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Sunday, April 15, 2012

On the Centennial Anniversary of the Sinking of The Titanic

From The Little White Book (Six Minute Reflections on the Sunday Gospels of Easter (Year B), based on the writing of the late Bishop Ken Untener (1937-2004) and edited by Catherine Haven of the Diocese of Saginaw, MI (2011), we read the following:

"On April 9, 1912, the Titanic spent its last full day in Southhampton, England, having taken aboard 75,000 pounds of fresh meat, 1,750 quarts of ice cream, 6,000 tons of coal, and 2,200 passengers  and crew.

But Fr. Ralph Kotheimer was not on board.

Some years earlier, Kotheimer, a young seminarian from Youngstown, Ohio, had been sent by his bishop to study theology in Mainz, Germany. After completing his studies, he was ordained a priest there on March 4, 1912.

For his return home, he had booked passage on the Titanic. Before boarding, he checked to see if he could celebrate Mass privately each day of the voyage. Permission was denied.

Although he had looked forward to sailing on the maiden voyage of this magnificent new ship, Fr. Kotheimer decided to give up his place and booked passage on the Rhyndam.

It was only when he landed in the United States that the young priest learned of the Titanic disaster. He went directly to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York to celebrate Mass---his first on U.S. soil---and to ask God's blessings for those who lost their lives aboard the ship he was supposed to be on.

April 14, 1912, 100 years ago, the Titanic hit an iceberg. The ship sank the next day, today, killing over 1,500 of the people on board."

Now, from a Catholic perspective, here's my simple yet perplexing, or thought-provoking question/s: Would it matter if Fr. Kotheimer, the young priest, was given permission to hear/celebrate Mass on board the Titanic? Would that fatal catastrophe have been avoided or never happened with Fr. Kotheimer's blessings and prayers? (Out of the 2,200 passengers, how many were Catholic Christians who could have prayed with Fr. Kotheimer?) We don't know, do we? Divine intervention, possibly? But, it happened. The so-called "unsinkable" ship, RMS Titanic, sank! One hundred years ago today. We, therefore, pray for the lost souls, the departed passengers of the Titanic. May they rest in peace. Amen!

As always, thanks YouTube and the uploaders of the videos I embedded with this blog post. Thank you, Google and Blogger, and all people of goodwill. May your tribe increase! Thank you God. Thank you, Jesus!

Until next time around, folks. Take care and have a blessed day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 15April2012

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