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received the Sacrament of Matrimony. ... In my humble opinion irreligion will never triumph in our parishes as long as we can have Missions, no matter how much evil-minded people work against us. . . . Having thanked God, who moved the hearts of my people, I desire to thank Your Reverence.
These requests for Missions come to us, as I have said, not merely from Bishops and priests, but from other sources also, Our Missions are all given in Visaya, the homelanguage of the people. Yet in our Mission archives there is a petition addressed to the Fathers by the principal people of a district, where a Mission was being conducted, written in English. As the document is short, and as it shows the work of the Mission as seen through native eyes, and is in itself a very eloquent plea for more Missionaries for the Philippines, I will quote it in full, and with all its quaintness. It is signed by the local Justice of the Peace, the Municipal Treasurer, the Municipal Secretary, Municipal Councillors, "A Chinese Catholic, the Principal Teacher of the Public School, the Chief of the Police, in fact, practically by everyone who was anything in the little pueblo,' It bears the date of June 26, 1916, and runs as follows:
The Padres Redentoristas : Greeting :
We, the undersigned, faithful Catholics of this town, have the honour to request the presence of the Mission in this locality until the 15th day of the next month of July. This ardent desire obeys the following reasons :
1. Thousands of people in our mountains and neighbouring townlands, who have just come down, are all willing to confess, and some of them to marry. There are another hundreds of people who are coming down sometime this week. Now, due to the short lapse of time in which the Mission stay here, we presume that many of the people cannot accomplish their wish to confess, to marry, to attend the Mass, and to hear the sermons.
2. In this parish there are yet many puyopuyo' (concubinarii) who have just been convinced to receive the Sacrament. Most of their need three weeks in order to prepare for their marriage. In the first place they live far away in the mountains and never confess since their youth; so it will take time for them to learn and examine their sins.
3. The more the Mission stay here for long time, the more the people want to go to the Church. It shows that the people recognize the great importance of the Mission in regard to save the spirit of the human body.
4. The town people, as true Catholics, are not satisfied with the three weeks' work of the Mission. They want the Missioners to stay in this town at least two weeks more, because they are ready to go to the Church morning and afternoon, and especially it is their pleasure and satisfaction to hear the preach or sermon, which are all based from the sweet words of the Great God our King. Hoping to receive your favourable consideration.
Very sincerely yours
Then follow more than sixty signatures. The reader may ask what was the result of the petition. This : the Mission was prolonged for a week more, and then the Fathers were so utterly wearied out that the Superior had to recall them home. They had been giving Missions from New Year's day till July with only a few days' intermission.
A few remarks about that Mission will help to give an idea of what Missions are like in the Philippine Islands. The name of the place from which this quaint petition came is Dalaguete, some eighty miles to the south of Cebu. Four Fathers went there for a three weeks' Mission, but as we see, in answer to the request given above, another week was added, during which five Fathers were kept busily engaged. The congregation, morning and evening, numbered 8,000. Great numbers remained three days, four days, and many even a week, and yet could not go to confession. The food and money they brought with them had run out. Many of these people lived at a distance of ten hours' walk into the mountains. They brought with them a supply of food, and when this became exhausted, serious injury to health followed in some cases. Many people over seventy years of age had never received the Sacraments. At least 751 couples, living in illicit unions, received the Sacrament of Matrimony. I say at least, for there were many others waiting to be registered at the time the Fathers were leaving the Mission. The number of Communions reached 23,092. In addition to the work done for the adults, a special Mission was given to the children during the first week.
Great as was the success of the Mission in Dalaguete, yet there were many who were unable to get to confession. Though the Fathers had the assistance of three other priests, yet on the morning of their departure they found the church filled with people waiting for confession. But they had to go, they were utterly worn out, and there was another Mission awaiting them in Buena Vista. So great was the desire of these people to go to confession, that when they heard of a Mission in Badyan, on the opposite coast, they crossed the mountains before the Mission began, and thus were the first at the confessional. The Mission in Dalaguete took place in July 1916 ; the Mission in Badyan was given in April 1919. Thus two and a half years elapsed before the people who were left unheard in Dalaguete were able to go to confession.
One word more about the Dalaguete Mission. The people subscribed 400 peses (over £40) for a Mission Cross.
Since the Mission they have kept up the pious custom of praying before that Cross every Sunday. It stands a good distance from the church, on the sea-shore. They wished to have it there, to encourag ethem when out on the stormy
And here I may observe that it is remarkable with what tenacity the people cling to the pious practices they learn during the time of Mission. The Mission hymns have an especial attraction for them, and I have often seen all the people of a village or a countryside pause in the midst of their business or amusement to join in a Mission hymn.
These few remarks will give the reader an idea of what a Mission is in the Philippine Islands. As may be naturally expected, the work of the Missionary out here in the Philippines is very different from what it is in Ireland. When there has been no priest in a parish, and no religious teaching in the schools for twenty years, the Missionary has in many cases to begin at the rudiments; and where there are multitudes waiting on him he has often to be satisfied with imparting the necessary truths, and making the best arrangement he can for future instruction. In many cases the difficulty of his task is increased by the evil work of the proselytizer, who has tried to lead astray the shepherdless flock. Then there are civil and otherwise irregular unions, which have to be rectified by the Sacrament of Matrimony; children have to be baptized, and the sick who are unable to attend the Missions in the churches have to be visited in their homes. Add to this the almost interminable work of hearing confessions, and you have an order of the day that leaves the Missionary few moments of leisure. But all this labour is more than compensated for by the immense good that the Missions are doing for religion in the Philippine Islands. They are, as the present Bishop of Cebu declared, 'the one great hope of saving the faith in these Islands.' This, too, is the conviction of other Bishops in the Philippines, as is evident from their repeated applications for the establishment of Missionary houses in their dioceses. But so far we have had only one answer to these applications: 'The labourers are too few.'
One other important result of our Missions here I have not touched on yet. It is this : not only do they prevent the masses of the people from drifting into indifference, heresy, and schism, but they also bring back many of those fallen away from the faith. The number of such conversions on Missions ranges between one hundred and six hundred. Moreover, the Missions have this surprising result that they neutralize to a great extent the evil effects of the State schools through their influence on the teachers. For it must be borne in mind that, since the American occupation, practically all the schools are under the control of the State, and all religious teaching forbidden during school hours. The teachers are Filipinos, who, as a rule, have grown up without opportunities of practising their religion, or in a state of indifference owing to the prevailing indifference ja the State Colleges in which they were trained. Now we find that on our Missions these teachers are amongst those who make the Mission best, and not only do they make it themselves, but they use every effort outside school hours to induce the children to do the same. The results of their
. efforts are most consoling; Practically all the children attend the Mission regularly and receive the Sacraments. Many of them begin the Catechism for the first time. Hence a part of the necessary equipment of a Missionary coming into a parish is a thousand or more Catechisms. We can hardly exaggerate the importance of thus saving the children from the baneful effects of irreligious education. All other work can succeed in only deferring for a time the inevitable ruin of the faith in the Philippines, but the work done for the children is the one great hope of keeping this country what it is at present-a Catholic country.
IRELAND AND THE PHILIPPINES At first it may seem a far cry from this country to Ireland. Yet, when one comes to reflect more on the matter, it is astonishing how many links one discovers binding the two countries together. Among the priests who worked here in Spanish times, there were some very zealous and saintly Irishmen, and after centuries they are still remembered by the Filipinos. And to-day Irishmen, and women too, are found working for God, all over the Philippines. Those splendid Missionaries, the priests of the Mill Hill Society, have no better workers in their ranks than the sons of the Old Land.' The only English-speaking Catholic College for the higher education of boys in the Philippines is the De La Salle College of Manila, and nearly all the members of its staff are Irish, or of Irish descent. A very successful English-speaking College for girls in Manila is under the direction of a near relative of ‘Joe Bigger. The only priests who give Missions in the sense that we use the word • Mission' in Europe—that is, who go about giving spiritual exercises for a few weeks in each parish-are the Irish and Irish-Australian Redemptorists. But beyond all this, the Philippines are linked to Ireland by the fact that the Head of the Church in this country is our distinguished countryman, his Grace, Dr. M. J. O'Doherty, Archbishop of Manila. Dr. O'Doherty is still a young man.
He was born at Charlestown, Co. Mayo, in 1874. A few years after his ordination at Maynooth, he was appointed Rector of the Irish College of Salamanca, and subsequently was consecrated Bishop of Zamboanga in the Philippines. When Dr. Harty was transferred to an American See, about three years ago, the young Bishop of Zamboanga was appointed to take his place as Archbishop of Manila. His Grace has won golden opinions from the men of many races living in the Philippines; and as one would expect from the traditions of our race, and considering the particular needs of this country, he has distinguished himself especially by his work for Catholic education in the school, and for the continuation of that education in the Press. He speaks Spanish and Irish as fluently as he speaks English.
Perhaps these few links with Ireland may yet grow into a golden chain, which will be the salvation of the Philippines. Why should they not? We Irishmen have turned back to our past. The language and music and skill of other days are returning to the land-coming into their own, buideacar mór le dia. But they are not coming alone. They cannot come alone.
The spirit, without which they would have neither life nor colour nor beauty, is coming back with them. We are turning more and more to our old ideals; and what higher or holier ideal comes shining out of the past than that Ireland, in God's mysterious Providence, is to be the spiritual light of the world. Ireland was the light of the known world in the days of her greatness. Her children went through the highways of the earth, peregrinantes pro Christo,' carrying the love of Christ and the love of éire in their heart, and holding aloft the blazing torch that guided men's feet to God. In the darkness that is now closing down upon the world, will not Irishmen go forth again, and hold up before the eyes of men the only symbol that can save them, the only light that can guide them-a flaming Cross. If Ireland, which God has chosen to lead so many of the nations to His knowledge and love, fail in her