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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
December 17, 1927     Arkansas Catholic
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December 17, 1927
 

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Page Six THE GUARDIAN, DECEMBER 17, 1927 .... PUTTING CHRISTMAS IN ITHE MISSIONER'S MAIL I Ii Itl I~ ~ (Written for N. C. W. C. News Service Christmas ~ I i! ~ Supplement) ~ i "Hey, Jim," said a voice behind us, "what's up, is it a trance?" It was "manual labor" hour at the Mary- knoll Seminary, the headquarters of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America. A solid looking packing case stood in the center of the room and astride it sat a fair-haired lad. A box of very business like nails was beside him, but the hammer hung idle in his hand and he was gazing off into space. At the sound of his classmate's voice, he started and fell work vigorously. to,,i was just sort. of wondering how Father Malone will like that Crib and all the fixings," he explained apolo- getically. "Say, won't those Chinese kids love it?" and he betrayed symp- toms of another "trance." "A big chance they'll have of see- mg it with you on the job," grumbled the other. But there was no ill hu- mor in his tone and you could tell without looking at him that he was subject to the same day dreams as his fellow aspirant missioner. It was wi~h something of a thrill that I realized that at Techny, Ill., and St. Columban's Nebraska and the Holy Cross Foreign Mission Semin- ary in Washington, D. C., and where e vet there are training schools for the foreign apostolate in the United States, other boys labored over Christmas boxes and dreamed of the day when they too would commemo- rate in fields afar the Nativity of Our Divine Lord. "Where do the contents of theseI boxes come from?" I asked my priest guide. He explained that the semin- arians were always eager to purchase presents from their slender supply of pocket money. "They know just wha~ the missioners want too," be stated, "because they are already living on the missions ;.n anticipa- tion." But the bulk of the contents came from "Maryknoll Circles," de- voted friends o the Maryknoll So- ciety. These American Catholics do not leave Christ out of Christmas. No matter how long their shopping list is, they send it with a gift for the Divine Infant in the person of His missioners in pagan lands. Personal Greetings from Superior A little l~ter, we stood in ~he Maryknoll Superior's office. He was surrounded on all sides by books which threatdned to topple down upon him and, as we entered he was writing on the fly leaf of one of the volumes. "I am rather glad to rest my wrist," he said, rising to welcome us. "We have sixty-nine men on the missions now and I am getting writ- er's cramp from inscribing a Christ- mas greeting in each of these books." We read the words of good cheer and f~therly affection in the volume he held out to us and thought how much the personal touch would mean to the men in the field. As I left Maryknoll after ~his visit it was with the assurance that for- eign missionaries are not forgotten by their religious families, nor by the many generous souls whom the work of these mission Societies attracts. My thoughts then began to trail the missiooer's boxes on their tong journeys. Just what place would the gifts of the folks in the homeland hold in the missioner's Christmas? Like other exiles in foreign lands, would he be a trifle sad and a prey to wistful memories? Would the dis- appointment be keen if, owing to un- foreseen delays in transit, the boxes should not arrive in .time? The Catholic Church of America now has over three hundred mission- ary priests in foreign lands and I made a mental survey of letter~ I had reaff dealing vcith the Christmas season. It became at once apparent that the gifts frorp the homeland could not ptay a very large part during the time immediately preced- ing Christmas, nor on Christmas day itself, unless, indeed, they were of such a nature that they could serve in turn as presents to the missioner's flock. Every missionary priest welcomes an image of the Divine Infant for the Crib. The outstretched hands of Christ Child have an irresistible ap- peal, not only go the converts, but to pagans, who surround the Christmas Crib in reverent wonder. The Christ- mas Crib has been for more than one of these pagans a lasting introduc- tion to the love of the Son of God. Sharing Christmas Dainties Compliments of BEAUMONT BROS. General Agents Home Lile Insurance Co. of New York LITTLE ROCK, ARK. the donor back home and he gave her a special memento in the Christ- mas IViass. During Christmas day, the mis- sioner has no time to himself, except in the rare instances where he has no Converts. All the Christians from the neighboring villages have come in and they are bent on exploring every nook and cranny of the church and residence, "Is it true that the Father has a gold tooth?" What are the rubber heels for?" apd so forth, the livelong day. Most of these sim- ple folk have brought gifts to the "spiritual Father" and how these of- ferings of God's poor cheer the mis- sioner's heatec. Presents From Converts The pioneer missioners from Mary- knoll arrived at Yeunkong, in South China, shortly before Christmas. Practically none of the folks in the United States knew their address, as yet, and there can have been few. if any, Christmas boxes. But the Christians came, bringing chickens, ducks, shrimps and meats. Like the shepherds of old, these Chinese pea- sants paid homage to the Infant Saviour, in the person of his priests. "It was a great day, such as we shall Last year, an American priest in never again experience, perhaps," South China treated his Christians wrote the saintly Father Price, "andI after Midnight Mass with the con- we thank God for it." And this first wonderful Christmas in China was tents of a box sent by his mother, indeed the last on earth for the vet- "Fortunately," he wrote, "my Christ- mas~ box arrived from California in eran apostle of the North Calorina time to give the visitors part ellbackwddsmen" It was, no doubt, mother's home-made cake, jam and the most perfect of his priestly life. other dainties." I Now the evening falls and the The funds forwarded by friends toInise and confusion gradually sub- Father Ruppert, S. J., in Alaska,bmde" The Christians have set out z foi their meant for this ,ealous missioner thel ." " homes in the surrounding possibility of purchasing Christmas[wllages" Some have a long tramp presents for the little ones of his before them, but they trudge sturdily on, for did not the Infant King come flock. The apostolic priest set out to None to buy the gifts. Overcome by an Arct.ic storm, he lost his way and was frozen to death. The story of Father Ruppert is the most strik- ing evidence possible of the intense desire of the missioner be give tok- ens of his affection to his Christians. Those in the home land who enable him to satisfy this desire are the best givers of all. There are rimes when the inten- tions of those behind ~he lines are !better than their judgment. An American missioner in Oceania dis- covered, on opening a large Christ- mas package, ~hat it contained an as- sortment of apparently useless baby hats and flimsy baby garments. Dis- gusted, he pushed the box into a cor- ner of the room. He had many visit- ors, as preparations for the feast were in full swing, but he was too busy to notice their movements. The next morning, while singing Mass, he ahnost lost his voice from sheer amazement. In the front pew sat the village chief, a swarthy man of huge dimensions. On his read were perched, not one, but many baby caps and sundry baby garments were draped over portions of his vast anatomy. His expression was one of supreme contentment. In view of the childish joy of the good man, the misioner's heart warmed towards into their hearts at Mass last night? The Father Malone of Jimmy's dreams gets his aching feet into com- fortable slippers and sits down to examine his mail. He slips a record into the phonograph and the strains of "Silent night, Holy Night" are borne on the quiet air. At last, it is the hour of the gifts from the home- land and no atom of the love which prompted them is going to go unap- preciated. It may be so warm outside that the missioner has unbuttoned his cassock and there may be tropical palm trees outlined against the softly glowing stars. But Fat'her Malone hears again the sound of footsteps in crisp snow, he catches the aromatic scene of fall firs and the stars are sharply vivid in a frigid sky. Memories of Home Again the old familiar background of holly and mistletoe, his mother's face is smiling upon him and the oth- er members of the family circle are also gaOhered round the hearth. Then his thoughts travel to the Seminary. He sees Jim and a hundred other young men who are hoping to spend Christmas on the missions. Finally, he visions a host of American Catho- lics, men and women, who have been mindful of their missioner in a dis- tant country. He changes the record DO0000000000000000000001 t DO0000000000000000000001 J i and puts on "The End of a Perfect The old friends and the new, the lov- united in his heart by Day." ed ones in the United States and his sp!rit ef ~ivin< which is The gifts from the homeland have Chinese children in Christ have been spirit of Christmas. :rounded out Father Malone's Christ-: III | mas joy. There is no sadness in his I | 5 thought of the folks back home, for he has just felt that there is no real ;fie TERN HIDE & FUR CO. separation, that they are standing DEALERS IN back of him in his work for souls. | 'l HIDES, FURS, ETC. SQUARE DEAL JEWELER114 Main Street L L2TLE ROCK' ARK" Little Rock, Ark. 000000000 +++-!-t~+++4~++-t~++-~+++++++' MUEWLY BROS. MACHINE CO. 1617 Welch Street Little Rock, Ark. ++++-M-+-I-+-t-I-++++++-H-++~ E. LAMPARELLI & CO, Exclusive Furriers Since 1915 811 MAIN STREET Little Rock, Ark. M. A. 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