Regulations for Missions From Provincial Chapters of St. Paul of the Cross Province 1863 and 1866

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Whereas the circumstances of this country require some deviation from the method and practices of our missionary fathers in Italy, and taught, moreover, by several years experience in America, the capitular fathers for the sake of uniformity and order, prescribe the observance of the following regulations by our Fathers during missions in this country.

  1. That in the morning immediately after the first Mass, one of our missioners shall propose to the devout consideration of the people a pious sentiment on the Passion of our Lord, for about a quarter of an hour’s duration.
  2. In case the mission last two weeks, during the first one of the missionary fathers shall explain to the people the principal christian duties contained in the decalogue. During the second week the same or another Father shall deliver a course of meditations on the most holy Passion of our Lord, neither of which shall exceed the duration of an hour. These discourses and meditations will be given after the last Mass the hour of which shall be left to the prudent judgment of the Superior of the mission.
  3. In the evening an instruction shall be given on the Sacrament of Confession and other matters usually treated in our missions. This instruction should not last longer than three-quarters of an hour. After this the principle sermon will be delivered which should also be of a moderate duration. The Father destined to deliver it shall take care to introduce some strong motive or sentiment on the Passion of our Lord.


Although the following regulations are not substantially different from what has already been practiced by our missionary fathers during the frequent missions which they have given in these United States and Canada, yet after a long and detailed discussion upon the several circumstances connected with our missions in these countries, the following points were agreed upon.

When a mission is asked, let the F. Provincial or any one else appointed by him, inquire from the parish priest the number of the Catholic population, and of what class of persons mostly the congregation is composed. This will enable the Provincial to make the proper selections of the fathers who are to be sent, and determine the different tasks of each of them during the mission.

When the missionaries shall have arrived at the place where the mission is to be given, besides the information which they may have received as above, let them ask for further particulars from the parish priest, so as to be able to frame the horarium to be kept during the whole time of the mission. It is advisable to have a good number of copies of this horarium printed at the beginning of each mission to be distributed among the people.

In order to facilitate in some manner the framing of the horarium we have here put down a distribution of the several duties of our missions with the time in which they ought to be fulfilled.

Rising in the morningat 4:30 or 5.
Last Mass8 or 8 : 30.
Confessions again3 p. m.
Tea 6.
Evening Service7.
Retiring from church10 or 10: 30.
Rest 11.

It is useless to repeat that this horarium may undergo any alteration required by the convenience of the various places and people.

To give also some directions for the spiritual ministrations during the mission, we state as follows:

1st. As far as possible let our Fathers either before or after the first Mass give a short motive on the Passion of our Lord, which must not exceed the duration of ten minutes, and immediately afterwards the catechism on the Decalogue, which must not go beyond half an hour. If this plan be impossible, let the motive or discourse on the Passion alone be delivered, which in this case may be a little longer than above stated.

2nd. After the last Mass if the catechism on the Ten Commandments has been previously given, let the missionary appointed, give the formal meditation on the Passion of our Lord. If not, then let him give the instruction on the Ten Commandments, and the last week of the mission either for the whole week or for some days he will give the meditation on the sacred Passion. To the Father who is to preach the sermon on the Eternal Truths in the evening, we also recommend to introduce a motive on the Passion and Death of our Lord, in the peroration of the sermon. Moreover, we request him towards the end of the mission never to fail to preach one or two entire sermons on the Passion.

3rd. The time for hearing Confessions will be between the first service in the morning till breakfast time, which is to be at half past seven, and from eight to eleven and a half; then again at three p.m., as above started, and all the time that remains until they retire for night rest.

4th. In order to limitate the duration of sermons within a prudent and moderate compass, the Fathers of the Chapter strictly prescribe that a bell be kept to give the signal, and no sermon including the one on the Eternal Truths, is to last more than three quarters of an hour; but for this last, we make an allowance of five or six minutes for the peroration. We request the Very Rev. F. Provincial at the end of every mission, to ask whether the signal of the bell has been faithfully obeyed by the missionary, in order to take those steps dictated by prudence, so as to have this injunction carefully complied with.

5th. In order to give a more efficient help to the people in making their Confession, this being the principle object of the mission, on Saturdays there will be no preaching; but if on the Saturday of the first week they choose to give one sermon, let it be of a short duration and let it be preached in the evening. When the mission is to last three weeks the preaching may be diminished or reduced to a single sermon in the evening of the last three or four days, and this for the same purpose of giving all possible time to the crowds of people who are to approach the sacred tribunal of Penance.

With regard to money given during the missions, as alms for Masses, or donations, or remunerations for missionary labors, let them be kept in common by the Superior to whom each missionary will be bound to deliver them every day or every two or three days; meanwhile keeping a register of the intentions for Masses with their respective stipendium. At the end of the mission after deducting all expenses incurred, the whole shall be divided in equal parts among the missionaries belonging to the different houses, and likewise the Masses shall be divided, having in view the various wants of the houses, giving in this case the full stipendium which has been offered.

Should the Provincial be one of the missionaries, he is entitled to his share as above; but if one or both Consultors have taken part in the mission they will keep one third of their share for the Provincial, and give the remainder to the house to which they belong. This rule does not apply to retreats, because according to the practice of our Congregation, when the Consultors are employed in giving retreats all the remuneration given belongs to the Provincial.