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The works embraced by this first committee or section of the Catholic congress, besides all that relate to the maintenance and the spread of faith, include also, under the head of “Prayer," whatever pertains to public worship. Hence the extraordinary zeal with which European Catholics are now promoting popular devotion toward the Holy Eucharist. Catholics in the United States have, indeed, read or heard of the Eucharistic congresses which have, of late years, been celebrated in France, in Belgium, in Germany, and even in Switzerland.

No religious assemblages ever held in Christendom, in ancient or modern times, appeal more powerfully to the Catholic heart, or stir its pulses more deeply, than these Eucharistic congresses, aiming as they do to honor, by private practices of piety and by public and solemn acts of worship, our love and reverence for that gift of gifts, that real Sacramental Presence, which is the glory of the Church, the consolation of our earthly pilgrimage, and the sweet pledge of the Eternal Fruition.

It is time that we in America should take thought and heart to imitate, in this respect and in others, the noble examples of Catholics on this side of the ocean. To be sure—and deep should be our thankfulness for it—the God of our altars and our hearts is not, in the United States, as He is in the countries dominated and devastated by Antichristian Masonry, the object of continual and open blasphemy, while His churches and altars are insulted and profaned. But none the less ought we to profit by the blessed liberty which is our birthright, to graft deeper in the souls of young and old the living faith in our EMMANUEL, and by the most solemn acts of worship to proclaim our belief to the world.

The originator of these congresses was that well-known saintly writer, Monseigneur de Ségur, who, stricken with blindness, seemed to draw supernatural fire and light from his perpetual communion with the God of our Tabernacles. He died just as the first Eucharistic congress was about to be celebrated in Lille, in 1881. But the work which he had thus begun found in the present archbishop of Paris, then coadjutor to the venerable Cardinal Guibert, an earnest promoter, and in Archbishcp de la Bouillerie an eloquent and successful advocate. This last-named prelate had everything ready for the celebrating of a second congress at Avignon, the ancient city of the Popes, when he too was called away to his reward by death. The third congress was held at Liège, under the direction of another saintly prelate, Archbishop Duquesnay, who soon afterward passed away from earth. Bishop Mermillod, of Geneva, then made the work of Eucharistic congresses his own special work. Since then Freiburg and Toulouse have each had the honor of holding one of these great assemblages. In Liège, where public worship is free, there was a grand procession of the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of the city. In Freiburg, the head of the Catholic cantons of Switzerland, the display was magnificent beyond description.

The whole population of the little state flocked to the celebration. The state authorities, judges and magistrates, the state troops with their commanders, people and clergy, young and old, -all seemed moved by one mighty sentiment of love toward the central sacrament of their faith, and made of Freiburg, on that day, a lively image of the City of God on high.

"O classic land of honor and of liberty !” exclaims M. Chanpeaux, after describing the feast, "since thy hospitable valleys opened wide their bosom to welcome the pilgrims of the Eucharist; since thy hills, like those of Judea, thrilled beneath the footsteps of the God Incarnate; since the chiefs of thy people will be nothing but the lieutenants of Christ,-may all the blessings of Heaven be on thy children, and may they treasure up, to pour them out in the time to come over a world hastening to its ruin, all the promises of regeneration and peace!"

Most extraordinary and unexpected have been the results, in every locality in which they were held, of these Eucharistic congresses. In every district, for instance, yearly assemblies are held, which, besides being solemn professions of faith in the Sacrament of the Altar, and a source of wide-spread edification, have stimulated Catholics to devise new methods of devotion toward their EMMANUEL. After the congress of Lille, societies for the perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, during the hours of night, were organized in almost every parish in the north of France! Then a day of more solemn and public devotion was fixed upon for

every

diocese: the whole of the twenty-four hours preceding that day was to be devoted to the sweet duty of adoration, and the solemnities on the day itself were to conclude with a procession in the Cathedral. Thus, in the city of Lille, eighteen permanent committees or local sections were formed, their members watching in turn, throughout the hours of every Saturday night, before the altars of their respective churches.

This was done to expiate the blasphemies uttered by the press, the sacrileges committed here and there throughout the land, and to draw down on France and her people the graces at present so sadly needed.

After the Congress of Avignon the practice of perpetual adoration by night and day was made a permanent institution in some sanctuaries. At Nimes the Catholics so arranged the discharge of this new voluntary duty that the various classes of citizens, the trades and professions, each in turn, had their day and their

specified hours for this heavenly work of reparation and intercession.

We can only point out this most blessed result. And how eloquent it is of that deep, living faith, that chivalrous spirit of selfsacrifice, which no revolution, no persecution can extinguish in the heart of Catholic France !

And here comes a pastoral letter of the present Archbishop of Paris, the worthy inheritor of all the heavy cares and apostolic virtues of the venerable Cardinal Guibert. It is devoted to the double object of stimulating the zeal of the Catholic Parisians in favor of completing the votive national Church of the Sacred Heart at Montmartre, and of preparing them for the Eucharistic congress to be opened in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, on Monday, July 2d.

Two extracts from this beautiful pastoral will explain to American readers this double object :

“Ever since the will of God has burthened us with the formidable responsibility of the diocese of Paris,” the archbishop begins, “we felt the desire to address you concerning the great undertaking of the Church of the Sacred Heart, and to think over with you what remains to be done in order to complete this sanctuary which lifts its mass up, like the Mercy Seat, on the mountain sacred to our martyrs.

“Scarcely had our venerable predecessor been seated in the episcopal chair of St. Denis, when he appealed to all good Christians and good Frenchmen to unite in rearing this votive sanctuary of the nation, destined to call down on France the blessings from on high, and to bring back among us peace, security and union, so needful to our country, and which the most skilful devices of human wisdom are so powerless to bestow.'

“The Cardinal wrote these words on June 23d, 1872. Thirteen years afterward, on April 4th, 1885, just after receiving the Holy Viaticum, and while imparting to us his last advice together with such blessing as recalled that bestowed on their sons by the dying patriarchs of old, his very last words were for the great undertaking of the Church of the Sacred Heart. “We Christians,' he said, with a voice as steady as his heart and his intellect, 'entertain the conviction that this national homage offered to the Divine Heart of Jesus shall be the salvation of France.'

“On March 3, 1876, nine months after the laying of the cornerstone of the Basilica, the Cardinal blessed the provisory chapel which you all know so well. From that day forth, an uninterrupted movement of pilgrimages has impelled the faithful toward Montmartre. The parishioners and parochial societies of Paris ; the dioceses of every province in France; foreign nations, even those of the New World, -all went thither in union with France, to implore the pity of the Heart of Jesus. Such a manifestation moves our soul to its depths; for it proves that our dear France is still the Eldest Daughter of the Church,' still beloved and encouraged by her sisters among Catholic nations.

.“ Henceforward the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar ceases not either by day or by night. Generous Christian laymen, priests and members of the religious orders go up every evening to Montmartre and there keep the holy watches of the night."

Not alone in the votive Basilica which crowns the heights of the Mount of Martyrs, do the élite of Catholic Parisians thus daily and nightly succeed each other before the Mercy Seat; but in more than one sanctuary in the vast, the magnificent, the pleasure-loving city beneath, are there found men and women of every rank whom this thought of perpetual adoration and intercession unites successively through the long hours of sunshine and darkness before the Sacramental Throne of the Redeemer of the world.

If the Judge of all the earth promised Abraham to spare guilty Sodom if but ten just souls could be found in it, surely He will not destroy Paris, when He knows the tens of thousands of the generous and upright of heart, whose daily lives and nightly prayers make such powerful intercession for their brethren; surely He will save France for the sake of the millions who are true to Him—aye, true and tried by as searching a flame as ever sanctified the martyrs and confessors of old.

The archbishop next touches on the subject of the approaching congress : “You have,” he says, “ already learned through the public press that the annual reunion of the Eucharistic societies would this year be held in Paris. This will enable you to admire with us the opportunities afforded by Providence.

“ The Eucharistic congresses, springing from an inspiration of faith and piety, purpose to unite all Christians in the one thought of adoring and loving the Divine Eucharist.

“The conventions of beneficent associations, and those of scholars and scientists, have a great and glorious function to fill in Christian society. But believers should not forget that in the Eucharist is the source of life for the souls of men and for the social body. ... Christians there meet together to study the means to extend the reign of Christ living in our midst by His Sacramental Presence. ..."

We have permitted ourselves to dwell at such length on this subject of Eucharistic congresses because, coming under the section of Faith and Public Worship, it is of the most vital importance; and,

moreover, because we hope to see these matters taken up and made much of by American Catholics.

The reader, after all that we have said about the inroads of unbelief and impiety into all the walks of public and private life, will be prepared to find the enemy met at every step by the manifold Apostleship organized and carried on indefatigably by our brethren in France.

The second committee, the most important of all, is that on “Instruction.” France possesses one of the most admirable voluntary organizations known in any civilized country, the General Society of Education and Instruction, whose yearly meeting coincides with that of the general assembly of Catholics, the special session devoted to this all-important matter being the most solemn, the most largely attended, and the most interesting of all.

The society, under the immediate direction of the French hierarchy, is battling on every point of the kingdom for the divine privilege of preserving the souls of the people, parents and children, young and old, the wealthy and cultivated, as well as the poor and unlettered, from the mortal poison of infidel and immoral teaching; for the still diviner privilege of placing within their reach, -of making them taste, love, and enjoy it,—the saving truth of Christianity.

This would be the place to tell American readers the glorious, the incredible story of the generosity of French Catholics in creating establishments of Christian education of every grade in order to meet the need of the young generations of France, while the men in power are “dechristianizing" successively all the schools of France, driving out the religious educators of both sexes from every one of their houses, and spending profusely millions upon millions, yearly and monthly, in the unhallowed work of driving God from the primary school, the academy, the college, the university

But the Catholic press of America has kept our public so well informed on this point that we need not insist on it here.

One thing only must be said of the sublime spectacle which the Catholic sons of France offer at this moment to the world, in defending the rights of Christian education, that it recalls the long struggle of Ireland in the same cause. Things have not yet, in France, come to the pass that it is a crime punishable with imprisonment, death, and the forfeiture of one's property, to teach a Catholic school or to send one's children to it. But the day may not be far distant when the qualified liberty given by French law to schools independent of government control and support may

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