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MISSISSIPPI


394


MISSISSIPPI


provincia] synods — e. g., by the Plenary Synod of Thurles, in 1S50; by the Synods of Cixshel, 18.5:5, and of Tuani, 1S54, and tlie I'leaaiy Synod of Miiynooth, lS7o. In England thoy weif rcconiniendi'd l)y the Provincial Council of Wesliuinstor, in 1S.')2, an<l ajjain in 1S59; in Scollantl l)y the I'lenary Council of 1SS6. The Plenary Council of Australia, hold at Sydney in ISSo, and, in Canada, tlic Provincial Council of Quebec, in 1S03, strongly urged parochial missions.

In the United States there was no systemat ic popu- lar missionarj' work until about ISGO, tlunigli missions had been given earlier. The Lazarist I'alluMs arrived in ISUi, theUedemptorists in ISiS'J, and tlic I'assionists in lSo2; but, although missions and spiritual retreats are the special work of these congregations, the scarcity of priests in this country compelled them at first to postpone such work to the ordinary spiritual wants of a scattered population. In 1S39 Gregory XVI sent the Abbe Forbin-Janson on a missionary tour through the United States, where, for two years, he gave missions to the people and retreats to the clergy, bringing the faithful to the sacraments in num- bers which since then have scarcely been equalled. In the Second Pro\incial Council of Cincinnati (ISoS), the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore (1866), and the Tenth Provincial Council of Baltimore (1869), parochial missions are strongly recommended. Among the more active missionaries of this period. Fathers Smarius, Weninger, Damen, D. Young, O.P., and Hewit are still gratefully remembered.

With the increase in the numlier of priests, the parochial mission has, during the last century, become an extremely influential element in the life of the Catholic Church in the United States. Besides the Lazarists, Redemptorists, and Passionists already mentioned, Dominicans, Augustinians, Paulists, and Marists have been active in this field. To supply the lack of missionaries of the regular institutes, a highly satisfactory expedient has Ijeen devised in "diocesan apostolates". These groups of priests, selected from the secular clergj', are trained for mission work with special reference to the conversion of non-Catholics. They are exempted from ordinary pastoral work, and held in readiness to give missions whenever needed. Under various names — as "Apostolic Missionary Band", "Diocesan Mission Band", etc. — the system has become established in the Archdioceses of New York, St. Louis, St. Paul, and San F^rancisco, and the Dioceses of Alton, Burlington, Oklahoma, Peoria, Pittsburg, Providence, Richmond, San Antonio, Scranton, and \Mieeling. In the average American parish there is a mission every three years, in some every second year, and many make it an annual event. In 1903 Pope Leo XIII addressed a letter to the Church in the Philippine Islands, in which he strongly recommended the giving of missions. For an account of the Church Extension Society founded by the Rev. Francis Kelley, of Lapeer, Mich., and or- ganized at Chicago, 19 October, 1905, for the develop- ment of the missionary spirit among the faithful and the support of the Church in poor or pioneer localities, see Societies, C.\thouc.

III. Method. — While all missionary bodies pursue the same end, their methods of conducting missions vary according to the genius of each institute and its traditions. In general, however, it may be said that purely dogmatic sermons are avoided, as well as mere appeals to the emotions and the a,ssumption that all that is, is bad. The aim is rather to seek the virtue that lies in the middle course of sound doctrine and wholesome religious sentiment. It is with this end in view that the subjects of the mission sermons are chosen, and, as the number of .sermons is limited, only the most practical topics, bearing on the everyday lives of the people, are selected. If the mission lasts two weeks, the first week is usually for women exclu-


sively and the second for men. If it is to continue four weeks, the first week is for married women, the second for unmarried women, the third for married men, and the fourth for unmarried men. As far as time will permit, the sermons usually deal with the following general subjects, which are varied to some extent according to circumstances: Salvation, Sin, Repentance, Hell, Death, Judgment, Heaven — with special instructions on matrimony, temperance. Chris- tian education, etc. The instructions deal also with the essentials of the sacrament of penance, certain commandments of Ciod and of the Church, Holy Com- munion, the Mass, devotion to the Blessed Virgin, prayer, duties of parents and children, etc. The style of these instructions is simple and didactic.

Aekt:^ ss. Thenhgia Pastoralis (Paderborn, 1901), 31,257-60; TlT.MiSGF.n. Paxloratt/ifoloffie (Freiburg im Br., 1893), 526-28; Thf-il. prakl. Quartalschrift (1891), 814: (1892). 55.317; Bobs, Die Vt>lk.---tnissionen ein Bediirfniss unseTcr Zeii (Schafhausen, 1S51): IIUFNER, Volksmis.tionen und Misnonserneuerung (Dul- men i. W., 1910); K.vssiepe, Dit Volksmission (Paderborn, 1909); HiLARioN, Le Missionaire, ou Vart def mif^sions (Paria, 1879); Boyle, S(. Vincent de Paul and the Vincentians m Irer land. Scotland and England, A. D. 1618-1909 (London, 1909); Iri!,hEccl. Record i3rd S.), XVI, 577-92; XVII, 417-26; Am. Ecel. Reriew. XI (1894), 81-111, 161-219; Bougaud, History oj SI. Vincent de Paul. tr. Bhady (2 vols.. New York, 1899). .See also the biographiea of Sts. Alphonsus Liguori, Philip Neri, .lohn of the Ooss, Dominic, Francis, Ignatius Lo- yola, etc.

Joseph Schhoeder.

Mississippi, one of the United States of America, takes its name from the Mississippi River that forms its western boundary from 35° to 31° N. lat. The Act of Congress of 1 March, 1817, creating the state, fixed its boundaries as follows: "Beginning on the Missis- sippi River at a point where the southern boundary of the State of Tennessee strikes the same, thence east along the said boundary line to the Tennessee River, thence up the same to the mouth of Bear Creek, thence by a direct line to the north-west corner of the Coimty of Washington, thence due south to the Gulf of Mex- ico, thence westwardly, including all of the islands within six leagues of the shore, to the most eastern junction of Pearl River with Lake Borgne, thence up said River to the thirty-first degree of North latitude, thence west along said degree of latitude to the Missis- sippi River, thence up the same to the beginning." The state in its extreme length is 330 miles; its great- est width is 188 miles; its area 46,340 square miles. It has a coast-line on the Gulf of Mexico of about 75 miles. By government surveys begun in 1803, the state is divided into sections and townships.

Topography. — It contains no mountains, but there is a decided difference of levels between the alluvial lands lying between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers and the other sections of the state, which may be gen- erally characterized as the uplands of the state. The latter comprise approximately five-sixths of the entire area of the state, constituting a plateau of an undulat- ing character, the level of which gently descends in a general southerly direction to the coast. Its general elevation above the level of the Gulf of Mexico near the coast-line is about 150 feet, and the middle north- em and north-eastern portions are from about 150 to 500 and 600 feet above the level of the Gulf of Mexico. The drainage on the west is the Mississippi River and its principal tributaries the Yazoo, Tallahatchie, Cold- water, Sunflower, Big Black, and Womochitto Rivers; in the middle part the Pearl, which empties into Lake Borgne, and in the eastern part, the Tombigbee River, the Chicksawha River, and the Escatawpa River, and in the south the Wolf, Pascagoula, Biloxie, Abolochitto, and Catahoula Rivers. The upland sections of the state are undulating, and successive ridges divide the area between the water courses. The north-eastern portion contains a large area of prairie formation which overlies a cretaceous sub-stratum, commonly known as rotten limestone. The middle comprises a large area of uplands with a sub-stratum of clay for-