THE MORE WIDESPREAD CONFRATERNITIES
“No confraternity can be established in a parish without the permission of the bishop; affiliation to an archconfraternity is also necessary.
1. The object of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith is to aid and support the work of missions to the heathen by means of prayer and alms.
The members of this confraternity are required to recite one Our Father and Hail Mary daily with the invocation: “St. Francis Xavier, pray for us!” and to pay a small weekly or monthly sum. Among the indulgences granted to the members of this confraternity, the principal is a plenary indulgence on any two days in the month which they may choose, and one in the hour of death. This work was founded in 1822 in Lyons, where it still has its centre. The contributions amount to nearly two million dollars annually, half of which sum is collected in France, chiefly from the working classes. In the course of forty years no less than one hundred and fifty episcopal sees have been erected in different parts of the world and mil lions of heathen have been converted to the faith of Christ. Some say: “There are plenty of poor at home.” Let these remember that there is no work so meritorious as one which contributes to the salvation of souls, or one to which such abundant blessings are promised.
2. The object of the Confraternity of the Child Jesus is to provide funds to enable missioners to receive and educate in a Christian manner heathen children who are abandoned by their parents.
The members of this association are required to recite a Hail Mary daily, with the prayer: “O Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us and for the unhappy heathen children.” No one is admitted into this association who is not under twenty-one years of age. Oftentimes a mother will enroll her child in this confraternity, and herself perform the obligations attached to it; thus by helping to rescue an unknown child from eternal destruction, she obtains a special blessing for her own offspring. This association was originally founded in China, where sickly children or those of whom their parents would fain be rid, are ruthlessly exposed and left to perish.
3. The object of the Confraternity of St. Michael is to assist the Supreme Pontiff by the prayers and alms of the faithful.
The members of this association are required to recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and the Creed daily for the intentions of the Holy Father, and to contribute not less than twenty-five cents yearly to the Peter’s Pence. This confraternity is under the protection of the archangel St. Michael. A plenary indulgence is granted to the members in the hour of death.
4. The object of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
In the present day the Confraternity of the Perpetual Adoration is being widely propagated. Each member pledges himself to spend an hour every month in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, members watch in turn, generally on Sundays or holy-days. The chief indulgences are a plenary indulgence once a month, the day being optional; on the first Thursday in the month; on the feast of Corpus Christi or in the octave; on the five principal feasts of Our Lady, besides other festivals, and in the hour of death. It is meet that Our Lord, present under the eucharistic veils, should be perpetually adored. Just as there is no hour of the day or night in which in some place on earth the holy sacrifice is not offered, and as in heaven the hosts of angels and the company of the redeemed unceasingly sing the Tersanctus, so it is right that on earth the ascription of praise should incessantly resound: “O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine! All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.” In addition to the Confraternity of Perpetual Adoration there are besides in every town, tabernacle or altar societies, the object of which is to honor the Adorable Sacrament of the Altar by doing the sacristy work, and providing altar linen, vestments, etc., for poor churches. Each member of these societies pledges herself to spend an hour in church every month in watching before the Blessed Sacrament.
5. The object of the Confraternity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is to venerate and adore the Sacred Heart of Our Lord, and participate in the abundant graces He promises to those who practise this devotion.
The members of this confraternity are required to recite an Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Creed daily, with the prayer: “O sweetest Heart of Jesus, I implore that I may ever love thee more and more;” they are moreover to approach the sacraments every month, if possible on the first Sunday or Friday of the month; to keep the feast of the Sacred Heart (on the Friday or Sunday after the octave of Corpus Christi) with all solemnity, and to pray for the members of the association both living and dead. Many rich indulgences are attached to this confraternity; among others, an indulgence of sixty days is granted for every good work performed during the day. In order to belong to this confraternity, it is not necessary that it should be erected in the place where one lives; any one who is once en rolled can gain all the indulgences by complying with the obligations imposed on the members. When Our Lord appeared to Blessed Mary Alacoque, He made known to her the great and abundant graces vouchsafed to all who honor His Sacred Heart with particular devotion.
6. The object of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary is to promote the devotion of the Rosary.
To form the “living rosary” fifteen individuals unite every month to apportion among themselves (generally by drawing lots) the fifteen decades of the Rosary; each one recites the decade which falls to his share daily throughout the month; thus between them they recite the whole Rosary every day. This confraternity is under the direction of the Dominicans. A plenary indulgence may be gained by the members on the third Sunday of every month, on Trinity Sunday, on the principal feasts of Our Lord and of His blessed Mother. The recitation of the Rosary is also indulgenced in a special manner. The Confraternity of the Holy Rosary was established in the lifetime of St. Dominic; the members are required to recite all the fifteen decades of the Rosary every week, but not all on one and the self same day. This confraternity is affiliated to the Dominican Order; its members share in the good works of the whole Order, and are placed under the special protection of Our Lady. A plenary indulgence is granted on the first Sunday of the month, on all feasts of Our Lady, on the three great festivals of the Church, and in the hour of death.
7. The object of the Confraternity of the Holy Scapular is to implore the protection and intercession of the blessed Mother of God in all the perils of this life, in the hour of death, and in the flames of purgatory.
This confraternity was founded in 1250 by St. Simon Stock, then general of the Carmelite Order. The Mother of God appeared to him and gave him a scapular, with the promise that every one who wore it, and lived piously, should escape eternal death, should experience her protection in seasons of danger, and should be speedily released from purgatory. An aspirant will be admitted into the confraternity by a priest who has the necessary faculties from the provincial of the Carmelites; his name will be entered in the register of the confraternity and the scapular hung round his neck. This scapular consists of two small pieces of brown cloth, fastened together by braid, so that one piece hangs on the breast, the other 09 the back; this must be worn night and day. Members of the Third Order of Mount Carmel are obliged to recite the little office of Our Lady (which may, if necessary, be commuted to a certain number of Paters and Aves), to fast on every Friday throughout the year, be sides other specified days; to make a daily meditation of at least half an hour, and observe certain other rules. Plenary indulgences may be gained by members of the confraternity on all the festivals of Our Lady, and on days when the principal saints of the Order are commemorated, on the usual conditions, with a visit, if possible, to a church or chapel of the Order. There are four other scapulars: that of the Holy Trinity, of the seven dolors, of the Immaculate Conception, and of the Passion. The five are often worn all together. For each of these certain prayers are prescribed to be repeated daily. Our blessed Lady acts towards her children as Rebecca did to her favorite son Jacob; she arrayed him in the garments of his brother Esau, in order that he might obtain the blessing of his father; so Mary clothes us with the scapular, the livery of her divine Son, to render us accept able in the sight of our heavenly Father and obtain for us His benediction.
8. The object of the Confraternity of the Bona Mors is to obtain for its members who are yet on earth the privilege of a happy death, and for the departed a speedy release from the cleansing fires.
The members of this confraternity are bound to have a Mass said once every year for the intention of their fellow-members, that the one who is the next to die may have a happy death, and those who are already gone before may experience a mitigation of the pains of purgatory. They are also exhorted to approach the sacraments frequently, to entertain a special devotion to the Immaculate Conception, to St. Joseph, the patron of a good death, and often to make acts of the theological virtues and of contrition. This confraternity is very richly indulgenced. For every visit to a sick person, twenty years; for every meditation of half-an-hour’s length, sixty years; for every visit to a church, seven years, etc. All these indulgences are applicable to the souls in purgatory.
9. The object of the Confraternity of the Holy Ghost is to beseech the Holy Ghost to multiply the number of priests, and enlighten them with His divine light.
The members of this confraternity are required to repeat daily seven Glorias and one Ave for this intention, also to make a novena before Pentecost and receive the sacraments frequently. Among other indulgences they may gain one hundred days for every good work they perform, a plenary indulgence at Pentecost and on the Annunciation (or in the octaves of these feasts) and in the hour of death.
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