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The XXVIII Eucharistic Congress comes to Chicago for a pentad of ecstasy the third week of June. Hundreds of thousands, at least a million, pilgrims will come. Lake boats and hotels and Pullman cars fitted with altars will transform themselves into ephemeral churches. Every Catholic family in the city has prepared itself to care for guests. So far as possible, foreigners (for thousands will come from abroad) will be housed with co-nationalists. The clergy will bunk in rectories—and in hotels. Honest innkeepers and food-purveyors have promised to maintain their regular charges.
Flowers. The multitudes will come—the humble followers of Christ in Catholicism and their equally humble leaders in Christ. All nations are sending their prayers (Hungary has already offered 1,000,000 communions), are sending their pilgrims—laymen, priests, canons, monsignori, bishops, archbishops, archimandrites, primates, cardinals. Fifteen cardinals (princes of the Church) will take part in the deliberations and the rites. They and their fellow ecclesiastics of lesser rank will form the greatest body of Church dignitaries ever to meet outside of Rome.
Bees. There will be not the slightest taint of commercialism about this Congress. From the town of Mundelein and the now sacred neighborhood of the Seminary of St. Mary of the Lake, peddlers of souvenirs will be rigorously excluded. The pilgrims will each be given an official bronze medal. Last week a ton of them came from Rome.
Naturally there will be mercantile proboscides dipping here and there, gleaning a little honey for the sweetening of the pots. The pilgrims will need socks and smelling salts and all such things. But Chicago prices will not be boosted.
Not directly commercial is an exposition of religious and educational equipment now being assembled at the Hotel Sherman.
The Framework. The framework for this mighty nosegay of faith which the celebrating Catholics will offer to Christ through His bride, their Church, is being created at Mundelein, 111., and at Chicago.
The civil authorities of Chicago have already put the city's children to work cleaning up back yards and alley ways. The finance committee of the city council has approved plans for a Court of Honor,an alley of festooned, illuminated white posts. After the Lord has enjoyed His bouquet, Chicago, always practical, will utilize this posted promenade to do honor to a convention of Elks and another of Moose.
At the tip end of the great Municipal Pier, which jetties out nearly a mile into the lake from a base not far from Holy Name Cathedral (the archiepiscopal seat) is a domed exposition hall where will be placed objects of religious veneration and admiration—relics of saints, holy pictures, chalices of antique manufacture and unique design, vestments worn by prelates who have made Catholic history, a replica of the skin and birchbark chapel where in 1674 Father Jacques Marquette (1637-75) celebrated the first Chicago Mass before a band of Indians, mission artifacts.