Recollections of My Life and Reflections on Times and Events During It: A Memoir by Father W. J. Howlett

Page 63

weight of years. One is old when one can say:

          "I feel like one who treads alone

          Some banquet hall deserted,

          Those lights are dead and music fled,

          And all but me departed."

          Among the missions of Colorado there were many Germans, and there was a dearth of priests to minister to them in their own language. It was not that they did not understand English, but they wished to make their confession that they often neglected the Sacraments and became careless in religion. In order to remedy this situation in part I asked our Bishop of Colorado to permit me to spend a season in Germany in the study of language among the people who spoke it. A year spent in this way would not materially affect my plans while it might extend my field of usefulness at home. The permission was granted, and Father DeFoville, my former director at Issy, advised me to go to  Wuertzburg in Bavaria. The very Rev Dr Franz Hettinger was a friend of his and spoke French, which would make it easier for me, and a letter from Father DeFoiville would secure me a friend and at the same time facilitate my entrance into the University of Wuertzburg, of which Doctor Hettinger was a professor. That settled the matter.

          My first mass was a Solemn High Mass in our own chapel on Trinity Sunday. As head sacristan I had that privilege, and I stood upon my right although some of the natives thought that a foreigner should not outrank a Frenchman in Paris. During the rest of the week, with others of the class, I said miss at the Madeline, at Notre Dame deVictoire, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, but in the crypt which was the only part then ready, and at other shrines. On the following Sunday I was invited to officiate in the suburban church of Courbevoie at the solemn mass and procession of Corpus Christi. My predecessor as sacristan was an assistant at this church and gave me the invitation. He afterwards became Cure of Clinchy and Canon of the Cathedral of Paris. The day was very hot and the rich vestments were burdensome, but in the afternoon the procession was in the public park where xxxxxxxx there was at least some air, while four French soldiers carried the Canopy.

          Leaving Paris the next day I went to Brussels, in Belgium, but made only a short stay there and pushed on to Louvain. At the American College there I found but one American student whom I knew. This was the Rev Sam B Spalding of Kentucky who had just been ordained. His cousin, Ben J Spalding, had just been ordained also, but had started on his return to America. I met Father Ben many times afterwards, but Father Sam B joined the Diocese of Philadelphia and I never saw him again. At the college I learned that the Rector, Magr DeNeve, - who as I have already said, gave me my first Holy Communion, was at a sanitarium at Diest under treatment for mental trouble. It was but a short distance on the train, so I went to call upon him. Upon arriving I sent him my card, and was delighted to see him come

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