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various practicable methods by which he may acquit himself of his individual, proportional share of an obligation certainly incumbent upon the American Catholic body as a whole?
As has been said, our Foreign Missions are at present, and are likely to be for some years to come, in urgent need of men and money. In the mind of the present writer, there is no parish priest in the United States who, with a little goodwill, cannot materially help in supplying them with both. As between the two requisites, while the first, men, is the more essential and in the long run absolutely indispensable, the second, money, is almost equally necessary and is far more speedily available. Pretermitting for the moment any consideration of the priest's effective activity in increasing the number of missionaries in the foreign field, let us see how he may augment the resources of the actual workers in that field.
The simplest and most direct method by which a pastor may lessen the burden of financial worry habitually borne by the foreign missionary is to organize in his parish branches of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and the Association of the Holy Childhood. The former organization, as most readers of this volume are doubtless aware, is an international association the purpose of which is to assist by prayer and alms Catholic missionary priests, Brothers, and Sisters engaged in spreading the Gospel in heathen and non-Catholic countries. Conditions of membership are of the simplest: the recitation of a daily prayer for the missions and a contribution of at least five cents
monthly to the general fund. The ordinary method for gathering the contributions is to form the association into bands of ten, of whom one acts as promoter. These promoters turn over the offerings to a local diocesan director by whom they are forwarded to the general committee. Personal contributors of six dollars a year are called special members, while the offering at one time of at least forty dollars makes one a perpetual member. As for the Association of the Holy Childhood, membership therein entails on the part of children a monthly contribution of one cent, or a yearly one of twelve cents, and the daily recitation of a "Hail Mary," with the addition, “Holy Virgin Mary, pray for us and for the poor pagan children." Should any clerical financier be inclined to smile at the disproportion between a cent a month and any worth-while assistance to the Foreign Missions, an effective check to his mirth is afforded by the statement that some seven million children are enrolled in the Association, and that since its foundation in 1843 it has given to the Missions fully thirty-two million dollars and saved to the Church about eighteen million pagan children.
A graphic illustration of the intimate relation between financial contributions to the Missions and conversions of heathens is presented in the remark of a missionary priest in Hyderabad (Hindustan) to Father Hull, S. J., editor of the Bombay Examiner: "Give me twenty-four dollars, and in a year I'll give you five hundred Christians. How? Quite simply: that sum will pay a catechist for a year,
in which time he can instruct five hundred who are asking for baptism." An additional incentive to priestly activity in securing funds for so excellent a purpose is the knowledge that Protestants are thoroughly alive to the relation we have mentioned, that between money and conversions. A recent report of the United States branch of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, after stating that two-thirds of the Foreign Missions' revenue has been cut off by the war, adds: "To make matters worse, Protestant missionaries, who are at all times one of the most powerful obstacles to the planting of the true Christian Faith, are increasing their efforts to supplant our priests and to take up the work which the latter may have to abandon for lack of resources. The receipts of the Protestant boards of Foreign Missions are larger than ever, and their activity abroad is increased in proportion." A pertinent commentary on the foregoing is the fact, vouched for by a Catholic journal of India, that Protestants made about as many converts in that country in one century, the nineteenth, as it took Catholics four centuries to reach, the adequate explanation being: "They have greater resources and utilize them.”
To return from this quasi-digression to the average American priest's attitude toward these societies that directly aid the Foreign Missions: what genuine obstacle prevents him from establishing in his parish branches of both the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and the Association of the Holy Childhood? Does he allege the multiplicity of home needs and the difficulty of
providing for the upkeep of his own "plant”church, rectory, school, hall, etc? If so, he is not only over-emphasizing the adage, "Well-ordered charity begins at home," and showing himself less broad-minded and large-hearted than is congruous in a zealous priest of God, but is advocating what is really a short-sighted policy calculated to increase, rather than diminish, his financial difficulties. "Give, and it shall be given unto you," is one of the first principles of Gospel prudence, and his preaching it to his people by word and example will undoubtedly be productive of more beneficent results, even from a material standpoint, than will any narrow insistence on the dictum about the charity that begins at home-and all too often ends there.
The experience of all those priests who interest themselves and their parishioners in these societies which we have mentioned may safely be appealed to in support of the contention that, far from affecting unfavorably purely local religious or charitable works, affiliation with the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and the Association. of the Holy Childhood stimulates the generosity of the faithful and actually increases the revenues for home needs. As a Pennsylvania cleric has admirably put it in a letter to a missionary magazine: "That our parishes would never suffer from an increased zeal in the broader interests of the Universal Church is a consoling paradox which it is well to emphasize. It is not a question of jealously husbanding resources; it is rather a question of arousing in the hearts of our people the unfath
omable religious spirit which is too often allowed to lie dormant-that spirit which measures its generosity not by the size of another's contribution, but by the unlimited extent of the need. It is a splendid object lesson for us parish priests that the ecclesiastic who was most closely identified with foreign mission work in England, was the man who built the Westminster Cathedral, who saved the day for religious schools in Parliament, and who organized the admirable system of childrescue work that will continue to prove its excellence for years to come."
One consideration which should possess not a little weight in determining both a pastor and his people to show themselves generous in aiding the Society for the Propagation of the Faith is that they themselves, as constituent members of the Church in this country, have received very substantial benefits from that organization. Writing to its directors in the name of the American hierarchy assembled at Baltimore for the third national Council in 1884, Cardinal Gibbons said: "If the grain of mustard seed planted in the virgin soil of America has struck deep roots and grown into a gigantic tree, with branches stretching from the shores of the Atlantic ocean to the coast of the Pacific, it is mainly to the assistance rendered by your admirable Society that we are indebted for this blessing.” That this tribute is not mere poetic hyperbole but simple prosaic fact is clear from Msgr. Freri's tabulated statement of the Society's receipts and disbursements, contributed to the Catholic Encyclopedia. There we find that, up to