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Adelaide Southern Cross Newspaper Archives Feb 21 1947, Page 1

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Adelaide Southern Cross (Newspaper) - February 21, 1947, Adelaide, South Australia National Library of Australia unforgettable Christmas at Bougainville priest s Touchi this touching description of the first Christmas mass since the War at Bougainville Solomon islands is written by it. Rev. Mgr. J. Haiman who left Melbourne last year to join the missionaries in the Solomons. What the Faith Means to the native Peoples is vividly told in this simple moving Narra Tive published in the Ryphe Day before Christmas eve they began to come in. Long lines of people plodding in from the Jungle coming Down the winding tracks of the mountains old men Young men women with tiny babes and meagre household effects on their backs. Thin worn weary of face the Strain of the years spent in the Twilight of fear showing in their eyes the need of proper food in their thin bodies and Lack Lustre skins. No shouting no singing none of the cheerful Hub bub of native life silently they came into the Clearing in the Jungle where a native built Church school and House for the priest Marks the painful rising from the ashes of War. As the groups arrived they went straight to the Church Knelt for a few moments in prayer and then on the rough Hen altar Steps they Laid their gifts for the Christ child. There was no Gold no frankincense no myrrh just bundles of Sweet potatoes Bunches of bananas an occasional pineapple for they could not even give As the Shep herds gave of their flocks the Japan Ese had taken them All. No one told them to bring these gifts it was just that it was their first Christmas mass since the War and their hearts were full. Poor gifts perhaps but they must have shone very Bright in the eyes of god. Then on the fringes of the Jungle they built their shelters of banana leaves which were to serve As their Homes Over the Christmas Days. All night Long All Christmas eve it rained that solid Tropic downpour when the sky seems to reach Down to meet the Jungle in an All pervading wetness. Far into the night the Pil grims came their fire Sticks whirling to Light an Uncertain path making strange display through the dripping Trees. Baptisms on Christmas eve came the first baptisms men and women Young boys and girls 126 of them. The priest was tired. He had walked in from the coast the Day before15 Jungle Miles. Up to his Waist in the fre quent streams up to his Ankles in mud along the trails quite unable to make up his mind whether to prefer the Long grind up the Hills or the Swift slide Down the other Side much less dignified and scarcely less painful. It was not really a very difficult walk As walks go in the Solomons but he was using Muscles that had lain fallow for a Long Long time and their reaction was very decided. And now they were screaming in protest. Little heroes but somehow he seemed to forget them. They were not very important As his Finger dipped in the sacred oils anointed the thin chests or searched for. A Patch of whole skin on the sore covered backs. He Felt just a Little ashamed As he listened to the prayers the profession of Faith As he saw the Light Spring up in the dark eyes. They came in groups their teachers at their Side. They Are of the race of the Little heroes those teachers. In their Strong Black faces is All the courage that carried them through the fighting years that made it possible to keep burning the Light of Faith in a land where there was no mass no sacraments no com fort in the present and Little of human Hope for the future. And then came the confessions. Black feet padding softly up the dirt floor of the Church into the Light of the lantern and the torches. God s Grace washing away the years of Slaughter the years of pain. They had been waiting a Long time. Midnight mass there were Many first communions at Midnight mass. For those who had just been baptised it was the first of firsts for Many it was the first for five Bleak years for All it was the first Christmas communion since those Days which Over the Span of War seem a Century ago. God smiled on his people for three hours around Midnight the rain ceased and the Christmas stars shone out. The Church was not built for a thousand people and there were a thousand there that night. The end of the Church was removed not a very difficult task with a native Church and More than half of the congregation Knelt under the stars. They Sang their hymns. Only the words were different they talked to god in the language he had Given mgr. Hann an whose stirring Story of the first Christmas mass at Bougainville for five years Speaks More eloquently than reports and statistics of the Success achieved by the Catholic missionaries in the Solomons. Them. The airs we have known and loved from childhood the adeste silent night the Lourdes hymn were the same the Christmas spirit was the same in nature greater in degree. When you have found some thing Yutt were afraid might be gone forever you clasp it closer to your heart. The voices were Low and Sweet the lean years had left Little Energy for the usual boisterous sing ing. One listener at least regarded this As a Blessing wrung from the reluctant hands of adversity. The Midnight mass the Christmas hymns. They brought no homesickness to the priest. They merely served to Span the seas to bring Home closer than anything else could. Christmas Day Christmas Day and a missa can tata with the Kyrie the Gloria the Credo unforgotten through the desert years chanted by the native people. Afternoon and More baptisms 120. Once again the lines of people the old and the Young the sick and the hungry the teachers with simple Pride shepherding their people into the fold of the Faith. Here and there too the identification disc of the Pacific islands regi ment still on the Chest of a Man Home from the wars one medal with Australia s coat of arms and for valor and loyalty inscribed on it. One Young Mother carrying her baby in her arms through the whole five hours the ceremony lasted. Next morning More first communions those of the newly baptised. Then Flthe Long Road Home. The Little shelters Are deserted the lines of the villagers file out of the Mission compound after their last visit to the King whom they had come to find. They would still be hungry some of them still sick but life would be different because the god continued on Page 16 an act of Courtesy there Are to Rani a emotional aspects involved in the administration of an estate that the Choice of an executor whose daily life is closely interwoven with that of your friends and family is Likely to prove an embarrassment. Should there arise jealousies and disputes he is placed in an unenviable position. It is More than Wise it is an act of Courtesy to family and friends to appoint elder s trustee company As the executor of your estate. The com Pany s executives experienced in All spheres of business activity Are pledged to strict Confidence in the efficient administration of your affairs and the company is As a matter of course just and impartial in All its dealings. Full details of the services offered Are available to you in the free Booklet wills and elder s trustee and executor com Pany limited elder House 37-80 Surrie Street Adelaide. Els6 3,000 attend Newcastle free mgr. Stepinac demonstration Newcastle Jan. 26.Over 3,000 catholics from Tyne Side packed the City Hall Here last week and overflowed into an adjoining Hall on the occasion of a protest meeting against the religious persecution in Europe and the Resolution was taken to urge the foreign Secretary and the prime minister to Endeavor to secure the release of archbishop Stepinac. The meeting was organised by the c.y.m.s., c.w.l., and other Catholic organisations and the speakers were for. John Heenan d.d., and or. R. G. Laffan m.a., yugoslav expert in the foreign office research depart ment. Religious persecution said or. Law fan in his speech is not dead the Only excuse for thinking so is that people Are not aware of what has been going on for the past 30 Yeai a. He went on to Tell How after Tito Aqa escaped from the germans in 1944 and had reached Power in Yugoslavia he lost no time in setting about destroying All opposition in the country. Farcical local elections vere held at which Only Tito candidates were allowed to stand. Have we less conscience or. Laffan said that there Are innocents in England who say there is no religious persecution in Yugoslavia. How the communist gang out there must laugh he said they make no secret of their intention to wipe out horrible As the treatment of Arch Bishop Stepinac is said or. Laffan let us not forget All the humbler men priests and laymen and nuns who have been slaughtered or Are in concentration Camps. Fifty years ago such iniquities would have roused englishmen to furious indignation. Have we really less conscience than our fathers asked or. Laffan. We should express our views to our members of parliament and to the foreign Secretary who understands the position. And thank god too he said that we have an honest Man in the prime minister. Atlantic charter for. Heenan said that if catholics Are tireless in drawing Public opinion to the terror which exists in Many parts of Europe British people will eventually be moved to demand jus Tice and the implementation of the Atlantic charter. The meeting which was attended by Bishop Mccormack of Hexham and Newcastle. And by three Catholic mayors and Mayo resses in add pfc archbishop Stepinac of Zagreb Yugoslavia whose unjust condemnation last year is still arousing intense indignation All Over the world. To a Large number of clergy urged the government to use its Friendly offices and influence with governments with which it maintains diplomatic relations to bring persecution to an end and called for the freeing of thousands of innocent people from terror and suffering urging the government to press for the establish ment of the religious Freedom promised in the Atlantic charter. Wines 1847-1947 Good for a Century 9fi

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