By Fr. Aedan McGrath
AMBASSADOR IN CHAINS, by Bishop Raymond Lane (Peter Davies, 15s.)
FROM the title taken from St. Paul's reference to himself when in prison-one might think that the hook "Ambassador In Chains,by the Superior General of Maryknoll, Bishop Raymoad Lane, dealt primarily with the captivity, and death in captivity, of Bishop Patrick Byrne. But as the subtitle says, it is in fact the lifestory of the Apostolic Delegate who died in 1950 on the infamous Death March in North Korea of which Fr. Philip Crosby, in " Three Winters Cold, and Philip Deane, in " Captive in Korea," have written at length.
Bishop Byrne's arrest by the Communists, and his sufferings and death are the grand climax contained in the concluding three chapters of the book.
T MET Bishop Byrne personally I only once, in 1948, at the Columban house in Shanghai, when he had come down from Korea on some matter of mission business, Columban Superior was Fr., later Mgr. Patrick Brennan. of Chicago. Both men were to sqffer at COMmunist hands in North Korea. Mgr. Brennan vanished after arrest, presumed shot. a
They had much in common, being big men physically and having big, generous hearts.
Bishop Byrne struck me as a delightful character, and in this book Bishop Lane, by merely recounting the feels of his life, by anecdotes, and above all by quotations from Bishop Byrne's writings, unveils for us the picture of a great man. devoted, inflamed with missionary spirit, unselfish, courageous_ and at all times cheerfulThe man with the light word." READING " Ambassador In Chains," gives one interesting sidelights on Bishop Byrne's IrishAmerican background, on the growth of a missionary vocation, on the early days of Maryknoll.
Some of the best reading in the book consists in excerpts from the Bishop's letters and from articles he wrote for The Field Afar," the Maryknoll monthly. Of particular intereet are passages from writings during his years as first Apostolic Prefect of the district confided to lvfaryknoll along the Yalu River (1923-1929), and from later writings while in Japan, before, during and immediately after the war (1935-1947).
Bishop Byrne is one of many who died on the North Korean Death March. one of countless. missionaries who have suffered for Christ, one of the millions who are victims of Communist atrocities.
It is well that we read this hook. and, in appreciating the great soul therein portrayed, better realise the hate that drives the Communists; better value the love of God that alone can conquer the evil thing that is Marxism.