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This stewardship may take the form of a fund which grows quietly under one necessity or another; or sometimes it is simply anonymous alms-deeds. And tell it not in Gath- the rector himself has been known to be sadly reduced just after the time when some parishioner has had to go to the hospital.

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The Flanigans are now safely installed in a "cheap rent " near the church. Very soon Mrs. Flanigan took advantage of the parish coal-club, and she is a regular customer at the parish store. A devoted and somewhat wealthy parishioner is the storekeeper. She buys at wholesale children's shoes, stockings, dresses, rolls of cloth, towels, and such things, and sells them to our people at cost. Every Friday morning sees our hall turned into a typical country dry goods store, with swarms of women-folk bargaining and gossiping. Since the war and Mr. Hoover, we have added a grocery department.

At our Mothers' Union Mrs F. has learned to fashion her bargains into dresses for the children. The energetic Sister in charge has gradually wrought a change in Mrs. F.'s housekeeping methods, and this helps mightily to keep Flanigan decent.

Best of all is the wonder with which she beholds her large and hitherto unmanageable brood develop. Her three girls are in St. Mary's guild. With about sixty others they learn to sew and knit. Just now they are making packs for the French ambulance. Last year they were enthusiastic about a leper hospital. Sadie, the oldest, finds the parties given by the dancing class quite as much fun as the music-halls, and she fairly wallows in devotion to the very aristocratic lady who presides. When Mr. and Mrs. Flanigan come to Mass on Sunday they see Michael, aged ten, and Peter, aged eight, in the choir; and their broadest grins come when they see the incorrigible eighteen year old Patsy in scarlet and lace on the Altar." It is not It is not revealing a secret to tell you that Patsy had the beginnings of a police-court record. Now he is in the servers' guild. His language has toned down at least to the moderate standard of our hilarious guild suppers, where once a month, on Sunday night, about thirty of our older lads

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sit down to a jolly meal and smokes. Here machinists, chauffeurs, and bank clerks hobnob with a camaraderie which can only thrive at the Fountain of Life flowing from God's Altar. When Mrs. Flanigan wants her Patsy or the "old man o' night she no longer thinks first of the corner saloon, but of the reading room or the pool room in our Neighbourhood House. And for the whole of every morning she can wash and scrub in peace for her youngest is being kept busy at our kindergarten. In fact our schedule is a pretty accurate index for the whereabouts of the whole family. On Monday nights the boys are at basketball practice. On Tuesday Flanigan and Patsy go to the T. A. meeting. Wednesday night the mother and daughters are busy at guild classes for domestic science, and dancing, and the boys have choir practice. This goes on until nine o'clock. Then we have them all in the church for solemn vespers and a little sermon. Thursday night is for the men. One of the charms of St. Hilary's is that nothing is exactly a "problem;" nobody makes any effort with the men. Week after week they come, and there is only the same old business meeting and afterwards the same cosy group of smokers, with the younger men upstairs playing pool and shuffleboard. It doesn't sound alluring, and never anywhere is felt the push of an "energetic rector, successful with men." The Flanigan males are always out on Thursday; and the Friday night Gospel meeting has a warm appeal for the "old man,” because that is where, in very truth, he "first saw the light." Now, on occasions, he humbly gives his testimony with the hope of bringing others out of the darkness he once knew so well. Sometimes an old pal greets him as "Buck," and watches with wondering eyes as he administers the coffee pot. The carrying about of that historic old black coffee pot is sacramental for Flanigan.

Do not think that I have enthusiastically overworked this one hopeful family. I am not blind to the many sad cases where all does not go so smoothly. We know the irony of discovering that our too zealous bestowal of alms has set up the "panhandler" for another night, more probably for several nights,


according to the curate's youth and inexperience. We know the sad disappointment that comes when a promising fellow goes off" after a splendid fight of five months. Fancy the night I spent when one of whom I had been inordinately proud got drunk the day before his Confirmation. How often have I longed for the strength of an All-American full-back so that I could adequately administer discipline to a poor fool who just plain goes and gets drunk, without even the glamour of temptation, and he one of our best men, an inspiration to others. As soon as we detect a man beginning to feel himself an inspiration to others, we know that he is "going off."

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Then there are the "periodics." These are the most pitiable and the most trying. Alas, more trying to our faith than to our patience. How can God send them such temptations? There is old Foster whose whole life has been a warfare against the most terrible odds. I have seen him with fists clenched and tears rolling down, shriek out, "Look at me; what a damned beast I am! But God! I tried so hard!" What can you say to a man whose penitence is so real and whose faith shames you, and yet who can't keep sober for more than three months? Most of all, what can you say to God? The young curate's Sunday School religion gets badly shaken in cases like this, and he is quite miserable until he comes to see how our grandly absurd and contradictory religion makes heroes out of sots. Old Foster is an incurable alcoholic, but his faith is strong enough to pull him up after every fall. While the parson is wishing he could dare to be an atheist, old Foster plods on bearing his cursed cross with the certain knowledge that God's grace is sufficient for his allotted three months before the next fall.

Who of the saints can do better than this? One day there will be no more falls for poor Foster, but his cross will give place to a palm very like the martyrs' and his old white head will glow with a crown of many jewels.

And whatever becomes of the poor fellows who go off and never come back? Late at night when the parson is fingering over his index, he comes upon a card with dates and abbrevia

tions which are the code to a tragedy. Where is Stevens now? How joyful was his conversion, and how buoyant his zeal during the first few months he was with us! Then came nights when he felt safe enough to take in the movies. And surely some of his old companions were the right sort. This went on for some weeks. But there came one warm payday night, and just one glass with the boys for old times sake. The week ended in a most finished and altogether beastly drunk; clothes, money and job all gone. Then followed the heartrending repentance. We took him back and sent him to the country. After a month he was ready for work again, so we got him a job, stretching a point, I am afraid, in recommending him. This time he lasted a week. But there is always hope; we've pulled them through safely in cases as bad as this, so we try again,- and again. The last time he got drunk on the day we got him his job. From then he "panhandled" from mission to mission, and drifted from saloon to brothel. One of our men last saw him in the tenderloin, being rushed out of a place where they sell hot rum for five cents. It is only at prayer time that we can hope that God will get him and not the devil.

So you see it was not mere enthusiasm which made me exploit the Flanigans at such length. Occasional meditations on such families as that serve to keep up one's faith and courage.

But I would not have the reader think that our people are all like the Flanigans and the Fosters and the Stevenses. It is only that such people and the lives they live and the sins they sin form the "problems" which produce such a bewildering crop of "theories." And the main thesis of this rambling sketch is to show that at St. Hilary's they don't know anything about theories. Coming fresh from the seminary I could not conceive of anything being done apart from a philosophy. I watched carefully and questioned the rector closely, and still I am just as vague as to the method as you, who are wondering what in the world I am writing this for. As far as I can learn, we proceed on the basis that when problems come up we do the obvious thing.

And right here I can briefly do justice to the bulk of our parishioners; those who are not "problems." I think we can drift along and do the obvious, just because the rank and file of our people have been practicing Catholics all their lives. From the historic days when Sister Hilda started her Sunday school class over a corner grocery these people have lived the Catholic religion as a family life. We have nothing which other parishes have not; we have merely church services and some guilds. The point is that everything in our religion is taken at its face value. When a tiny girl, old Mrs. Peters learned that the way to please and love Jesus is to attend Mass every Sunday, to keep her guild rule of prayer and Bible reading, and to make her Confession and Communion once a month. And since a priest is God's agent, and is called "Father" she thinks he may as well be used as such. So if the rent is behind, or Peters is out of work, or Johnny has gone wrong, she naturally goes to the Father about it. On this simple basis Mrs. Peters has brought up a large family; many such mothers have brought up large families. And the husbands of these good mothers learned precisely the same simple truths when they were small boys, in that same little chapel room over the grocery store. Thus they have progressed through Sunday school, boys' club, choir, servers' guild, and men's club. Such people as these form our parish.

The reader, if he has followed thus far, is probably quite sure that I am enthusiastically revelling in some of the merely picturesque details of parochial life, and that by reason of my position as curate I am blissfully ignorant about such prosaic and practical concerns as money. My rector, you think, does not see things so romantically. He is probably a practical man of affairs who no doubt has a vision, but who has laid a carefully organized and perhaps ingenious foundation for financing such a parish.

Now I would rather not give the impression that the rector is a fool, and I hope you will not think I am stretching the truth for the sake of consistency, yet I am bound to say that we are rash enough to finance the parish on the same basis of

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