2 February 1917

Today, however, I was able to offer the Holy Sacrifice in the trenches, my chapel being a dug-out capable of holding ten or a dozen comfortably, but as my congregation numbered forty-six the vacant space was small. How they all managed to squeeze in I cannot say. There was no question of kneeling down, the men simply stood, silently and reverently round the little improvised altar of ammunition boxes; glad as one of them quaintly expressed it ‘glad to have a say in it.’ Surely Our Lord must have been glad also, for every one of the forty-six received Holy Communion and went back to their posts happy at heart and strengthened to face the hardships of these days and nights of cold.

The same afternoon, as I was coming back from my round of the Front Line trench I was caught in a rather heavy ‘strafe’ of the Germans. The point they were shelling was some little distance further on, but quite close to my way home and as splinters were flying about rather abundantly I thought it well to get under cover.

Accordingly, I crawled into a hole in which there were already six men and judging by the look on their faces no one could have been more welcome. ‘Come in Father’, one of them cried, ‘we’re safe now, anyhow.’

Poor fellows, they have such simple, strong faith and reverence for the priest that they would not mind, I think, if all the shells in Prussialand came tumbling into the trench; ‘Isn’t the priest of God with us, what more do you want?’

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