Dear Brethren of the Catholic Congress:
I GIVE YOU warm and affectionate welcome to the diocese of New York, and pray that your meeting here may be a most happy and profitable one.
You are meeting with the purpose of strengthening your faith in Christ our Lord and deepening your realization of the blessings which He offers to us, and to all men, through His Holy Catholic Church.
All through the length and breadth of the Church today there is a longing, expressing itself in many ways, for a deeper and more personal experience of religion.
It is this stirring of heart and soul which is expressing itself in the present movement for Evangelism. Faced by the problems and complexities of this present time, and by the sin in the world, and in their own lives, men and women are looking for some help that can meet their need. Their need can be met by nothing less than the power and love of God revealed and brought personally to each one of us in Christ. Academic discussions of religion will not avail. Preaching alone, however fervent, is not sufficient. Medicine could not do its work for men by dealing with them only in crowds, and neither can the Church. If men are to be helped there must be more real and direct dealing with the spiritual needs of individuals. A true Evangelism must bring men and women to the knowledge of Christ our Lord not only as He was two thousand years ago, but as He is now on the Throne of God, and as He comes still to bless and heal and uphold us through the sacraments and agencies of His Church.
You do not want, none of us, I think, wants, a mere return to medieval modes of thought, or to medieval ways. What we want is an experience of life in Christ now in our own time, as deep, as real, and as free as that of the saints in every age.
May your deliberations here be so guided by the Holy Spirit that they may lead toward that great aim.