A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Marist Messenger 1948 – 1958

This article aims to convey something of the spirit and ‘flavour’ of the magazine while Fr Kevin McGrath continued as editor.

1948

March

The first American Superior General of the Society of Mary, Fr Alcime Cyr SM, “now spiritual father of 1,500 Members of the Society of Mary throughout the world”, was elected.

June

Fr Gonnet SM, a victim of leprosy, died on Makogai. He was the second Marist priest to die of the disease, the first being Fr Nicouleau SM. Fr Lejeune SM was reported to be weakening “under the ravages of the disease”. These men had been chaplains to the leprosarium on Makogai.

July

Two Marist Fathers from Australia were to set up a mission in Japan after an invitation from the Archbishop of Tokyo.

In regard to what happened to St Peter Chanel’s remains after their recovery from Futuna in 1842, “As in most Marist historical matters, research leads only to a maze of contradictions”. !!

August

“April 18th was a red-letter day for the Cook Islands when the Right Rev. Dr. Ubald Lehman of the Picpus Fathers was raised to the episcopate in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Auckland”.

December

An appreciation of Rev. Joseph Deihl SM, who died in the US at the age of 53. He ministered in Samoa for many years, and wrote extensively for the MM on church history in the Pacific Islands.

1949

February

St Mary’s Scholasticate, Greenmeadows, “sent forth in December its 256th priest …”.

April

The first ‘Editorial’ heading – an opinion piece about Grahame Greene’s ‘The Heart of the Matter’.

July

In Sydney, the Aquinas Academy was opened by Bishop O’Brien, with more than a hundred enrolled for lectures.

October

“Blessed Chanel’s Diamond Jubilee Number”, Peter Chanel having been beatified in 1889, including a translation of the letter to the Founder, Fr Colin, from Fr Chevron, informing Fr Colin of Peter’s death, and Archbishop Redwood’s account of his visit to Futuna in 1890.

Drawing of St Peter Chanel by Mr V Urlich of Auckland

Fr Joseph Chevron SM

Bishop Kavanagh

In the same issue, “The Most Reverend Dr. J P Kavanagh of Wellington has been appointed Coadjutor to the Most Reverend Dr. Whyte and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dunedin”.

November

“The year 1949 will be for ever memorable in the annals of the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion, for it marks the pontifical approval of their congregation”.

1950

April

The first crossword competition was an invitation to compile one, with prizes of 3, 2 and 1 guineas. MM pens were yet to be introduced!

June

“The Holy Father has been pleased to name Fr Edward Michael Joyce (Parish Priest of Upper Riccarton) the fourth Bishop of Christchurch. He is the first Canterbury-born priest to be raised to the episcopate”.

August

Four pilgrims from New Caledonia on their way to Rome for Holy Year celebrations were killed in an air crash in the Persian Gulf. They were Fr Luc Amoura, Fr Francis Luneau SM and two (unnamed) sisters of St Joseph of Cluny.

December

It was reported that the foundation stone of the Mary Potter Hospice for the Dying in Christchurch had been blessed by Cardinal Gilroy from Sydney.

1951

January

The cover (below left) featured a picture of Pope Pius XII with Abram Osifera from the South Solomons and Rora Iwikau from New Zealand.

April

5/- for one year

June

Fr Frank Kennedy SM

A letter from “our new West Coaster in the Solomons, Fr Frank Kennedy of Avu Avu, Guadalcanal”.

A tribute to Fr McGrath’s editorship of the MM: “Sick or well, he has given his best to it … it has taken courage, patience and faith to see it monthly through the press”.

July

Dean Pierre-Marie
Regnault SM

A recounting of the birth of the Marist Third Order in NZ: the TOM was begun by Dean Regnault SM on 2 July 1923, when he admitted the first novice at the Marist Mission House, Wellington.

1952

February

On 6 November 1951, “the Peach Pilgrimage which is travelling with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima to every country of the world first touched on U.S. territory when it reached Pago Pago, American Samoa”. The pilgrimage had left Fatima on 13 October 1947, and had, at that stage, visited 48 countries, at the request of Pope Pius XII.

March

A full-page tribute to King George VI: “Every Catholic will unite today in the sorrow of the Royal Family and in the nation’s sorrow … King George VI made loyalty easy … he stood for all that was clean and honest and of good repute …”.

July

“Don’t wait to be billed for your Messenger – he gives twice who gives quickly”.

September

“The number of priests ordained from Greenmeadows Seminary in 60 years reached 278”. Among these were 20 Australians and about the same number from Europe who studied in Meeanee, having left France because of religious persecution there.

December

Cover: Tangiwai (below) “We are indebted to the ‘Evening Post’ for the cover block of the Māori Madonna … produced by the Art Studio, St Mary’s College, Wellington”.

1953

6/- for one year

February

About 21 percent of the population of about 100,000 in Samoa were Catholic. In 1919, the number of Catholics was 7,500; it was 21,000 in 1952.

April

Our Lady in Jail: in the town of Navotas in the Philippines, a procession in honour of Our Lady was so noisy that it disturbed the city fathers in their meeting. “Annoyed by the racket, but unable to imprison such a throng, the officials arrested the statue instead, as a disturber of the peace”!

June

In writing about his stay in Sydney on his way to study in Europe, Archbishop Francis Redwood recounted that during his month’s stay with the Marists at Villa Maria, they gave him a shotgun and “told me to enjoy myself in the surrounding wild woods … shooting every bird I could find, which birds a neighbour naturalist was glad to stuff, when they were not too mangled by shot”.

September

“Our first NZ Missionary Bishop, Bishop John Rodgers SM, Vicar-Apostolic of Tonga”.

1954

Fr Peyton

February

Fr Patrick Peyton (below left), Our Lady’s Rosary Crusader, attracted 150,000 people to his rally in Melbourne.

July

Archbishop Thomas O'Shea

“He Honoured the Vesture of Holiness”: a tribute to the late Archbishop Thomas O’Shea SM (below right).

1955

January

“An open letter to Catholic Sheepfarmers” issued with the approval of the Archbishop of Wellington, to be handed on to “other sheep” not of this fold – it was an appeal to raise funds for Bishop Rodgers’ work in Tonga, through the sale of sheep “daggings, skins or oddments”.

May

There were 93 students at Greenmeadows Marist Seminary, and 304 priests who had done some or all of their training there had been ordained.

August

The beginning of an appeal to raise money to build a shrine to St Peter Chanel in Russell, Bay of Islands: “New Zealand’s only canonized saint”.

1956

February

In a Detroit paper, a brief review of a concert: “An amateur string quartet played Brahms here last evening. Brahms lost”.

August

Bishop George Pearce SM,

George Bernard Shaw on infallibility: “The famous doctrine of papal infallibility is by far the most modest pretension of the kind in existence. Compared to our infallible democracies, our infallible medical councils, our infallible astronomers, our infallible parliaments, the Pope is on his knees in the dust confessing his ignorance before God”.

Samoa’s new bishop, George Hamilton Pearce SM, is ordained bishop in his home parish of St Columbkille, Brighton, MA.

1957

May

Br George Dwyer SM,

Brother George Dwyer SM died in the South Solomons on 5 January 1957. He was the first Marist Lay-Brother from Greenmeadows to serve on the missions. Brother George was an Australian, born in the diocese of Maitland NSW in 1892.

September

The oldest Marian shrine in the US is Our Lady of La Leche – the ‘Nursing Madonna’ – in St Augustine, Florida. The first parochial Mass in the US was celebrated there on the Feast of Our Lady’s Nativity, 8 September 1565.

November

“There are now 393,925 priests, one for every 1300 Catholics in the world …
NZ has one for every 470 Catholics”.

“We should stay home in 1960” – a column opposing the All Blacks’ tour to South Africa …

1958

July

‘The Pope Speaks’ appears for the first time.

Pope St John XXIII

November – December

Reports on the death of Pope Pius XII and the election of Pope John XXIII, with a drawing by “Messenger artiste M B Lawrie”.   


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