Tropical flowers strewn in Buganda's procession
WHILE cities all over Europe and the western world were celebrating Corpus Christi with traditional solemnity, the Feast was being kept with equal fervour in those places far from Rome where the Faith is not so old. Three at these places were Korea. Uganda and Indo•China.
Douglas Hyde writes of Corpus Christi in Korea : ITRAVELLED nearly 150 miles over rough mountain roads to take part in Pung Su Won's Corpus Christi procession. But it was well worth while, for it was an experience
shall never forget.
We went up from Seoul, the Korean capital, to Chun Chon—the town where the Reds arrested Mgr. Thomas Quinlan — stayed overnight there, then travelled north-east for some 60 miles next morning.
Most of the way there were few signs of human activity except those left by the war -the burned out vehicles rusting among the rice in the paddy fields and deep shell scars on the hillsides to remind us that the Communist world which stretched right on to Moscow and beyond was just on the othsr side.
Then we rounded a bend, and below us, at the far end of a pass, we could see an English-looking church steeple soaring up among the trees.
The church of Pung Su Won was, I learned, built by a French-trained Korean priest some 50 years ago.
When he went to the village there was not a Catholic within 50 miles. By the time he died practically the whole village had the Faith, converts Were scattered throughout the countryside, and he had built a magnificent French Gothic church, around which the life of the people revolved.
We found the thatch and bamboo village empty. Practically the entire populace were at the church, which we reached through a succession ,if newly erected and brightly painted arches. Inside, coloured paper flowers and streamers hung from the pointed arches.
The people were, of course, in their holiday clothes. There were patriarchal old men in long robes and tall black hats; women in their colourful short coatees and long, high-waisted skirts; and men in white, ankle-length gowns and white shoes.
Mass was celebrated by Fr. Hubert Hayward a Columban Father from New Zealand,
After the Mass several thousand climbed in procession to the top of the steep, high hill at the back of the church, where Benediction was given. Being Koreans, they sang sweetly and lustily and prayed fervently.
The pagans from the surrounding area who had come to watch, and many of whom had been in the church, knelt reverently with the rest. Some even joined the procession back.
This almost wholly Korean affair underlined what every missionary had been telling me for weeks: "The pagans here in Korea are more interested in the Faith than they have ever been. And when a Korean gets the Faith, he gets it wonderfully— and what is more, it sticks."
Baganda tribesmen A CORRESPONDENT in Kamrl pala tells how Baganda tribesmen of Uganda, led by their own clergy and chiefs, held their Corpus Christi procession in the grounds of the Rubaga mission, after High Mass at the cathedral : From the cathedral, behind a crossbearer, came altar boys in red and white, boy catechumens, boys and girls of the mission school in imart, new uniforms, the cathedral choir, dignified in purple and white, and the missionaries, the White Fathers.
An African priest carried the Blessed Sacrament. Chiefs and catechists held the canopy. Little girls carried baskets of tropical flowers, which they kissed and threw before the Blessed Sacrament, There were some Europeans and Goans, and there were the Buganda women, like coloured African butterflies, in brilliant, flowing, sashed dresses. Some had babies bound to their backs with bright shawls. Small children in vivid cottons trotted at their sides.
The mission band led the pro
cession to the football ground, where the goalposts had been turned into decorated arches. The procession passed beneath them to an altar, where the flowers and candles were like jewels against the green underfoot and the blue sky behind.
The people sang hymns in their own language. The drums throbbed. Then, when the procession knelt round the altar, there was a silence full of prayer until the drums beat again as the Blessed Sacrament was raised in Benediction.
The procession formed once more for the return to the cathedral. Behind the Blessed Sacrament, walking among his chiefs, was the Baganda Third Regent (the Chief Justine), an outstandingly loyal Catholic.
CORPUS CHRISTI under a burn%swing sun in Hanoi was seen by a Columban priest, Fr. Patrick O'Connor, of the N.C.W.C. news service.
He says the city's population has been doubled by the flood of refugees. it is believed that there are about 80,000 Catholics there, half of them fugitives from the Communists.
Fifteen thousand of them took part in the procession, which moved for about a mile through streets decked with flags and arches.
Thousands of non-Christians watched respectfully from the pavements. Benediction was given four times at outdoor altars by the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Dooley, and by Bishop Trinh nhu Khue. Vicar Apostolic of Hanoi.
The city is outwardly calm and there is no sign of anything like siege conditions, But you could hear the thud of distant bombing and gunfire. The main part of the Vietminh forces are poised on the edge of the delta. but they have well-organised guerrilla units operating close to the city. Hanoi waits with resignation.