate among children;

The apostolate among the young people, rural, worker, students;

The apostolate in the working and professional world;

The apostolate in the field of sport and games;

The apostolate in the civic field;

The apostolate in mission countries;

The apostolate in the countries without religious freedom;

The apostolate according to the U.N.E.S.C.O. and O.M.S. programmes;

The apostolate with reference to migratory problems;

The apostolate of women.

Other discussion groups may be added.


Lay Apostolate World Congress Opens in Rome (The Advocate, 4/10/1951)

Peter’s Pence and Catholic Action

His Grace the Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev. Dr. M. Kelly, has issued the following Pastoral Letter to the clergy, religious and laity in connection with Peter’s Pence and Catholic Action, which was read in the churches of the Archdiocese on Sunday last.

Beloved in Christ,

Being by the inestimable gift of Divine Grace living members of the Catholic Church, that is, of the Mystic Body of the Divine Redeemer, we contribute according to our means towards the support of our Pastors, including the Supreme Pastor, who, as Successor to St. Peter, governs the entire Church in Faith, Morality and Discipline. So, year by year, we collect ‘Peter’s Pence,’ fixing for our offering the Feast of St. Peter in Chains. This will prove acceptable to our recently elected Pope — His Holiness Pius XII. — as it was to each of his predecessors in our own days, Leo XIII., Pius X., Benedict XV., and Pius XI. God’s blessing enables us and Sunday, August 6, will be the date for offerings.

The Lay Apostolate of Catholic Action, promulgated by Pope Pius XI., is sought for by his Successor, as needed in all grades of society domestic, industrial, civil and international. Let us assure the Holy Father of devoted and practical co-operation. Three things are required: —

1. A full and accurate knowledge of the Apostles’ Creed, of the Commandments of God and of the Church, of the Seven Sacraments, of the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary; also instruction on the approved practices of piety, particularly the hearing of Holy Mass, and Devotions to the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar — reception of Holy Communion, Processions, Visits, etc.

2. Membership of Particular Groups for study and educational proficiency; co-operation in Catholic activities, reunions, etc., under the guidance of the Clergy, and according to the Papal Encyclicals.

3. Organisation of a Parochial Union to assemble now and then, as will be found useful. All upholders of ‘Catholic Action’ are expected to join this Parochial Union. Membership of any other approved Association is no hindrance, but rather a desirable qualification. This postulates a Diocesan Secretariate from the start. All will look to and uphold it.

Fundamental Points.

To the studious we recommend as fundamental doctrine the Syllabus of Condemned Propositions issued by Pope Pius IX. Therein Rationalistic errors, Secular State Supremacy, etc., are clearly defined and repudiated. Pope Leo XIII. and each succeeding Pope manifested conspicuously that the divinely predicted ‘light of the world and salt of the earth’ (Matt. v. 13:14) ever enhances the Chair of Peter in its teaching upon religious belief, upon Gospel morality and upon Ecclesiastical discipline. In the first century the Apostle of the Gentiles instructed Titus in the following terms: ‘For the grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men: Instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly and justly and godly in this world. Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and might cleanse to himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works. These things speak and exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.’ So Pope Pius XI., in his first Encyclical, sets forth as a primary consideration to procure the Peace of Christ we must establish the Reign of Christ.

The Reign of Christ will be understood best by His parables and public teaching. In the Sermon on the Mount we read: ‘No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other; or he will sustain the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? And for raiment, why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labor not, neither do they spin. But I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of those. And If the grass of the fleld, which is to-day and to-morrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not solicitous therefore, saying. What shall we eat: or, What shall we drink, or Wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all those things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all those things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God and his justice: and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. vi. 24-33.)

The Good Shepherd.

The Kingdom of Christ is in this world but is not of this world in riches, honors and pleasures. He declared: ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep and flieth: and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep. And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd: and I know mine, and mine know me. As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring. And they shall hear my voice: and there shall be one fold and one shepherd. Therefore doth the Father love me: because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it away from me: but I lay it down of myself. And I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John x, 11-18.)

The Clergy are called by God as ‘other Christs’: let us then embrace the favor accorded to us by the institution of a Lay Apostolate through Catholic Action. We shall by the grace of God take particular cognisance of our flock — both individually and by families. According to the actual classifications, childhood, youth, manhood and womanhood, we have to watch the dangers consequent upon Original Sin, and all scandals to faith and morals. In families we should by every means foster piety and edification, and we should by prayer and instruction promote immediate regeneration by Baptism, the taking of the name of a Patron Saint, good books and Catholic news papers to the exclusion of books, periodicals and pictures offensive to Faith and Morals. Parents and teachers are to prevent scandals at any cost. ‘Whosoever shall scandalise one of these little ones that believe in me: it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand scandalise thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life, maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into unquenchable fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. And if thy foot scandalise thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter lame into life ever lasting than having two feet to be cast into the hell of unquenchable fire : Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. And if thy eye scandalise thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee with one eye to enter into the kingdom of God than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. (Mark ix., 41-47.)

To Our Religious Communities we tender our tribute of surpassing esteem and indebtedness for edification in the following of Christ and for our provision of Catholic schools. To them the greatest share of blessings is promised: ‘Amen, I say to you that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house or brethren or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold and shall possess life ever lasting.’ (Matt. xix. 28-29.)

Self-Denial of inordinate affections for riches, pleasures and honors; also privations and sufferings are to be patiently accepted in the performance of duty as wisely chosen instead of self-indulgence, because the Cross of Christ Himself will be thus shared in, and the peace of Christ secured to mind and heart even in ‘this valley of tears.’ By the Cross and by it alone, borne in the cause of holiness and in union with the Divine Saviour and all the Saints can the children of Adam regain the happiness of Heaven. In the cause of Catholic Action let us one and all devotedly hear the call of One True Church.

Your devoted Servant,

MICHAEL, Archbishop of Sydney.

St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney,

July 30, 1939.

P.S.: This letter is to be read on Sunday, 30th of July. The Peter’s Pence offerings are to be collected on Sunday, 6th of August, and sent to St. Mary’s Cathedral Vicariate at once for transmission to Rome. t M., Abp. Syd.


Peter’s Pence and Catholic Action (Catholic Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1932 – 1942), Thursday 3 August 1939, page 31) (Trove)

First Communion and Breakfast

Holy Name Society, Lewisham.

First Communion and Breakfast .


The first annual Communion and breakfast of the Lewisham Holy Name Society was favored with beautiful weather on Sunday, September 12, and was the occasion of a wonderful demonstration of faith, when the Right Rev. Joseph W. Dwyer, D.D., Bishop of Wagga, celebrated the Mass, and, assisted by the Rev. Father Walsh, gave Communion to over 400 men.

Mass over, the men assembled in the road outside the church, fortified four deep and, preceded by the band of the 2nd Lewisham Troop of Boy Scouts, who proudly carried the Papal Banner recently won in competition with all the troops of the archdiocese, an-l by a huge replica of the Badge of the Holy Name Society, marched to the Dispensary Hall at Petersham, where breakfast was served, and it was made known that his Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne, and the Right Rev. Dr. Dwyer, Bishop of Wagga, would address them before leaving for the morning session of the Plenary Council.

The prelates took their seats at the high table with the chairman, Mr. P. P. Brady, president of the branch; Right Rev. Monsignor T. Phelan, P.P., V.G., Spiritual Director; the Rev. Bro. C. C. Brady, of the Christian Brothers’ High School, Lewisham: Messrs. A. B. Mansfield (treasurer), T. Malone (secretary), W. F. Sheehan, LL.B., R. F. Bailey, F. X. Byrne, McEwen (vice-president of the Diocesan . Council of the Holy Name Society) , and Dr. Quinn.

The chairman, having happily introduced the Archbishop of Melbourne and the Bishop of Wagga, called upon Mr. W. F. Sheehan to propose the toast of ‘The Hierarchy and Clergy.’

Mr. W. F. Sheehan, LL.B., in a witty and eloquent speech, emphasised the great pleasure it gave him to toe asked to propose such a toast. A series of great events had been happening and were still happening. There was the great Plenary Council, with its Bishops and delegates assembled from all parts of Australasia, and then there was the consecration of St. Thomas’s Church. These had synchronised with the great meeting of the Holy Name Society at’the Cathedral, and they were especially privileged that day to welcome in their midst Dr. Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne, and Dr. Dwyer, Bishop of Wagga. Dr. Mannix was a very distinguished prelate — for his scholarship, and above all for the courage of his convictions as a great leader of the Catholic Church. Wagga, also, under the able leadership of Bishop Dwyer, had seen stirring times. The Church was right in showing great devotion to the Hierarchy: they were notable for their learning, for their piety and for their courage.

Continuing, Mr. Sheehan drew attention to certain unfortunate remarks made in criticism of the Catholic Church by Dean Inge, known as ‘the gloomy Dean,’ as quoted in one of the leading weekly newspapers in Sydney. Catholics knew that the Church combined within herself in an amazing way the three principles of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. She was a monarchy, sworn in allegiance to her ruler, the Holy Father, and Successor of Peter: she possessed an aristocracy in her Hierarchy, yet with it all, and by reason of her faithful laity, she was also a democracy. He assured the Hierarchy that they would ever find the willing co-operation of the laity at their disposal. He commended the life and work of such priests as Father Walsh, Father Heffernan and Father Mulheren. The work that their priests were doing in the far north, in the backblocks, and in difficult places in Australia and throughout the world should make them still more loyal to the Faith they revered. (Applause.)

His Grace Archbishop Mannix, who was heartily welcomed, in reply, stressed his appreciation of the eloquent speech they had just heard. Tributes had been ‘ paid to the Hierarchy and their work for the Faith, but the truth was that very little could have been, or could be done, if it were not for the young men and old men, such as were assembled there. The credit was often given to prelates like himself or to Archbishop Kelly, but it was the laity who were in the trenches and, as in all other armies ,the generals were often far away from the front making plans and issuing orders. No other people in the world were so faithful as Australian Catholics to the Faith. ‘I am an Irishman,’ remarked his Grace, ‘yet I count myself an Australian as well; and I see that even the justice granted to Catholic people under British rule in other parts of the world is not granted to us here in Australia.’

Continuing, the Archbishop pointed out that here in this free land, so-called Catholics suffered from -disabilities not placed upon them anywhere else, and these, as they well knew, were educational disabilities. With their assistance and co-operation their just claims must be placed before their fellow-citizens that they might not be serfs in their own land. (Applause. He was getting old, but he hoped to live to see a great cnange in Catholic conditions in Australia.

Right Rev. Monsignor Phelan said the Society was the leaven that would in time leaven the whole lump. From a humble beginning it now numbered its tens of thousands. Again lie thanked them and piayed that God would grant them His blessing and the gift of perseverance. (Applause.)

His His Lordship Bishop Dwyer, of Wagga, spoke of the thrilling demonstration of laity that had happened two nights before at St. Mary’s Cathedral, when some 8000 men had pledged themselves anew to great aims. They had other societies within the Church, such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which also had great aims, and they, especially, perhaps the Holy Name Society, had heeded the Holy Father’s call to Catholic Action, and the Holy Father had pointed out that Catholic Action was, above all things, an apostolate. Their’s was a united effort — united to safeguard and honor, by word and by deed, the Holy Name of Jesus. Such an effort in intention and action would leave them blameless in God’s sight. They had heard that Communism had methods the most modern and up-to-date, and they might well learn from these methods. The time had come to fight this malignant and malicious growth in their national life, not with swords, but especially with their heads — tongues and heads — that was their slogan. Wherever they went they seemed to see peaceful citizens, but there were no less than 100,000 organised for Communist propaganda amongst Australian people, and another 200,000 confessed supporters.

Continuing, Bishop Dwyer gave some first-hand information of Communist activities, quoting a long list of Trade Unions which were even now being ‘white-anted’ by propaganda. A Russian and his wife, he said, had recently come to Wagga from Russia, and told fearful stories of the terrible condition under which that sad country was laboring. The ‘Reds’ were forming ‘cells’ in every suitable organisation. It was quite possible that they might seek to join the Holy Name Society! Well then, let members of the Holy Name Society form ‘cells’ in other organisations. Let them stand firmly against blasphemy. He hoped, nay believed, that they would be on the watch, and watch well. Men of holiness and sanctity were needed today more than ever before, and these were the blessings he prayed for them. (Applause.)

Mr. P. P. Brady, the chairman and president of the branch, now proposed the toast of the Lewisham branch of the Society, coupling with it the name of Rev. Father Walsh, their Spiritual Director. Their first duty as members, said Mr. Brady, was to further their lay apostolate. While they looked to the past with pride yet they should not be satisfied until every young man in Lewisham had been added. Their opponents, indeed, the opponents of Christianity, stuck at nothing: no life was spared. Their special duty, he felt, was to exhibit love for their neighbor, and carry it out without shirking the responsibility. Continuing, Mr. Brady emphasised their debt to Father Walsh for his great zeal for the branch, for the splendid work he had done for them, to his own saintly example, and the marked progress made as a result of his efforts.

Rev. Father Walsh, who was very warmly received, congratulated them upon ‘the piety and devotion of the men as shown at the Mass that morning. He thought that these had been greatly encouraged by the beautiful singing of the Christian Brothers’ Boys’ Choir under the direction of Rev. Bro. Brady. The success of the Society had not been his own. It was the officers, the prefects, and they themselves who were responsible for it. After all, they had a glorious aim and end, for they were pledged to defend Christ and protect His Name.

In reply to the toast of ‘The Visitors and Press,’ proposed by Mr. Bailey, the vice-president of the Diocesan Council of the Holy Name Society, Mr. McEwen, congratulated them upon the remarkable progress the branch had made. In 1922 at St. Lawrence, South Adelaide, the Society had begun, and they now covered Australasia. On September 20 the Society would keep the six hundred and sixtieth anniversary of its foundation. The demonstration in which they had taken part on the previous Thursday in St. Mary’s Cathedral was proof that the Society had never been in a stronger position. Their own branch, too, had grown rapidly in a short time to 460 members.

Rev. Bro. Brady, whose choir won first prize at the recent Eisteddfod, spoke briefly. It is noteworthy that the Choir possesses a very fine boy soprano in R. Killea. who sang Gounod’s ‘Ave Maria’ during the Offertory at the Mass.

Mr. F. X. Byrne moved a hearty vote of thanks to Mr. P. P. Brady for presiding.


First Communion and Breakfast (Catholic Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1932 – 1942), Thursday 16 September 1937, page 19) (Trove)