Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice (May 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED EDMUND IGNATIUS RICE (JUNE 1, 1762-AUGUST 29, 1844)

Founder of the Institute of the Brothers of Christian Schools of Ireland and the Congregation of Presentation Brothers

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Let us do ever so little for God; we will be sure He will never forget it, nor let it pass unrewarded.

–Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice

 

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Two orders of men date their founding to 1802 and to Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice, an Irish Roman Catholic businessman who devoted much of his life to educating poor children.  Rice, born at Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland, on June 1, 1762, was a son of Robert and Margaret Rice.  He attended a technically illegal Catholic school.  In 1779 Rice went to work for his uncle, an importer and exporter, at Waterford.  After the uncle died Rice became the sole proprietor.  He, a wealthy man, belonged to a local society devoted to helping the poor.  Yet our saint wanted to do more.

There were practical considerations, however.  Rice was a widower.  His wife, Mary Elliott, whom he had married in 1785, had died in 1789, leaving our saint to raise a newborn and mentally handicapped daughter.  There was also the fact that Rice, who was earning much money, could use those funds for holy purposes.  Was this not better than entering an order and taking a vow of poverty?  That was the counsel of more than person in 1794.  Rice remained a merchant until  1800, after which he began to found schools and religious orders.

Rice opened his first school (legally) at Waterford in 1802.  Thus his second phase of life and work began.  He and a group of men made vows as Presentation Brothers, subject to local bishops.  With Papal recognition in 1820 Rice’s order changed.  Continuing Presentation Brothers remained subject to local bishops while Rice transferred Christian Brothers across diocesan boundaries.  Our saint, an advocate for the rights of widows and orphans, retired as Superior General of the Christian Brothers in 1838, due to ill health.  He died, aged  82 years, at Waterford, on August 29, 1844.  At the time the Christian Brothers were present in Ireland, England, and Australia.

Pope John Paul II declared Rice a Venerable in 1993 then a Blessed three years later.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 21, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHEW THE EVANGELIST, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

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O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired

by the devotion of your servant Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722

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Feast of Friedrich von Hugel (May 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Baron Friedrich von Hugel

Image in the Public Domain

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BARON FRIEDRICH MARIA ALOYS FRANZ KARL VON HÜGEL (MAY 5, 1852-JANUARY 27, 1925)

Roman Catholic Independent Scholar and Philosopher

Baron Friedrich von Hügel was a paradox.  He was, on one hand, a theological modernist–not a bad kind of person to be, especially in the light of deepening knowledge of science and the past.  On the other hand, von Hügel was simultaneously a by-the-book Roman Catholic who did not permit himself to express doubts regarding church teachings.  He should have been more critical.

Von Hügel, born at Florence, Tuscany (where his father was an ambassador), on May 5, 1852, grew up in a devout Roman Catholic family.  His father, Karl von Hügel (1795-1870), was an explorer and an Austrian diplomat.  The family relocated to England in 1867.  Three years later, while in Vienna, our saint, due to ill health, had to abandon his program of studying law.  This prompted a spiritual crisis, followed by a conversion experience.

Von Hügel, independently wealthy, worked as an independent scholar and philosopher.  In 1873 he married Lady Mary Herbert (daughter of Sidney Herbert, Lord Herbert of Lea).  The couple resided at London for the rest of their lives.  Our saint, a champion of theological Modernism, met Alfred Loisy (1857-1940) in Paris in 1884.  The two men collaborated and built a network of Roman Catholic Modernists.  Nevertheless, von Hügel was more conservative than the eventually excommunicated Loisy, who lamented that Christ had promised us the Kingdom of God and all we got was the Church.  (Loisy did have something of a valid point.)  Von Hügel, who considered the Roman Catholic Church to be overly centralized, refused to express doubts regarding official teachings.  He was a Modernist in the sense that he shifted emphases, thereby implicitly abandoning the dogmatic tradition of Roman Catholicism.  Pope (now Saint) Pius X’s anti-Modernist encyclical of 1907 devastated von Hügel, who quietly fell in line, sort of.

The variety of Modernism von Hügel embraced post-encyclical was

a permanent, never quite finished, always sooner or later, more or less, re-beginning set of attempts to express the old Faith and its permanent truths and helps–to interpret it according to what appears the best and most abiding elements in the philosophy and the scholarship and the science of the later and latest times.  Such work never ceases for long, and to it I shall try to contribute my little share.

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), page 199

After the encyclical of 1907 von Hügel switched his focus of study to mysticism and spirituality.  The masterpiece from the latter portion of his life was The Mystical Element of Religion (two volumes, 1923), focusing on St. Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510).

Our saint, in the realm of his own spirituality, remained devout to the end.  He went to confession weekly, prayed the rosary, and regularly spent hours at a time in devotion before the Blessed Sacrament.

Von Hügel, aged 72 years, died on January 27, 1925.

I have a complicated relationship with Roman Catholicism.  I find much in it that is commendable yet much that I dislike.  The combination of my United Methodist upbringing and my inherent quasi-Catholic predisposition does much to explain this.  I am, simply put, too Protestant to be a Roman Catholic and too Roman Catholic to be a Protestant.  Certainly I reject the propositions that the Bible and Holy Mother Church are infallible.  I, a practicing Episcopalian, am content to remain one while questioning teachings of many denominations, including my own, which, fortunately, lacks a magisterium.

Thus von Hügel interests me.  As much as I respect his piety and intellectual inquiry, his attachment to a centralized authority (the Papacy) in a church he considered to be excessively centralized is alien to my way of thinking and being.  Although I am an orderly person Anglican-style theological diversity appeals to me.  I prefer some degree of chaos to rigid, enforced orthodoxy.  Yes, I understand the difference between the Roman Catholicism of 1870-1965 and that since Vatican II.  Yes, I prefer post-Vatican II Roman Catholicism, folk masses and Marty Haugen‘s schlocky music not withstanding.  Yet Holy Mother Church insists that I, as one of the “separated brethren,” lack the fullness of the faith.  At least that official position is more generous than the one it replaced.

My reservations aside, von Hügel is a fine addition to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  I wonder how much he would have thrived in the more open intellectual and theological climate to Roman Catholicism since Vatican II.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 21, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHEW THE EVANGELIST, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Friedrich von Hügel and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Blessed Jean-Martin Moye (May 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Jean-Martin Moyë 

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED JEAN-MARTIN MOYË (JANUARY 27, 1730-MAY 4, 1783)

Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary to China, and Founder of the Sisters of Divine Providence and the Christian Virgins

Blessed Jean-Martin Moyë did much to share the light of Christ.  He, born at Cutting, Lorraine, France, on January 27, 1730, was the sixth of thirteen children of Jean Moyë and Catherine Demange Moyë.  Our saint studied the classics at the College of Pont-à-Mousson and philosophy at the Jesuit College of Strasbourg.  Then he attended the Seminary of St. Simon, Metz.  Moyë, a priest since 1754, served at Metz, functioning as a spiritual director.  He founded the first of number of schools for rural children in 1763.  This led to the founding of the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1767.  Later that year Moyë became the Superior of the seminary at St. Dié.

Moyë had long desired to become a missionary.  Thus, in 1769, he joined the Séminaire des Missions Etrangères at Paris.  He was in China from 1773 to 1784.  He, frequently persecuted and imprisoned, founded the Christian Virgins in 1782.  The purposes of this order of women were to care for the sick and to teach the faith to women and children in homes.  Our saint, exhausted, returned to France in 1784.  There he resumed his role as director of the Sisters of Divine Providence and preached missions in Alsace and Lorraine.

Then the anti-clericism of the French Revolution took its toll.  In 1791 Moyë and Sisters went into exile in Trier.  After French soldiers captured the city typhoid fever broke out.  Our saint and Sisters worked in hospitals at that time.  Moyë thereby contracted typhoid fever, of which he died, aged 63 years, on May 4, 1793.

Pope Leo XIII declared Moyë a Venerable in 1891.  Pope Pius XII beatified our saint in 1954.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 21, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHEW THE EVANGELIST, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Blessed Jean-Martin Moyë,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Blessed Ceferino Jimenez Malla (May 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Ceferino Jimenez Malla

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED CEFERINO JIMENEZ MALLA (AUGUST 26, 1861-AUGUST 9, 1936)

Spanish Romani Martyr

Alternative feast day = August 2

Blessed Ceferino Jimenez Malla, also known as El Pele, or “the Strong One,” became the first venerated Gypsy in 1996 then the first beatified Romani the following year.

Our saint, born into a poor family at Fraga, Spain, on August 26, 1861, remained illiterate throughout his life yet became a prosperous businessman at Barbastro, Spain.  He, baptized as an adult, was a devout Roman Catholic.  He, a city councilman, a eucharistic minister, and a leader of rosary prayers, inspired (by his won piousness, such as efforts to improve relations between Romani and non-Gypsies) others to be on their best behavior around him.  Jimenez Malla married Teresa Jimenez Castro in 1912.  The couple had no children, but he adopted his niece, Pepita.  Teresa died in 1922.  Our saint, an advisor to his bishop, never remarried; he became a Dominican tertiary in 1926 instead.

Jimenez Malla, who favored reconciliation among diverse groups of people, refused to make peace with injustice.  In July 1936 the 74-year-old saint attempted to protect a local priest from anti-clerical Republican forces.  For this effort our saint became a prisoner at a converted Capuchin monastery.  His captors offered him an opportunity to go free; all he had to do was throw away his rosary and renounce his faith.  Jimenez Malla refused.  On August 9, 1936, a firing squad executed our saint, a bishop, and 11 others at the town cemetery.  Jimenez Malla’s first grave was an unmarked one.  Subsequently people exhumed his corpse and buried him next to his wife.

The life of the Blessed Ceferino Jimenez Malla speaks for itself.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 19, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THOMAS JOHNSON, JOHN DAVY, AND THEIR COMPANIONS, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CHALMERS SMITH, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Ceferino Jimenez Malla boldness to confess

the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 136 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 713

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Feast of Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis (May 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Sherbrooke, Quebec, 1889

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIE-LÉONIE PARADIS (MAY 12, 1840-MAY 3, 1912)

Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family

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Our mission in the Church is to help the priest on the temporal and spiritual planes.  But what it really demands as a supreme witness is for us to love one another and to love all people, not with just any love, but with the love that God wants to give them.  We must therefore repeat without tiring that our principal work is to give love.

–Blessed Marie-Léonie Paradis

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Alodie-Virginie Paradis, also known informally as Élodie, came from a devout Roman Catholic family.  He, born at L’Acadie, Quebec, on May 12, 1840, was the only daughter and the third of six children, four of whom survived to adulthood.  Her parents, Joseph Paradis and Émilie Grégoire Paradis, were two of the rural working poor.

The Church educated our saint, who became an educator.  At the age of nine years she entered a boarding school (at Laprairie) of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame.  Five years later Paradis became a novice in the Congregation of the Holy Cross.  The renamed Sister Marie of Sainte Léonie taught in Varennes, Ville Saint-Laurent, and Saint-Martin de Laval.  Then, in 1862, the order transferred her to New York City, where it had recently accepted responsibility for an orphanage.  Eight years later the order sent Paradis to its novitiate in Indiana.  There she taught French and needlework.  After a brief stay in Lake Linder, Michigan, our saint transferred to Memramcook College in New Brunswick in 1874.  The director of the college was Father Camille Lefebvre, an old family friend who had become a Holy Cross priest.  Our saint’s job was to direct novices and postulants.

On May 31, 1880, the Holy Cross Fathers recognized the new Little Sisters of the Holy Family, focused on the education and spiritual formation of impoverished and illiterate girls.  Paradis led the new order, which Paul LaRocque, Bishop of Sherbrooke, Quebec, approved as an autonomous religious community in 1896.  When Paradis died, not quite 72 years old, at Sherbrooke, on May 3, 1912, the order had 38 foundations in Canada and the United States.

Paradis was a warm-hearted woman who recognized God in everyone she met.  She helped the poor, visited the sick, and emphasized the importance of helping priests.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 1981 then a Blessed in 1984.

Paradis is the patron saint of the Archdiocese of Sherbrooke.

To affirm the dignity of every human being as a bearer of the image of God verbally is easy.  To do so as fully as possible via deeds is challenging, however.  One complicating factor is the reality of disagreements about how best to live that principle; tactics are perhaps the most controversial matter once people have agreed on the purpose.  Sometimes one’s tactics defeat one’s noble intentions.  May we, by grace, have the proper words and deeds.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 19, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THOMAS JOHNSON, JOHN DAVY, AND THEIR COMPANIONS, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CHALMERS SMITH, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved, peace to the troubled, and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Sts. Junia and Andronicus (May 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  Sts. Junia and Andronicus with St. Athanasius of Christianoupolis

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINTS JUNIA AND ANDRONICUS (FIRST CENTURY C.E.)

Missionaries and Martyrs

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Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

–Romans 16:7, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

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Chrysostom, preaching on this passage, saw no difficulty in a woman-apostle; nor need we.

–C. H. Dodd, The Epistle of Paul to the Romans (1932; paperback, 1959), page 241

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Romans 16:7 is the only Biblical reference to these saints.

“Junia” is a female Latin name present in more than 250 inscriptions found in Rome.  Some ancient manuscripts give the name as “Julia” instead.  The main alternative to “Junia,” however, is “Junias,” which is masculine.

I consulted my library of Biblical translations.  The following versions had “Junias”:

  1. American Standard Version,
  2. An American Translation,
  3. Confraternity Version,
  4. Douay-Rheims Version,
  5. The Jerusalem Bible,
  6. The Living Bible,
  7. The New American Bible (1970),
  8. New American Standard Bible,
  9. New American Standard Bible–Updated Edition,
  10. The New English Bible,
  11. The New Jerusalem Bible,
  12. The New Testament in Modern English (J. B. Phillips),
  13. The New Testament in Modern English–Revised Edition (J. B. Phillips),
  14. Nouvelle Version Segond Révisée,
  15. Revised Standard Version,
  16. Revised Standard Version–Catholic Edition,
  17. Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition, and
  18. Revised Standard Version–Second Edition.

The following translations had “Junia”:

  1. Authorised Version/King James Version,
  2. The New American Bible (1986),
  3. The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011),
  4. New King James Version,
  5. The New Revised Standard Version,
  6. The New Revised Standard Version–Catholic Edition, and
  7. The Revised English Bible.

Recognition of St. Junia as female has been part of Christian tradition for a long time.  Origen, St. Jerome, and St. John Chrysostom described the apostle (traveling evangelist) as female.  Since the 600s the Orthodox Church has recognized Sts. Junia and Andronicus (likely married) as missionaries and martyrs who traveled widely.  Some sources have speculated that the two might have been siblings, not spouses.  Nevertheless, St. Paul the Apostle worked with the married couple Sts. Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 28:18, 26 and Romans 16:3).

The probability that Sts. Junia and Andronicus were a married couple is high.  One might conclude that the origin of “Junias” is sexism to a degree that even certain patriarchal ecclesiastical institutions do not stoop.

As of A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016) this feast is new to The Episcopal Church.  The feast is a fine addition to the official calendar and to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Tony Hendra, in Father Joe:  The Man Who Saved My Soul (2004), wrote that Father Joe said that Holy Mother Church had not canonized enough married couples.  That was a valid criticism.

May we then agree with St. Joseph the Hymnographer (816-886), who wrote in praise of Sts. Junia and Andronicus:

With piety we will honor the Bright stars and holy

Apostles Junia and the God-inspired Andronicus.

The Blessed Paul proclaims you both as truly distinguished

Among the Apostles, and blessed in the Church.

–Quoted in A Great Cloud of Witnesses (2016)

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 17, 2017 COMMON ERA

PROPER 19:  THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF HENRY LASCALLES JENNER, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND

THE FEAST OF HILDEGARD OF BINGEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM DALRYMPLE MACLAGAN, ARCHBISHOP OF YORK AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, whose Son, the risen Christ, sent forth your apostles

Andronicus and Junia to proclaim the gospel and extend your reign:

send us forth in your Holy Spirit, that women and men may

minister as one faithful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

in perfect unity, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

1 Samuel 3:1-10

Psalm 63:1-8

Ephesians 4:11-16

Matthew 9:35-38

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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Feast of Sts. Maura and Timothy of Antinoe (May 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of Sts. Maura and Timothy of Antinoe

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINTS MAURA AND TIMOTHY OF ANTINOE

Martyrs, 286

Alternative feast day = September 25

Sts. Maura and Timothy of Antinoe, Egypt, were Christians, newlyweds, and martyrs.  During the reign (284-305) of the Emperor Diocletian Roman authorities arrested or saints, married for 20 days.  The initial strategy was to convince St. Timothy, enduring torture, to talk by threatening to torture St. Maura, in prison, also.  St. Maura, who confessed her faith, had to endure unspeakable torture and mutilation anyway.  St. Timothy refused to satisfy his torturers.  The couple died via crucifixion, facing, each other, for ten days.

The blood of the martyrs waters the church.

That is an old and accurate saying.  One might wonder how much time must pass and how many people must die before tyrants realize that, although they have the power to kill people, they lack the capacity to kill ideas, even in the name of national security.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN STAINER AND WALTER GALPIN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANISTS AND COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF KASPAR BIENEMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JOSIAH IRONS, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; AND HIS DAUGHTER, GENEVIEVE MARY IRONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs Saints Maura and Timothy of Antinoe

triumphed over suffering and were faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember them in thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with them the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 714

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