REVEREND FATHERS IN CHRIST AND DEAR BRETHREN OF THE LAITY:
THE concurrence at this time of the consecration of your Cathedral and the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the founding of the Diocese, makes our gathering in Council of special interest. We can but look back with exceeding thankfulness and forward with bounding hope. We entered into a field enriched by the toil and sacrifice of devoted men, and we have reaped the fruit of their labors. We have been aided by an equally devoted band of brave hearted and loyal clergy and laity to whom the present success is chiefly due. We may confidently look forward, with Divine aid, to yet further developments of our Diocesan work.
If our church buildings are increasing, we should also be most grateful that our church educational institutions are so flourishing. It will not now be long before Grafton Hall will be completed. The Diocese may freely look to it as a source of increasing benefit to its own spiritual life. It yet needs endowments for its professors and teachers and donations for its library and scientific equipment. Here too, we may say, whoever gives to it is working, not only for the betterment of humanity, but for God. In the beginning we read that the Divine purpose and end in creation was "to make man." The long story of creation tells how man is being made. Christ is the model. The Church is the instrument. The school is a parlor of the Church by which God's purpose is being carried out. For true education, while seeking to develop man, physically, intellectually, morally, and nobly fit him for life's duties, is incomplete unless it molds him after the Divine Model and makes him a son of God.
Along with the work the Clergy are doing, let us call your attention to that of the Sisters of the Holy Nativity. The Community is especially devoted to aid the Clergy in their parochial work. Theirs is a spiritual work consecrated to the Divine Lord and Spouse. They live ordered lives of service and devotion. It is the way the Divine Master established Who gave the counsels of perfection on which their lives are based. Like the Clergy they have been divinely called and set apart by solemn consecration. They work here, as you know, in your Parishes and also among the Indians. As the religious life is a special gift of our Lord to His Church, we ought, Clergy and Laity, to take an interest in it. It is one mark of our Apostolic descent, of our Catholicity. The life bears witness to the Divine power of the Sacramental grace which enables the spouse of Christ to live her life of dedication. Let me ask the Clergy to yearly explain the principle of the religious life to their people and to be on the watch for vocations. Parents should know that the highest honor God can do any family is to take from it a son for the Priesthood, or to ask at the parent's hands his daughter to be His spouse.
One word and we conclude. The Diocese has been marked by a wonderful harmony and union of Clergy and Laity. We cannot sufficiently thank you, brethren, for all your loving and loyal cooperation. We have stood shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart. The cause of the Church has been dearer to me than anything of personal interest. Not always has the cause we all represent been understood. After a period of coldness, lethargy, indifference, like that of the eighteenth century, the Church under the influence of the Holy Ghost, awaked out of her slumber and aroused herself like a giant refreshed with wine. She awoke to the realization of her own Catholic heritage secured for her in her Book of Common Prayer. She knew she was of Apostolic and Divine descent by the revival of her Religious Orders, the quickened interests of the Missionary spirit, the growing sanctity of her children. She awoke to put on her ancient garment of beauty, and to lift up her soul to God in the glory of her ancient worship and the joy of her ancient song. She awoke with renewed energy to proclaim with the Fathers and Saints of the Church, the Faith that she had received from the beginning. She awoke in the conscious power of the Holy Ghost and its abiding illumination to meet the needs of the age. God and Christ grew before her perfected vision, in larger, richer measure and more divine. Her heart beats with a fresh divine enthusiasm for humanity in all its aspirations and sorrows and needs. Her love for mankind has received a new impulse born of God. So again she rears her Altars and her sons proclaim her message. It is the new, fresh voice of God through the Church to this our age. Go forth, my brethren, strong in the Lord and in the power of His Might. Superficial onlookers may try to delude the people that you are seeking to revive medievalism. Designing mischief makers may repeat the silly cuckoo cry of Romanism. Crafty and subtle opponents may raise voices of stress and ask if we are going back to find the God of the thirteenth century. Only fools, we may add, ever so seek to turn back the progress of time. We are the men of to-day. Seeing and thinking abreast of our age. Acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, our hearts we humbly hope filled with evangelical piety and penitence, our minds filled with a conservative yet liberal Catholicism, our wills resting peacefully, secure in the future victory as the will of God.