1 April, 1912--Monday in Holy Week--1.15 in the afternoon--Regents' Park, London
I just made the realization that the RMS Titanic
sets sail during the week of Easter. This strikes me as being something beautiful. This ship is providing many individuals with the opportunity of a better life--a life in America. While this is certainly not the case for all of the passengers, I would be content in saying that most of third-class and a number of second-class passengers are leaving their homes and looking for something, questing for something, searching for something different, some better, some holier. Dignity. It is the quest for dignity, I am convinced. America is supposed to be the most advanced nation--the most progressive nation. It is written that one can go from rags to riches--from injustice to justice--by working in America. This, I think, is the key: work. While I love my native Ireland, I am amazed that the entire nation of America has sprung up and advanced so far because of work. The first Americans toiled and toiled and toiled. The current nation is the fruit of their labour. If a man goes to America and is willing to toil, he, too, shall be given the fruits of his labour and those fruits take the form of a good life, a life of dignity and mutualistic respect--or so I am told.
I am preparing myself for the journey aboard this ship. I am nervous as to what I ought to expect. I have my altar stone, breviary, missal, sacred vessels, and vestments packed away with me. I plan to say Mass daily for each of the classes. Although I have not spoken to the White Star Lines about this, I cannot fathom them denying a priest the right to celebrate the Sacraments for the people on board the ship. I suspect that third-class and second-class will have more of my people than first-class. Although I am told by the canons that I am to deny table fellowship in the Eucharist to those who are not in full communion with the Holy Father, I will exercise pastoral discretion and welcome anybody to the Lord's table. I will, of course, receive hell as soon as I have landed, but such are the ways of life.
I plan to preach a service on the first Sunday we are sailing. It will not be a Mass so that folks of other faith traditions might join. My homily will focus on the fact that we are an Easter people--a people of hope. No matter how dark the night gets, the dawn will always come. Life is very much like that. No matter how dark and dreary our lives may get, we know that resurrection comes in the morning--new life is promised to us in Jesus who is the Lord. We will also sing hymns and offer prayers. I am told that the ship will be outfitted with the hymn book of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America. I will need to secure such a book prior to the ship's setting sail so that I might select the hymns to be sung in advance.
I've also work to do in South Hampton prior to the sailing of the ship. This work is of the utmost secrecy--so much so that I cannot even confess to this diary of my business in South Hampton. I plan to leave London the morning after Easter and wait in South Hampton until the Titanic
sets sail. My friend, Father Andrew, insists that I go to some silly ball tonight. I will refuse, saying that I have far too much work to complete before I leave London. Further, I despise balls--far too many haughty Englishmen. No thank you.
Regents' park is lovely, although a bit of a breeze is beginning to pick up. I will be on my way now.
Dona nobis pacem. Dona nobis pacem. Dona nobis pacem. Amen.tfak,osb