UNINTERRUPTED OFFERINGS OF MASS AT LOURDES
By Lord Clonmore
"CATHOLIC HERALD" SPECIAL REPRLSENTATIVE Although we read about the danger that is threatening Europe in the papers every day, as long as one is in England these rumours of wars seem a long way off. One would perhaps not be exaggerating if one said they seemed rather abstract; there is no doubt that the Charm' does make a difference.
Aa soon as one has crossed it cnie realizes, however, that one is in a different atmosphere; there is a feeling of tenseness about, of kilent forces at work beneath the surface.
On reaching Paris one seems to have reached the centre of this zone of apprehension .walking along the streets anti seeing the faces of the people one knows that: the French have something on their minds.
Now, the Quai d'Orsai is the centre of French political life, and it is therefore a good coincidence that in the Quai d'Orsai station one was first forcibly reminded that something practical, yes, the most practical of all things, was being done to remove .this sense of impending disaster. I'I' was jil England that the Lourdes triduum had its human origin, The Rev. John. P. Watcrlscyn, ,partsli priest, at the church of the Assumption in Warwick Street, just by Piccadilly Circus, first launched the scheme.
I had itever been to Lamle, before, and as sow train rumbled across the dreary hitttle$, in pouring min, my spirits wore damped. Oil reaching my hotel they ,,,, I 're former &shed; t was told I could Laity sta■ there on TIIIII:.day, the. day 'When Ow Inclillitli WO:I,. begin, that it wii s II, II ...t lily 104,01;!, La stay anywhere wilier than Pau, and that I should lie au.l.y II t got a room there. I ale illy 111tICII ill despondency, Witilling I had I i I.' 1 cr. come.
Anil then things changed. One was reminded that something, was going to happett, just as one had been in the elation at Paris. I lipard singing raitsisle, and the waiter advised me to go tout have a look, as ti procession was passing by. It was it pilgrimage from the diocese of Saint Bricuc. "Quite a small pilgrimage," said tho waiter. It seemed to me very large indeed. Rank after rank trassed by informai and happy, singint; the whole time.
THEBEGINNING During the next Iwo ria.y.s the crowd dricreased every hour, and with it 'lite feeling of expeetation. tin Wednesday morning I visited the crypt c-.J the upper church at half-past seven, and found long quene.e Waiting outside the con_ feasionals; trio BasiEea of the Ro.5ary was fun. every altar occupied.
Thursday morning ca-me. It was wet and foggy. The crowds looked sad and bedraggled. One felt that the triatium could not start Like that and sure enough it didn't. By ten o'clock the sun had fought its way through the clouds. The streets were hung with flags: it seemed like a day during the carnival.
THE POPE'S LEGATE
legate. One's mind works strangely
Whet) waiting on ociasions like that,. I found myself thinking that up till then I had never really believed that Cardinal Pacclli existed; ile WilS just a. welbknown nan 0, One might respectfully say a kInd of ecclesiastical Mrs. Harris. ,The behaviour or all old lady with a hirgi• umbrella near me, Nvho seemed to letrying to imitate Mn.. t fur e ■ r t " cairmi 011 the iicrhs Package," ratInT confirmed this train of thought)
But the Cardinal eNists all right. He appeared, a trill fignre in searlet, little like Pope. Benedict XV in appear
anA".earriage with six horsas and Iwo picturesquely-dressed outriders had been provided. Ile got, in amid loud cries of " Vive to Pape," which followed him the whole way to Bishop's House.
THE FIRST MASS
Our spirits were to be dashed once more before we were allowed the three days of perfect sunshine which lasted for the rest of the triduum. The first Mass was in pouring rajn.
My memories GI it, are not very clear.
get a place where I could see well, and xvhen the umbrellas went up they made any chance of this quite impossible. The Cardinal Areabisimp of 1Malines was the celebrant, the singing, for the only time during the triduum, was sliSappointing.
It was not Lill this nrst Mass wale over taut the chain of Masses lin motion that one understood, or tried to understand, the greatness or t.l.e tridutint idea.
Try and imagine the space before the grotto parked the \\Mole lone won every kind of mart and woman, while Mass tonowed Mass Iv ttoin a
moment's break. Iffiring each Mass, the eelebrant of the next Mass appeared near the altar with n servers, and as soon as the last gospel hail becn read moved into his Place.
RIVERS OF PRAYER One reoeived the illipression or :strong, disciplined, spiritual ioree, I eaving methodically against the powers of hatred and evil.
People were going to holy coniIconloti et the grotto up to :.nidday, although it meant v:ailing at least an hour heron! I hey could malie
Every evening there was a harchlight pro■ enormous, over the arclie.s of the basiIia. Each procession seemed strong and endless as .1 river.
As a river ends in the sea, so did the procession end in a great, sheet of lights III front of thr basilica. 'The movement was over, but not the singing. 'The "Credo" was sung, a great volume of affirmation, and then the evening seamed to Lai at end.
But it wasn't. I made my way to the grotto. There was a thick crowd assisting at the inexorable stream or prayer and sacrifiee.
I had to leave to catch the last train for Pau,
Ii is always difficult to follow a Mass al the grotto, owing to its shape, Unless you are directly in front, so I assisted the next afternoon in the space before the basilica.
This was much more satisfactory, and I was also able to see the procession of the Blessed Sacrament as it wound its -way over the arches. There was ii procession each afternoon, except the first, and Oil the second dts, tint Sacred Host was Carried by the Archbishop of Cardiff.
Here, too, I Maid have a better look at the people; they were from all Over the world.
lit adaleon to the Indians' I saw two Jaivanese. priests, a Chinese Franciscan, and some Other cOloured" people to whom I could not zuseribe a country; European priests from England, Germany. Belgium, Ilolland, Spain, Italy, and, doubtless. other countries, C.iulc. and representatives of all the reliahtous orders; and parties of adults .ind children in the dress of their were draw from every conlifireateri Lies. n
rank and class, though I think that the majority were poor. There were many working men and peasant women, and Fierily of Italian ilea Spanish was
to, I rid a witoli, being spoken. „no h to, I rid a witoli, SilW [hat the aged General Castelnau strect of the town applaading, and then