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Souvenir of Loretto Centenary

 LORETTO CENTENARY.55

by the mischief gathering there, had drifted to the frontiers of his parish to be on hand, ready for any wickedness that could be devised, forced their way, armed with clubs, into the church to tear him, as they threatened, from the altar if he made the first attempt to say mass. It was a terrible day, and a really awful hush fell upon the people as with ringing step, and head erect, and keen, searching gaze, he passed up the aisle and on to the little stand where the vestment were laid out. All knew what was intended; all more than half expected to see him murdered before their very eyes, while they looked on as if in a spell; for although his friends were many and strong they were cowed, as the orderly and quiet majority too often is, by the swearing, swaggering few.
    Being vested he came out before the alter and said: “I now proceed to offer up the Holy Sacrifice of the mass. Let no one dare to profane this church, or insult the Christ here present by one word or movement. And I tell you this," advancing one step more and speaking in a voice of consecrated power, “and I tell you this, if any man raises hand or foot to take me from the alter, or to interrupt my words this day, another day shall come when he will call for me and I will not be there.” Mass went on without interruption, and never again did anyone dare to repeat the attempt to prevent it.
    His words were never forgotten, and of those who then or later publicly defied him, not one received the last consultations of religion; although in one case, at least, that of a man suddenly injured, almost super human efforts were made by the priest sent for to reach him while life remained. But it was not to be; no human effort of religious zeal for Christian charity was permitted to over-ride the decree of the Almighty.
    One more effort had to be made by his enemies to get him out of the way. The appeal to Bishop Carroll had failed so ignominiously that any satisfaction so ecclesiastical authorities was out of the question; and the recourse to the civil law was no less hopeless, for they were already under its ban. There was but one means left, brute force, and to that they now resorted.


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