The National Congress of 1929, from 13 - 17 September, marked the centenary of Catholic Emancipation. On Friday evening, Cardinal Bourne (above) solemnly received the members of the English and Welsh hierarchy (below) at the Cathedral, and led them to the High Altar for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Toleration was a key theme. The homilist at the Opening ceremony on Friday 13 September declared:
The remainder of the Congress seems to have been more specifically devoted to celebrations of the centenary Catholic Emancipation. On Saturday 14 September, there was a great parade of children to celebrate the anniversary. "Coming from all parts of London and its environs" records the Cathedral chronicle, "children walked in their thousands to the Cathedral grounds. Most of them were dressed in white, and no prettier sight could be imagined than the lawn at the side of the Cathedral presented as its green sward was gradually covered with a living sea of white." These children (above) from Poplar, in the east of London, look very dapper. I like especially the 'Long Live the Pope' banner!
The culminating point of the Congress was High Mass celebrated in the Cathedral grounds on Sunday morning, where there was made solemn thanksigiving to God for the Catholic Emancipation Act, and the progress made in the century since. The Archbishopp of Birmingham was the celebrant, with the national hierarchy in attendance. The Cathedral chornicle records, "By a system of loud-speakers, the voices of the celebrant and his minsters, and of the Archbishop of Liverpool, who was chosen to give expresssion to the sentiments which animated all present, were easily heard by all in the grounds, which were full but not uncomfortably crowded."