HEROIC PRIEST'S DEATH.
Father M. Power, S.J., writes to the "Scotsman" --The brief cablegram from New York. 'survivors enthusiastic over Father Byles's final zeal,' is now supplemented by a letter I have just received from Father M'Kenna, of Westcliff, Southbend-on-Sea, Essex. I have worked for a few weeks near Father Byles; Father M'Kenna known him for years.
He writes under date 2nd May:--"Father Byles said Mass on the Titanic on Sunday, 14th April, and preached in English and French, reminding his hearers of the necessity of being provided with spiritual safeguards in case of temptation and danger. He aided in getting the women and children into the boats after he had heard confessions and given absolution. He recited the Rosary, etc., and he twice refused the offer of a place in a boat, saying his duty was to stay on the ship while one soul wanted his ministrations."
Father Byles was a son of the late Rev. A. Holden Byles, formerly minister of Headingley Hill Congregational Church, Leeds, and a nephew of Sir W. P. Byles, M.P. for North Salford.
THE SCOTSMAN - 1912
Extracts from the Diary of Father Patrick McKenna
April 10, 1912: "Titanic" White Star S. S. largest & most luxurious ocean palace yet built, left Southampton with 1300 passengers & 900 crew.
April 15, 1912: News that she collided with Iceberg. Foundered 400 miles from Sable Island off Newfoundland. 860 persons mostly wom + childr. = saved in lifeboats, & about 1500 drowned (in two miles deep) including several millionaires: Awful news confirmed Apl. 16th. Disaster on night of April 14th.
Heroic behavior of Fr. Byles. He said Mass on Sunday 14th for 3' cl. passengers & preached "as in danger of being lost in shipwreck men require & grasp lifebelt to save themselves, so in danger of being lost in spiritual shipwreck in time of temptation we require & should use spiritual lifebelt in shape of prayer & sacraments to save soul." Fr. Byles twiced warned of danger & offered place in boat by sailor. He refused saying his duty was to stay and to minister to others. He heard confessions & gave absolution & said Rosary & sank. Victim to duty & conscience!
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