Acts of the Second Provincial Chapter
of the Province of Bl. Paul of the Cross
Held in the Retreat of Bl. Paul of the Cross, Pittsburg, PA.
From July 2nd to 12th, 1866
Few words of introduction will be allowed before we write the Acts of the present Provincial Chapter. We may in the first place observe that the present Chapter though second in point of time is not inferior to the first in importance. For our first Provincial Chapter a Master of Novices and three local Superiors only had to be elected. The Provincial and his two Consultors had been previously elected at our last General Chapter in Rome. But in our present Chapter all the Superiors of this religious Province have been elected.
The second point of difference is about the Very Rev. F. President. For our first Chapter the new Provincial was by our Superior General deputed to preside over our capitular assemblies; in this second our Most Rev. F. General has sent the Very Rev. F. Ignatius of the Infant Jesus from England to preside over the Chapter.
We should, moreover, remark that since our first Provincial Chapter several events of great importance have taken place that may not improperly be indicated by the way of an introduction, but which could not be very well embodied in the capitular Acts. During the first two years after the celebration of our first Chapter, the country at large had to pass through a severe civil war which by God’s special mercy has not caused much suffering or inconvenience to our religious establishments or individual members. On the contrary our members have greatly increased in number, means of subsistence have been abundant, and a large commodious and substantial Retreat has been entirely built of stone principly through the active energy and intelligent skill of the Very Rev. F. Victor of the Mother of God.
Near Baltimore a new religious foundation has been commenced where more than eight acres of land in a very convenient locality have been donated to us by a pious, rich and generous benefactress.
Our missionary labors have been almost continually and generally blessed by God with abundant fruits, in the numerous conversions of sinners and protestants.
During this short period of time our Provincial Superior, Very Rev. F. John Dominic, has been charged by our General with two important missions in distant lands, the first to California, the second to the Mexican Empire. He was sent to California to try to consolidate the new foundation, in which for various reasons he could not succeed. He was more fortunate in Mexico, where he opened a religious house near the capital of the Empire, leaving there a provisional Superior, four priests and a lay brother, when he returned to the United States to look after the interests of this our religious Province. One of the leading thoughts of our Provincial was to prepare the way for the celebration of this present Chapter; for this reason he wrote to our General Superior in Rome requesting him to come personally or to appoint from Europe a President as his worthy representative.
Our Very Rev. F. Provincial having obtained his request from our Most Rev. F. General, Peter Paul of the Sorrowful Virgin, by the appointment of the Very Rev. F. Ignatius of the Infant Jesus, late Provincial and actual first Consultor of our Anglo-Hibernian Province, as President of the Chapter, he by a circular letter dated March 22nd 1866 announced the opening of this our second Provincial Chapter to the Very Rev. FF. Consultors, Rectors, and to all the religious of the Province, for the 25th of June of the present year, requesting special prayers.
At the arrival of the Very Rev. F. Ignatius on the 27th of May at our Retreat of St. Michael, West Hoboken, according to instructions received by him from Rome the opening of this Chapter was postponed till after the first of the following July. For this reason a second circular letter was sent by the same Very Rev. F. John Dominic Provincial, announcing that the opening of said Provincial Chapter would take place on the 2nd day of July, feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Lady. The usual Triduum in preparation for the formal opening of the Chapter was accordingly fixed to begin on the 29th of June, feast of the glorious Apostles SS. Peter and Paul, requesting the venerable capitular fathers to leave their respective Retreats at such a time as to arrive at Bl. Paul’s Retreat, the place appointed for the capitular Assembly, before the beginning of the Triduum.
All the capitular fathers being present in the Retreat and the matters intended to be treated in the Chapter being numerous and important, Very Rev. F. President Ignatius, gave directions for the first preliminary conference to take place at nine o’clock a. m. June 29th, feast of SS. Peter and Paul. As soon as the sign for the first meeting was given, all the capitular fathers repaired to the library which had been selected for the Chapter Room. The conference being opened with the customary prayers, a temporary Secretary was elected in the person of the Very Rev. F. Gaudentius of St. Stephen, who was called upon by the Very Rev. F. Ignatius, to read the credentials given him by our Most Rev. F. Superior General, deputing him to preside over this Provincial Chapter as his representative and constituting him Visitor General for the whole Province of Bl. Paul of the Cross, in North America. The first thing done by the Very Rev. F. President was to ask the capitular fathers to write down in numerical order any practical proposition intended for consideration or discussion in the Chapter. The matters proposed were very numerous and the majority of great practical importance. As soon as this was finished one of the capitular fathers moved to pass immediately to the consideration of the points proposed, but this motion was withdrawn and the discussion postponed till after the formal opening of the Chapter. The two principle reasons given for this delay were first because it was more conformable to the practice of our capitular assemblies, and secondly because the principle matters intended for consideration should have to be embodied in the Acts of the present Chapter. All the capitular fathers being fully satisfied with these reasons the meeting proceeded to examine the merits of the different candidates for election. These candidates were divided into two distinct classes, the first class for those candidates who have both active and passive voice in the Chapter, the second class for those candidates who have only passive voice, this class was again arranged according to the Retreat of their ordinary residence; before, however, entering into this important subject each and all the capitular fathers took an oath on the sacred gospels of perpetual secrecy upon all matters treated of on this occasion. The examination began with the candidates of the second class residing in this Retreat of Bl. Paul of the Cross. The time of this first preliminary conference having expired, the customary thanksgiving prayers were offered to God and the meeting adjourned till three o’clock p. m. of the same day.
At three o’clock p. m. at the sign given all the capitular fathers assembled in the Chapter Room when the usual prayers were recited; immediately after this the examination of the merits of the respective candidates of the second class mentioned above was resumed with those residing at St. Mary’s Retreat Dunkirk, and afterwards with those at St. Michael’s, West Hoboken, and at St. Agnes’ Baltimore, Md., this occupied all the afternoon conference, which was closed with the usual prayers.
The capitular fathers and all the religious Community assembled in the church at half past five to begin the Triduum commanded by our Holy Rules in preparation for the solemn opening of the Chapter, in order to obtain the special lights and graces of the Holy Ghost for the happy success of this Provincial Chapter.
The morning meeting on June 30th took place at 9 o’clock with the usual prayers. In this conference the candidates for examination were the capitular fathers. This began with the Provincial who immediately withdrew from the Chapter Room in order to leave every capitular father free to make those remarks about his past administration which in his judgment he considered advisable; as soon as this was accomplished the first Consultor went out of the room, and the Very Rev. F. Provincial returned to his place. This plan was followed with all the capitular fathers until the last. The time for dinner having been announced, after the usual prayers the meeting was closed.
By direction of the Very Rev. F. President the capitular electors with all the religious Community assembled at the usual hour in the choir for Vespers after which the customary discourse was delivered by the Very Rev. F. Gaudentius first Consultor, which was listened to by all with deep attention and lively interest. Immediately after this interesting discourse the capitular fathers assembled again in the usual place and after the customary prayers the meeting examined the different accounts and the financial statements of the three Very Rev. F. Rectors, which proved very satisfactory to all and were considered a practical proof of the great goodness of God as well as of the generous charity of our benefactores towards our religious Communities. Here the three Rectors consigned their Pagellas to the Very Rev. F. President.
The time appointed for the Triduum having arrived the conference was closed with the usual prayers, and the capitular fathers with all the religious Community repaired to the church for Benediction.
Sunday July 1st, no meeting was held.
In conformity with the arrangements made by the Very Rev. F. President, the customary High Mass de Spiritu Sancto was celebrated at 6:30 a. m. Monday July 2nd, by the Very Rev. F. Provincial, Dominic of the Infant Jesus, his two Consultors being respectively deacon and subdeacon and the rest of the capitular fathers serving at the Mass.
The bell rang again at 8:30 to assemble all the capitular electors with all the religious Community in the church; the Very Rev. F. Ignatius, President of the Chapter, with Surplice and purple Stole bearing the holy Crucifix assisted by two Father Rectors as acolytes, having intoned the hymn Vexilla Regis at the high altar, the procession was formed and from the church proceeded to the capitular room where after having sung the usual orations, the religious Community was dismissed, and the capitular fathers requested to remain, in the usual form, “abeant caeteri et consistant electores Comitiorum.” The religious Community having retired, the Very Rev. F. President delivered a short and eloquent address to capitular electors. After this the names of the capitular fathers were called and the following were found present by their answering “adsum.”
Very Rev. F. Ignatius of the Infant Jesus, President.
Very Rev. F. John Dominic of the Infant Jesus, Provincial.
Very Rev. F. Gaudentius of St. Stephen, first Provincial Consultor.
Very Rev. F. Anthony of St. Peter, second Consultor
Very Rev. F. Luke of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Rector of Bl. Paul’s Retreat, Birmingham, Pa.
Very Rev. F. John Baptist of the Nativity of the B. V. Mary, Rector of St. Mary’s Retreat, Dunkirk, N. Y.
Very Rev. F. Victor of the Mother of God, Rector of St. Michael’s Retreat, West Hoboken, N. J.
Very Rev. F. Liberatus of St. Francis, Master of Novices.
Here the Very Rev. F. Provincial and two Consultors delivered up the seal of their respective office.
The Veni Creator with the usual prayers were recited. Next the Very Rev. President in customary form asked the capitular electors whether they considered this present Provincial Chapter lawfully and canonically assembled so that they may proceed to its celebration. To this question an unanimous answer was in the affirmative. After this the Very Rev. F. President made the usual protest in his name and in that of each capitular father not to exclude those that are fit from, but neither to admit the unfit to the elective votes of the Venerable Chapter. The usual acts of humiliation and self-accusation having been performed, the Confiteor was recited and the usual absolution ad cautelam given by the Very Rev. F. President to all the Chapter, and by the Very Rev. F. Provincial Dominic to the President, Very Rev. F. Ignatius. After this were duly read the decree of the Holy Office Aug. 5th 1754, and the sixth chap. “De Regularibus, Ratio eligendi Superiores” of the Council of Trent. The Secretary of the Chapter was elected in the person of the Very Rev. F. Gaudentius of St. Stephen. In the same manner were elected two Scrutineers in the respective persons of the Very Rev. F. John Baptist of the Nativity of the B. V. Mary, and of the Very Rev. F. Victor of the Mother of God.
These preliminary matters having been satisfactorily arranged, the Very Rev. F. President proposed to the capitular electors to proceed to the election of the Provincial Superior of this our Province of Bl. Paul of the Cross, North America. As soon as this election was mentioned the Very Rev. F. Provincial Dominic of the Infant Jesus, made a strong protestation against his being reelected Provincial. After this the scrutinies began which were continued for a considerable time when the necessary votes were found united in favor of the Very Rev. F. Anthony of St. Peter. This Very Rev. Father having upon his knees humbly requested the Very Rev. President to dispense him from bearing such heavy burden which he considered superior to his strength; after however some encouraging words from the Very Rev. F. President, the newly elected Provincial resigned himself to the will of God. At the request of the Chapter the Secretary formed and published the election decree in the following words: “Ego Gaudentius a S. Stephano, nomine meo et omnium eligentium mihi consentientium, invocata gratia Spiritus Sancti, eligo in Praepositum Provincialem Provinciae Beati Pauli a. Cruce, Septentrionalis Americae, Admodum Reverendum Patrem Antonium a S. Petro, et electum pronuntio et coram vobis publico. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
The newly elected Provincial received the usual acts of homage first from the capitular electors and then from the religious Community which had been summoned for this end. Then all repaired to the church to offer public and fervent thanks to almighty God, with solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the singing of the Te Deum and imparting the Benediction, which was done by the newly elected Provincial. Immediately after Benediction the capitular electors returned to the Chapter Room to close this important session with prayer.
This session was opened with the usual prayers at 3 o’clock p. m. of the same day. Immediately after this the Very Rev. President proposed that before proceeding to the election of the Provincial Consultors the capitular fathers should take into serious consideration the new Mexican foundation, and all the Venerable Chapter having unanimously agreed that the Very Rev. F. Dominic of the Infant Jesus, was the very best person to carry on that important foundation and that he should be allowed to go thither with all possible freedom and independence of action as far as it was in the power of the Chapter, so it was resolved not to impose upon him any dignity or office which might bind him to reside in these United States. The capitular fathers, however, came to this conclusion with deep and sincere regret at being deprived of the prudent advice, valuable services and edifying example of the Very Rev. Father, who had governed this American Province during twelve years, with general edification, common profit and rapid increase of our religious Institute in the country.
After these preliminary arrangements, which occupied a considerable portion of time, the capitulars passed to the election of the first Provincial Consultor. After a good number of scrutinies without any final result, the time for the session expired, and after the usual prayers the election was adjourned to the following day.
The capitular electors assembled again at 8:30 a. m. on Tuesday July 3rd, when the usual prayers were recited and the scrutiny for the election of the first Consultor was resumed. After some ballots the votes were found all united in favor of the Rev. F. Albinus of the Incarnate Wisdom. At the request of the capitular fathers, the Secretary formed and published the decree of election. The Chapter proceeded next to the election of the second Consultor. The scrutiny was continued for some time without any result. In the hope of uniting the necessary votes, the Very Rev. F. Gaudentius of St. Stephen renounced every title and claim to the dignity and office of Consultor. But this did not change much the votes. The scrutinies were continued till the time of the session expired, when the election was adjourned till the afternoon, and with the usual prayers the session was closed.
At a quarter to three the bell rang for the meeting. The customary prayers were recited, and the scrutiny for the election of the second Consultor was again resumed. After many scrutinies, the election was closed in favor of the Very Rev. F. Luke of the B. V. Mary. He thanked the capitular fathers, and gracefully accepted the election. The capitular Secretary as usual formed and published the decree of election. The Very Rev. President next proposed the election of a Master of Novices. At the fourth scrutiny all the votes were found united for the election of the Very Rev. F. Gaudentius of St. Stephen. This Rev. Father earnestly requested the capitular President for permission to renounce a charge for which he deemed himself unfit. He, however, yielded to the instances of the whole Chapter. The decree of election was formed and published by the first Scrutineer, the Very Rev. F. John Baptist of the Nativity of the B. V. Mary.
The capitular electors passed then to the election of the Rector of the Retreat of Bl. Paul of the Cross, which, after a good number of scrutinies, was effected in the person of the Very Rev. F. Liberatus of St. Francis. As soon as the result of the election was made known by the Secretary, the elected very strongly protested against it, and insisted on renouncing it, notwithstanding all that the Very Rev. F. President, the new Provincial and all the capitular fathers could say; the Very Rev. F. Liberatus, in his profound humility, remained firm and immovable in his resolution. The capitular electors with regret were obliged to accept his resignation and proceed to the election of another candidate. After few scrutinies the necessary number of votes concurred in the election of the Rev. F. John Thomas of the Sacred Hearts. The decree of his election at the request of the Chapter, was formed and published as usual by the Secretary.
The next election was that of a Rector for our Retreat of St. Mary’s, Dunkirk. N. Y. The scrutinies were continued for some time without any final result, when the session was closed with prayer, and the election adjourned to the following day.
Wednesday July 4th. This day’s morning session was fixed for 7 o’clock. After a short delay the capitular electors assembled in the Chapter Room. The usual prayers being said, the adjourned scrutiny was resumed and continued for a considerable time without coming to any conclusion. The capitular fathers expressed a desire to adjourn the meeting on account of the celebration of the national feast in memory of the Declaration of American Independence, which being agreed upon, the session closed with the customary prayers.
The capitular fathers separated in the morning with the common understanding to hold no other session on this memorable day, but on further reflection becoming anxious to finish the elections, they assembled again at 3 o’clock and having invocated the Holy Ghost the capitular electors returned for the third time to scrutinize for the election of the Rector for the Retreat of St. Mary’s, Dunkirk. After several ballots it was finally concluded in the election of the Rev. F. Guido of St. Joseph. At the request of the Chapter, the Secretary published the election decree.
The capitular electors proceeded then to choose a Rector for the Retreat of St. Michael, West Hoboken. N. J. At the first scrutiny the election was effected with full votes in favor of the Very Rev. F. John Baptist of the Nativity of the B. V. Mary. This Very Rev. Father requested the Chapter to free him from this heavy charge and to transfer it to some other person more able to bear it than himself. He, however, soon yielded to the instances of the Very Rev. F. President. The Secretary was directed to publish the election decree which he did.
All the regular elections having thus been satisfactorily concluded, the Very Rev. President, F. Ignatius of the Infant Jesus, by special power and authority granted him by our Superior General in Rome, confirmed the election of the Master of Novices, and the three respective Rectors.
A list of all the newly elected Superiors was written, the session closed with fervent thanksgiving, and then the names of the new Superiors were published to the religious Community which caused universal joy.
Thursday July 5th. The bell for the meeting of the capitular fathers, rang at 8:30 a. m. which was promptly answered by all. The usual prayers having been recited, the Very Rev. President proposed to treat of those matters which had been prepared for discussion in the preliminary conferences.
The first which was discussed was about parishes or secular congregations in connection with our Retreats.
1. After mature consideration the Venerable Chapter by a unanimous vote, resolved that all the secular congregations or parishes and stations attached to or detached from our religious houses, should as far as possible be administered and served from our Retreats, and that in such cases the Very Rev. F. Rector shall be considered the responsible person for the secular congregation with power to employ those religious whom he deems qualified. All particular arrangements to carry on this plan are left to the Provincial with his Consultors.
2. The new foundation near Baltimore having been taken into consideration all the capitular fathers expressed their desire that it should be carried on as soon as possible.
3. The Retreat of St. Michael, West Hoboken, was by majority of votes selected for the ordinary residence of the Very Rev. F. Provincial.
4. The capitular fathers having treated about the removal of the Novitiate from our present Retreat of Bl. Paul of the Cross, Birmingham Pa. to our new Retreat of St. Michael, West Hoboken, it was concluded to leave it for the present where it is, all however, expressing a desire for some material improvements in it.
5. In receiving Novices it was resolved and decreed by the capitular fathers to follow the printed form which was exhibited by the President and approved of by the Venerable Chapter.
6. It was resolved by the Chapter that a letter-bag for the mail shall be used in every Retreat, in conformity with existing decrees. The time for this session having expired it was closed with the customary prayers.
The capitular fathers assembled again at 3:15 p. m. of the same day, when the usual prayers were recited and they entered immediately into the consideration and discussion of different matters the first of which was about the cloth for our religious habit.
7. Decreed that in order to preserve uniformity, the cloth for the religious habit should be bought by all our Superiors from the same manufacturer, to whom the necessary directions will be given by our Very Rev. F. Provincial, who will take care to send the proper address to the local Superiors.
8. About the secular dress. The present Chapter inculcates the faithful observance of all the decrees of the late Provincial Chapter, viz.: strict uniformity to be, without exception, kept about the quality of the cloth, the form, the collar, and also about the hat, shoes, etc., and the general religious decency about shaving or mode of cutting the hair. It was, moreover, decreed that when our religious are by the severity of the weather, obliged to use comforts and gloves, the materials of these should not be furs nor skins, but wool of gray or black color. In case some Benefactors offer any present to any of our religious, this shall be obliged to bring it, as soon as possible, to the Superior who will be bound to reject it, if not in conformity with this decree. The same with greater reason must be understood of other presents, of money, eatables, drinkables, etc. which things, according to the prescription of our Holy Rules, should not be kept privately.
9. It is decided that the priests collar may be used by our professed students.
10. All our religious are strongly requested by the Venerable Chapter to abstain from political affairs in order to cultivate concord and harmony with every class of persons and to preserve that religious freedom and independence of action so essential to the success of our missionary and religious Institute.
11. Resolved that no notice of our missions and retreats shall be given to the public press without the knowledge and consent of all the missionary companions; and when one only of our missionaries is employed, he shall not publish anything without the approbation of the Provincial. Let our religious remember that no tract, pamphlet, book, or regular correspondence of any kind in newspapers can be published without the approbation of the Very Rev. F. Provincial. In case of urgent necessity for the confutation of some public calumny or scandalous attack against the Catholic Religion in general, or against our religious Community, the local Superior is left free to act as prudence may dictate in such circumstances.
12. The next point proposed for discussion, was whether the F. Rector can send any of his religious to one of our Retreats without asking the Provincial’s approbation: it was resolved that he can do so, provided there is a reasonable motive, as business for the house, and his absence from the Retreat shall not be for a considerable time, because in this case the Provincial’s leave must be previously obtained.
13. In conformity with our Regulations the particular vestment for Mass prepared in the sacristy for the Very Rev. F. Provincial, should not be used by any other priest.
Here the eighth session was closed with prayer.
Friday July 6th. At 8:30 the capitular fathers met together in the Chapter Room, and after the usual prayers they proceeded to the consideration of the matters proposed.
14. In the next place it was strongly recommended that when our religious are sent out of the Retreat by our Superiors, they should not go to pay useless visits and make no previous appointments for dinners or suppers, which things are more strictly forbidden within the limits of our own secular congregations.
15. In order to avoid misunderstandings when any of our priests have on Sundays to duplicate, he will be free to apply one of the Masses in conformity with the privilege granted by our Holy Rules, but in this case he shall not be allowed to take any other Mass during the week. The Superior, however, cannot oblige him to choose that particular Mass, but he can determine the intention of such Mass.
16. Considering that various circumstances in this country prevent our lay brothers from taking the customary walks on Sundays, the local Superiors are requested to allow them an extra walk for half a day at least once a month.
17. A strong desire having been expressed for a new arrangement in the domestic horarium for the regular observance, it was by common agreement decided to appoint three capitular fathers to form the most practicable plan for the consideration of the capitular assembly in a future session. Likewise a committee of two was appointed to draw a plan for our missions, and another in relation to the circular letter of the Most Rev. F. John Mary of happy memory, concerning the temporal administration of our Retreats. With the usual prayers the session was closed.
Friday July 6th, no session was held in the afternoon.
Saturday July 7th. Whereas yesterday afternoon no session was held to afford some time to the capitular Secretary to write the Acts of the Chapter, so this morning the Fathers were assembled by the President at 7 o’clock. The usual prayers having been said, the above mentioned committees made their reports and first about the horarium. Hereupon the committee appointed submitted to the capitular fathers the newly arranged plan, which after mature consideration was unanimously adopted by full votes. It having, moreover, been proposed to take away one quarter of an hour from the afternoon rest in Summer time, six votes were found in favor and two against this measure. The horarium thus arranged shall be sent to Rome together with the capitular Acts.
After this a long and interesting discussion took place concerning the plan of our missions, and the circular letter of the Most Rev. F. John Mary, but these important subjects having occupied the serious attention of the Venerable Chapter until half past eleven o’clock, the session was adjourned, and the meeting closed with the usual prayers.
This session was opened with the usual prayers at 4 o’clock p. m. of the same day. Several matters were treated of for the welfare of the Province, but which were not deemed necessary to be embodied in the capitular Acts. The time for retiring having arrived, the session was closed with the usual prayers.
Sunday July 8th, no session was held.
Monday July 9th. This session opened at 8:30 with the accustomed prayers. The subject of the missions, as well as the plan for the administration was resumed. The President read the regulations which had been framed for the missions. After considering it again in all its bearings, it was deemed proper to make some additions to it, and that it should be presented again at a future session. The same was done with the plan of administration, as the capitular fathers remarked that it was still deficient. Thus this session was closed with the prayers of thanksgiving.
This session which began with the usual prayers, was wholly devoted to the reading of that portion of the Acts which had been already compiled by the Secretary, and it was concluded with the Agimus.
Wednesday July 11th. Yesterday was entirely given to the F. Secretary to write down the remainder of the capitular Acts, which was not a light work, hence we could hold no session. It was opened today in the afternoon by reciting the prescribed prayers. In this session all the capitular Acts were read over again including the following regulations for missions, and directions for the administration, which were unanimously approved by the capitulars.
Regulations for our Missions.
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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 morning – – – – – – – – – – –||at 4:30 or 5.|
|Last Mass – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –||8 or 8 :30.|
|Dinner – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –||12.|
|Confessions again – – – – – – – – – – – – –||3 p. m.|
|Tea – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –||6.|
|Evening Service – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –||7.|
|Retiring from church – – – – – – – – – – – – –||10 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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. Here the session was closed with prayer.
FIFTEENTH AND LAST SESSION.
Thursday July 12th. We were in the hopes of concluding the final session yesterday afternoon but the hour became so late that we were obliged to adjourn it to this present morning. At 9 o’clock the capitulars assembled and after the usual prayers the reading of the Acts was resumed.
Circular letter of the Most Rev. F. John Mary of St. Ignatius.
It was remarked that whilst all the capitular fathers acknowledge the wisdom and utility of said letter, experience has taught that some prescriptions therein contained are hardly applicable to these countries if not impossible to be observed, especially where it says that “all the money for ordinary expenses is to be supplied by the Vice Rector”: the calls upon the Rector for pecuniary transactions, particularly where he happens to be Superior both of the religious Community and of the secular congregation, are so frequent in the course of the day, and sometimes of a private nature, that he must have some money at his disposal, hence the following has been adopted.
1st. The reading of the circular of the Most Rev. F. John Mary of St. Ignatius of happy memory be kept as prescribed by the General Chapter.
2nd. At the beginning of each month let a sum of money be extracted from the deposit, and let the Rector keep a portion thereof and the other portion be given to the Vicar for the daily expenses. The Rector will keep an account of the use he makes of the money, and at the end of the month, when the usual accounts are drawn out, let it be added to the expenses of the Vicar and both brought over to the book of administration.
We recommend to the F. Provincial, that as soon as these Acts shall have come back from Rome, to make an extract of the approved decrees to be read to the religious Community in the choir either on Friday or in time of the spiritual reading three times a year until the next General Chapter.
We earnestly recommend union and charity among the religious, reminding them that so long as we shall be united together by mutual love, the God of love and charity will be always with us, to protect us in all our undertakings for the promotion of his glory and our own sanctification.
Let them remember and keep that point of our Regulation strictly forbidding to speak against or censuring the conduct of Superiors, but on the contrary, let them help them by their cordial docility to carry the burden which Providence has imposed upon them.
The comparative long duration of the present Chapter, should be taken as the best practical proof of the intense interest and zeal of the capitular fathers for the promotion of the spiritual and temporal welfare of this our religious Province. Besides the canonical election, that are in themselves of vital importance, the Venerable Chapter had to treat of so many various and interesting subjects which required both time and serious consideration. In reading these capitular Acts, it is evident that the field of their labors was perhaps the largest ever presented before the attention of our capitular assemblies. It extended from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, from Maine to California, a distance of 5,000 miles. But the universal zeal of the Venerable Fathers had to go beyond these limits. For they had to take, in spirit, an excursion to the British possessions in Canada, and make more than one journey in imagination to the new Empire of Mexico. From the decrees emanated, and the various regulations formed, every ordinary intelligence can perceive that these vast external occupations could not distract the mind of the Chapter from paying all possible attention to the internal requirements of this our American Province, composed of members belonging to five or six different nationalities and employed not only in our ordinary religious and missionary avocations, but also in the difficult duties of parish priests, and minister daily to the spiritual wants of more than ten thousand Catholic souls.
Let it be said to the greater glory of God and common edification, that during the long and lively discussions upon so many, so various, and so important subjects, the most perfect spirit of charity and concord animated and adorned every sentiment and word: all having the same object at heart, the glory of God and the lasting welfare of our religious Institute.
The capitular fathers with profound humility and heartfelt gratitude, recognized in all this the special assistance and blessing of divine Providence, and the efficacious intercession of our Blessed Lady, of the many holy Patron Saints during the feasts and octaves of whom our capitular assemblies were held, and the loving and paternal care of our Bl. Founder in whose house we were gathered. The capitular fathers desire also to express their profound gratitude to our Superior General in Rome, the Most Rev. F. Peter Paul of the Sorrowful Virgin, for having vouchsafed to send to us such exemplary, learned and zealous President, in the person of the Very Rev. F. Ignatius of the Infant Jesus, who has been of incalculable assistance in all our capitular assemblies. In conclusion we request all the religious members of this Province to evince their grateful appreciation of our labors and good intentions, by the faithful observance of all the decrees and regulations made during this our second Provincial Chapter.
Hereupon the Very Rev. F. President asked whether the capitular fathers had anything else to propose, and having answered in the negative, he asked again whether they thought proper that we should conclude our capitular assemblies, they all answered in the affirmative. At this point two of the newly elected extra gremium who happened to be in the Retreat were invited to make their profession of faith conjointly with the rest of the elected; and thus giving thanks to God and with the appended signatures this second Provincial Chapter was happily closed.
Very Rev. F. Ignatius of the Infant Jesus, President.
Very Rev. F. John Dominic of the Infant Jesus, Provincial.
Very Rev. F. Gaudentius of St. Stephen, first Provincial Consultor.
Very Rev. F. Anthony of St. Peter, second Provincial Consultor.
Very Rev. F. Luke of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Rector of Bl. Paul’s Retreat, Birmingham, Pa.
Very Rev. F. John Baptist of the Nativity of the B. V. Mary, Rector of St. Mary’s Retreat, Dunkirk, N.Y.
Very Rev. F. Victor of the Mother of God, Rector of St. Michael’s Retreat, West Hoboken, N.J.
Very Rev. F. Liberatus of St. Francis, Master of Novices.
Gaudentius a S. Stephano