Ninety -nine years ago to-day, R.M.S. TITANIC commenced taking on her full crew in Southampton.All officers ( except Captain Smith) had spent the night aboard. From 5.18 a.m. a continuing stream of crew members came aboard. At 6.00a.m. Thomas Andrews the Ship's Designer came aboard and Captain  Smith boarded at 7.00 a.m.

Passengers then commenced boarding including our three Heroic Catholic Priests and our holidaying Seminarian ( see our Post 15 th March,2011 "Saved for War"). The process of receiving all passengers had to be accomplished in a few short hours, for TITANIC was due to sail for Cherbourg , France to collect more passengers.She would leave at 12.00 Noon. All of the passengers had to be checked in, shown their cabin allocation and any hold luggage struck below."There was not a moment to lose"as an earlier sailor used to say.

Father Thomas Byles

 Father Thomas Byles (Second Class Ticket 244310 cost 13 Pounds) was an Englishman and a convert received into the Church in 1894.His Father was an Evangelical Minister. Thomas Byles entered the Seminary in 1899 at the Baeda College in Rome and was ordained Priest 0n 15th June, 1902. He was reputed as a fine Preacher, and an accomplished Teacher and Boxing Instructor for the boys in his Parish School at Ongar. It was agreed that he could celebrate Holy Mass in the Second Class Lounge - God, being a Catholic was apparently not welcome in First Class

Father Juozas Montevila was a Lithuanian by birth, but his country was then part of Czarist Russia. Juozas studied for the Priesthood at the Seminary at Seinai which is now part of Poland.On 22nd March, 1908 he was ordained Priest. The exercise of his Priestly ministry was complicated by the persecution of the Czarist police. For Father Montvila was attempting to secretly minister to the Ukrainian Catholics whom the Czarist authorities were trying to suppress on account of their communion with the Holy See. The authorities made the situation impossible, so that Father Montvila was effectively forced to emigrate if he was to exercise his Priestly ministry at all .

Father Joseph Benedikt Peruschitz O.S.B.
Father Joseph Benedikt Peruschitz ( holder of Second Class Ticket 237393) had paid his 13 Pounds fare in order to take up an appointment in the United States. He was a German, a Bavarian to be precise, and was born on 21st March, 1871. He entered the Seminary in 1890 and , in 1894, he entered the Benedictine Order at the monastery of Scheyern He was ordained Priest on 28th April, 1895 - the Feast of Saint Paul of the Cross.

So,the great drama opened , at 12.00 TITANIC was set in motion after her lines had been cast off. Her departure was not without incident, as the tremendous cavitation of her three giant propellers sucked the adjoining S.S. New York toward her , but the situation was quickly taken in hand and she was on her way. She carried with her a secret from the public at large, and from her passengers - a fire was burning in one of her coal bunkers - such things were not uncommon - but efforts to extinguish it were not successful yet.

Events would be allowed to take their course, but the good God had his "other Christs" in place to take care of those who could not remotely guess what was about to overtake them.


Cady said…
Thank you for posting about the heroic actions of the priests onboard the Titanic! Our family has been personally inspired by them as well:
RIP, priests of the Titanic.

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