(See front cover) In Vatican City a little more than two years ago, the hale Holy Father of the world's 331,500,000 Roman Catholics briskly bestowed his approval upon a decision tentatively made by the Permanent Committee of the Perpetual International Eucharistic Congress. Since 1881, under the guidance of this Committee, 32 great gatherings of Catholics had been held, as religious demonstrations against secularization, in such great cities as London, Chicago, Sydney, Buenos Aires, in such holy places as Lourdes and Jerusalem. The 33rd Eucharistic Congress, agreed the Committee and Pope Pius XI, would go to Manila in the Philippines, "Pearl of the Orient" not only to travel agents but, in the most spiritual sense, to the Church which shepherds 82% of its 18,000,000 souls, proudly claims them as the only Christian nation of the East.
Last month as preparations for the Manila Congress went forward, Pius XI lay racked with pain, dying some thought, in his third-floor chamber in the Vatican. To his bedside one day went a visitor who could not be put off, an old friend and trusted servant from across the Atlantic: Dennis Joseph Cardinal Dougherty, 71, Archbishop of the See of Philadelphia (824,250 Catholics), Metropolitan of the Province of Philadelphia (2,080,788 souls in six Sees), Titular Priest of Rome's Church of Santi Nereo ed Achilleo, member of the Congregations of the Sacraments, of Sacred Rites, for the Oriental Church, for the Propagation of Faith. Upon bull-framed, square-jawed Cardinal Dougherty, as vigorous a man physically as the Holy Father now was frail, Pius XI had chosen to bestow a high honor, sending him as Legate a laterespiritually and literally "from the Pope's side"to the Congress in Manila. Emerging from the Vatican after a half-hour visit, loyally declaring that the Pope looked "well, bright and cheerful," Cardinal Dougherty said the Holy Father's message to his children in Manila was: "Pray for the re- establishment of peace in a world which needs it badly."
As befits one who goes forth on a mission representing the person of the Pope, Legate Dougherty assembled a retinue in Rome and with bands blaring embarked at Naples on the S. S. Conte Rosso, flying the yellow-&-white Papal flag and carrying twelve altars for the devotions of its passenger list.
Eastward the Cardinal's passage was almost regal. He inspected II Duce's colonial Massaua, dedicated a new.-cathedral at Port Said, unflinchingly visited lepers in Colombo, enjoyed receptions in Bombay and Singapore. But always during the 22 days the Conte Rosso sped eastward the ship's wireless brought disturbing word of the Holy Father's health. Fifteen years ago storms at sea kept Dennis Cardinal' Dougherty from taking part in the conclave which elected Pope Pius XI after the death of Benedict XV. Last month, honored though he was as the first U. S. Prince of the Church ever sent as Legate to an international Catholic gathering, Cardinal Dougherty stood ready to disembark at any port, fly back to Rome, delegating his Legate's powers as he had made sure he was canonically allowed to. But that proved unnecessary; the Pope lived on.