TITANIC CENTENARY - LOST IN THE AFTERGLOW OF EDWARDIAN HUBRIS
They did not know the day or the hour :: our three Heroic Catholic Priests did not know that on Sunday the
14th April, 1912 they had celebrated their last Holy Masses.
|"Every Mass as if it is your first....|
Every Mass as if it is your last.."
At 9.00 a.m. the CARONIA, headed in the opposite direction, informed TITANIC of "bergs, growlers and field ice"ahead. And at 20 minutes to 12.00 the NOORDAM advises "much ice"in the same position. At 18 Minutes to 2.00 pm the BALTIC signals icebergs and field ice 250 miles ahead. Three minutes later the German AMERIKA reports passing 2 large icebergs.At 7.30pm the CALIFORNIAN reports 3 large icebergs sighted - this message is NOT posted in TITANIC or passed to Captain Smith.At 9.30 pm MESABA reports heavy pack ice and large icebergs encountered.
At 10.00pm the Watches are relieved First Officer Mr. Murdoch relieves Second Officer Mr, Lightoller on the Bridge. And Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee take up their duty as Forward Lookouts instructed to watch for small ice and growlers.They will be witnesses to History.
1 Hour and 39 minutes later they see the Iceberg Three times they ring the Bridge warning bell and telephone "Iceberg , right ahead!
"The response is electrifying for the crew : First Officer Murdoch orders down the voice pipe to the Engineroom "All engines Stop"as the bells of the Engineroom Telegraph are repeating the message, this is quickly followed by "Full Astern", but the great piston engines and the centre shaft turbine cannot just switch on and off. It takes time for the great pistons to stop turning the crankshafts, before the engines can be reversed, and the turbine driving the centre propeller cannot be reversed - turbines being what they are. At the same time Mr . Murdoch has roared at the Helmsman : "Hard a'Starboard!"because he wants the ship to turn to Port away from the Iceberg now seen on the Starboard side of the bow. Now this may sound very odd, but in TITANIC'S day ( but not for long afterwards) this had always been the case since the days of sail. For in those sailing days the rudder worked in just that way as it had when earlier ships were steered by long oar like rudders- to go to Port you leant on or pushed it right and vice versa.. Sailors being great Traditionalists did not change the traditional orders even when the steering mechanisms changed.
37 Seconds after the warning to the Bridge, the 60feet tall Iceberg struck TITANIC abaft the Starboard bow and, it was later discovered, slit her open below the water line across several water tight compartments. Ice sprays across the deck. The great ship gives a slight tremble but continues ahead. Not for long. Captain Smith has been stirred from his sea cabin and orders all engines stopped. He orders an immediate assessment of the damage, if any. Mr.Andrews the Designer is on hand to judge the results - to everyone's surprise he announces that the ship cannot be saved. This is surprising because at this stage her situation does not seem alarming at all. She is a little down by the bows, but surely the pumps... He is polite but brutal in describing the rate at which she is taking water and how the watertight compartment are transverse only(there are none running fore and aft) and they do not rise vertically through all decks, allowing water , once it fills one compartment to flow over to fill the next and so on steadily pushing TITANIC under the surface. In essence she had been designed to deal with a head on collision but the slitting of her side had not been envisioned at all.
At 12.05 am on Monday Morning the Captain orders the Lifeboats uncovered.The White Star Line had reduced the number of Lifeboats Mr.Andrews had provided for, to avoid cluttering the deck. As result there were not nearly enough Lifeboats for all on board. At 12.10 am Monday TITANIC sends out her first distress call by Morse Code : "CQD MGY SOS". CQD Was the old international distress signal. MGY was TITANIC 's identifying code and SOS was the recently introduced international distress signal.
At 12.25pm "Women and Children "were ordered into the Lifeboats. Whilst some deluded themselves into thinking this was a drill, for the majority the terrible reality took hold.
BLESS ME FATHER..
Now our Heroic Catholic Priests could see what was happening they each gathered to them their separate language groups and anyone who cared to join them. They led them in prayer , a group one of the priests led in saying the Rosary was surrounded for a time by jeering anti-Catholic passengers. They heard Confessions and as the numbers grew and the situation became more desperate as the great vessel sank by the bows and her stern commenced to rise, they gave general absolutions to all penitents.They are each recorded in the numerous testimonies of witnesses at enquiries in England and in the United States as continuing their ministry to the last and each refusing to accept a place in the Lifeboats when it was pressed upon them. Each of the bodies of the three Priests was never recovered, or if one or more was, it was unidentifiable.There are hundreds of victims of the great ship's loss in Heaven to-day, the 100th Anniversary of that terrible and truly tragic event, because of the Holy and Heroic sacrifice of the three '" other Christs ."
At 2.20 am the icy sea closed over the last of the stern of the sunken TITANIC.
Fathers Byles , Peruschitz and Montvila Pray for us to the Lord Our God to deliver His people from all harm.