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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/784

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NATIONAL


71-2


NATIVITY


Though not of the Jewish race, it is probable that the Nathineiins learned and practised the Jewish rehgion. Nehemias (II Esd., x, 28) classes them with those who were separated from the people to serve the law of God, but according to the Talmud they were a despised cliiss and were debarred from con- tracting marriage with Jewish women. They were carried into eu|)tivity with the others by Nabucho- donosor, and according to Ksdnis, 612 of them (in- cluding those called "the children of the servants of Solomon") returned to Palestine: 392 with Zorobabel (I Esd., ii, 43-58; II Esd., vii, 47-60), and 220 with Esdras eighty years later (I Esd., viii, 20). After the return the Nathincans lived most Ukely as they had pre\dously under the monarchy, some in the levitical cities (I Esd., ii, 70; II Esd., vii, 73), during the periods when they were not detailed for service in the Temple, the others in Jerusalem, where, as Nehemias informs us (II Esd., iii, 26, xi, 21), they inhabited the Ophel quarter, i. e. in the southeast part of the city, and near the gate leading to the fountain now known as the fountain of the Virgin. From this they drew the water of which copious use was made in the sacrificial and other sacred functions. They had officers chiefly chosen from among their own ranks (II Esdr., xi, 21; cf. I Esd., ii, 43; II Esd., vii, 47). Like the priests and le\'ites they were exempted from taxation by the Persian rulers (I Esd., vii, 24). No mention or trace of the Nathineans appears in the New Testament.

VicouROUx in Diet, de la Bible, a. v.. Nalhineens: Humme- LAt'ER, CoTnmentarius in Librum primum Paralipomenon (Paris, 1903), 350 aqq.

James F. Dbiscoll.

National Union, Catholic Young Men's. — This association was organized on 22 February, 1875, at a meeting held in Newark, New Jersey, at the call of Very Rev. George H. Doane, who became its first president. It includes about one hundred organiza- tions, representing an estimated aggregate of about 30,000 persons and extends as far west as Mankato, Miimesota. Its objects are the furtherance of practical unity, the spiritual, intellectual, moral, and physical advancement of Catholic youth, and the development of better citizens and Catholics. The means princi- pally relied upon are: the conscientious practice and profession, individually and collectively, of the Cath- olic religion; the establishment and promotion of Catholic young men's associations, libraries, reading- rooms, and gj'mnasiums ; fraternal unity between all or- ganizations aiming in whatever way at the promotion of the Union's objects; mutual assistance and enlight- enment; maintenance and conduct of an athletic league giving special attention to boys of the parochial schools; dissemination of .selected courses in reading among Catholic literary circles; courses of lectures to Catholic young men's as.sociations, and securing to organizations of the National Union the privilege of having their own members received as guests by the other organizations of the Union. Originally, delegates met annually, and did little in the interim but enlist the co-operal ion of other organizations in its work, .■^t the pre.>:(>nt time, it is engaged in various works, which are conducted largely through diocesan iinions performing the National Union's functions within their respective districts.

In 1878 the National Union inaugurated the move- ment for obtaining appointments of a greater num- ber of Catholic chaplains to the army and navy — a movement which was entirely successful. At about the same time, it began the agitation to secure recog- nition of the religious rights of the Indians. At the convention of 1879, the establishment of coloured literary societies, free night-schools, the fostering of a more general activity among young men in teaching Sunday-school, and the establishment of a lecture bureau were among the questions discussed; byl8S3


much had been done along these lines. In 1883 the Third Plenary Council of iialtimore, in the Pastoral Letter of the Bishops and Archbishops, says of the work of the National Union; "We consider as worthy of particular encouragement associations for the pro- motion of healthful social union among Catholics, and especially tho.se who.se aim is to guard our Catholic young Mii'n against dangerous influences, and to supply them with the means of innocent annisement and mental culture. And in order to aiknowledge the great amount of good that the Catholic '^'oung iNIen's National Union has already accomplislied, to promote the growth of the L'nion, and to stimulate its mem- bers to greater efforts in the future, we cordially bless their aims and endeavours, and we recommend the Union to all our Catholic young men."

The Catholic Summer School at Plattsburg, New York, is a direct outgrowth of the National Union, plans for its establishment having been discussed and approved at the conventions, and carried into effect by Warren E. Mosher, the secretary of the National Union at the time, and the founder of the Summer School. The National Union has also furthered the cause of education by contributing to the endowment funds of the Catholic University of America.

At the convention of 1906, held in New York City, a committee was appointed to prepare a plan of re- organization, which plan was reported and adopted at the convention of 1907 held at Elizabeth, New Jersey. Under the original organization it had al- ways been required that, the president and first vice- president should he clcigynien; this was no%v changed, the various departments of the Union were organized on a business basis, the athletic work was systema- tized by establishing the Catholic Amateur Athletic League, a branch of the National LInion with complete control over all athletic affairs of the LTnion, and a complete and efficient literary and lecture system was instituted.

It was only in this year that a proper plan was devdsed for the continuation of the activity of the Union between conventions. The reorganization also created the office of the spiritual director, who is practically the senior officer of the National Union, and is supreme in all matters affecting faith and morals. The National Union has always been con- ducted by voluntary effort, but its activities have now grown to such an extent that they require an efficient salaried force, for which purpose an adequate endow- ment fund is now being raised.

W. C. Sullivan.

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Feast of THE. — The earliest document commemorating this feast comes from the sixth century. St. Komanus, the great ecclesiastical lyrist of the Greek Church, composed for it a hymn (Card. Pitra, "Hymnogr. Grifica", Paris, 1876, 199) which is a poetical sketch of the apocryphal Gospel of St. James. St . Romanus was a native of Emesa in Syria, deacon of Berytus and later on at the Blacherna; church in Constantinople, and composed his hymns between 53(3-556 (P. Mails in "Byzant. Zeitschrift", 1906). The feast may have originated somewhere in Syria or Palestine in the be- ginning of the sixth century, when after the Council of Ephesus, under the influence of the "Apocrypha", the cult of the Mother of God was greatly intensified, es- pecially in Syria. St. Andrew of Crete in the begin- ning of the eighth century preached several sermons on this feast (Lucius- Anrich, "Anfiinge des Heifigen- kultus", Tubingen, 1906, 468). Evidence is wanting to show why the eighth of September was chosen for its date. The Church of Rome adopted it in the seventh century from the East; it is found in the Ge- lasian (seventh cent.) and the Gregorian (eighth to ninth cent.) Sacramcntaries. Sergius I (687-701) prescribed a litany and procession for this feast (P-