CHICAGO: Sept. 13 – A processional in which the religious of the world were represented marked the opening of the world’s parliament of religions at the Art Institute. It was a processional that had a world of meaning in it; one that would have been impossible not many years ago. Jew marched with Gentile and Catholic marched with Protestant. The religious beliefs of India, of China and Japan were represented, as well as those of the English-speaking nations. All, attired in their priestly robes and wearing the insignia of their office, marched in peace and fellowship to the platform, while the audience rose and cheered to the sight. First came cardinal Gibbons, escorted by President Bonney. Then came Mrs. Potter Palmer and Mrs. Charles Henrotin, representing the board of lady managers, and then the following with their suites:
Archbishop Redwood of New Zealand; Archbishop Dionysius Latas of Zante, Greece; Rev John henry Barrows, of Chicago, Archbishop Feehan; Count A. Bernstorff, of Berlin; Dr. Carl von Bergen, of Sweden; Prof C. N. Chaharar, H. Dharmapala and P. C. Mozoomdar, of India; Rev. Alexander D Mackenzie; Pung Quang Yu, of China; Dr. E G Hirsch of Chicago; Miss Jeane Serahjt and Kjersedji Laugraua, of Bombay; Bishop B.W. Arnett, and Mrs. Laura Ormiston Chant.
Even more inspiring was the scene when the whole vast audience arose and joined in singing “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Blow,” and later when cardinal Gibbons led those of all nations and all religions in recruiting the Lord’s Prayer.
There was not a vacant seat in the hall and the walls were fringed with people standing up when Clarence Eddy took his seat at the organ and played a couple of selections preliminary to the processional with which the proceedings were opened.
President Bonney made the address of welcome. He said they should all give thanks for being able to take part in so grand a congress, one that so fully exemplified peace and progress and which would have so great an influence on the world. He said they all met with the greatest respect for the religions of each other. While all met as men on an equal plane, there was a desire to treat everyone with that formality and courtsey to which his rank in his own church entitiled him. After reviewing the programme of the congress Mr. Bonney welcomed all in the name of the brotherhood of religion.
Rev. John Henry Barrows, chairman of the committee on organization, then addressed the congress. He said that this meeting had become a grand new factor in the history of human race that would never be obliterated. Never before had such a congress been undertaken, and not long ago it would have been deemed impossible to carry it to successful completion. The man who would advance his own faith must first discover the truths in other faiths. He hoped the congress would prove more spiritual and ethical than theological.
After an address of welcome by Archbisop Feehan of Chicago, Cardinal Gibbons spoke. He said that though all did did not agree in matters of faith, there was one platform on which all were united, that was charity, humanity and benevolence. He said he could not impress too strongly on every one that each was his brother’s keeper. That was the whole theory of humanity. If Christ had cried with Cain: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” we would still be walking in darkness.