Archive for October 28, 2016

Feast of Maude Dominica Petre (December 16)   Leave a comment

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Above:  Churchyard, St. Mary the Virgin Church, Storrington, England

Image Source = http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/869758

Copyright Holder = Slbs

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MAUDE DOMINICA PETRE (AUGUST 4, 1863-DECEMBER 16, 1942)

Roman Catholic Modernist Theologian

Maude Dominica Petre was a faithful Christian and a champion of intellectual freedom.

Our saint, born on August 4, 1863, was a native of Margaretting, Essex, England.  She grew up in a Roman Catholic family.  Petre, at the age of 22 years, followed her confessor’s advice regarding how best to deal with her religious doubts to studying the works of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy, for a year.  Later, in 1890, she joined the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, a relatively liberal order.  Six years later Petre became a local superior in the order.  In 1900 she rose to the position of provincial.

Modernism was controversial within the Roman Catholic Church.  In 1907 Pope Pius X issued the encyclical Lamentabili Sane, in which he condemned the philosophy as heretical.  Since 1900 Petre had been a friend and ally of George Tyrrell (1861-1909), a Modernist, mystic, and Jesuit theologian expelled from the Society of Jesus in 1906.  The following year she published Catholicism and Independence:  Being Studies in Spiritual Liberty.  The order expelled her and the Church excommunicated her.  Our saint’s two-volume biography (1912) of Tyrrell found a place on the Index of Forbidden Books immediately.

Petre always considered herself a faithful Roman Catholic, despite her problems with the Vatican.  She died in London on December 16, 1942, aged 79 years.  Her burial occurred in the same Anglican cemetery as that of Tyrrell; Roman Catholic officials forbade burial in a Catholic cemetery.

I am convinced that no honest theological question should ever be off-limits to any person.  God, I affirm, takes no offense at sincere questions and doubts.  Indeed, working through doubts and questions is one way of arriving at truth.  This is my preferred method of doing so.

Because I said so

is not a sufficient reason from any ecclesiastical authority to a question of theology.  On the other hand, as one who puts theological propositions to the test routinely understands well, there are truths; they survive the most vigorous human attempts to challenge and disprove them.

Petre understood these principles well.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom, and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Maude Dominica Petre,

and we pray that by her teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth

we have in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

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Feast of Blessed Filip Siphong Onphithakt (December 16)   Leave a comment

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Above:  Map of the Germane Region of Thailand

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED FILIP SIPHONG ONPHITHAKT (SEPTEMBER 7, 1907-DECEMBER 16, 1940)

Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr in Thailand

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,

Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) stated.  He was correct.  More specifically, an appeal to national security has frequently become a justification for engaging in immoral actions.  In the case of the saints listed in this post, the context was the (Vichy) Franco-Thai War (1940-1941), during which Thai police forces in the vicinity of French Indochina persecuted Roman Catholics, suspected of being spies for the Vichy French.

Blessed Filip Siphong Onphithakt, born at Nong Seng, Nakhon Phanon, Thailand, on September 7, 1907, became a martyr.  In 1931 he married Marie Thong; the couple had five children.  Our saint, a catechist since 1926, assumed the leadership of his parish in Songkhon village in 1940, when persecution of Christians by police forced the priest to depart.  Onphithakt protested this persecution.  In December 1940 police summoned him to their headquarters at Mukhadon.  Our saint answered that summons.  He was en route when police ambushed, tortured, and murdered him at Muang Phaluka Phanom.

Ten days later police shot, killed, and martyred six nuns.  They were:

  1. Blessed Akatha Phutta Bi (born in 1882),
  2. Blessed Agnes Phila (born in 1909),
  3. Blessed Bibiana Khamphai (born on November 4, 1925),
  4. Blessed Cecilia Butsi (born on December 16, 1924),
  5. Blessed Lucie Khambang (born on December 22, 1917), and
  6. Blessed Maria Phon (born on January 6, 1929).

These martyrs had disobeyed police orders to cease speaking of Jesus.

Pope John Paul II declared the Seven Martyrs of Thailand venerable on September 1, 1988.  He beatified them on October 22, 1989.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of the Seven Martyrs of Thailand,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross, and give us courage

to bear full witness with our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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Feast of Ralph Adams Cram, Richard Upjohn, and John LaFarge, Sr. (December 16)   1 comment

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Above:  Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, New York

Image Source = Detroit Publishing Company

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a24588

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RALPH ADAMS CRAM (DECEMBER 16, 1863-SEPTEMBER 22, 1942)

Architect

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RICHARD UPJOHN (JANUARY 22, 1802-AUGUST 16, 1878)

Architect

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JOHN LAFARGE, SR. (MARCH 31, 1835-NOVEMBER 14, 1910)

Painter and Stained Glass Window Maker

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Art, including architecture, murals, and stained glass windows, can add much to the atmosphere of a space devoted to the worship of God.  The legacies of these three saints attest to this reality.

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Ralph Adams Cram, born at Hampton Falls, Massachusetts, on December 16, 1863, became an architect.  His mother was Sarah Elizabeth Cram and his father was the Reverend William Augustine Cram, a Transcendentalist.  Our saint, educated in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, left for Boston at the age of 18 years.  There he joined the architectural firm of Rotch and Tilden, where he worked for five years.  Then, in 1886, Cram traveled to Rome, Italy, to study classical architecture.  At Rome, on Christmas Eve in 1887, our saint had a conversion experience during a Mass.

Cram, who became an Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian, became a founding partner of the firm of Cram and Wentworth in 1889.  (The name of the firm changed over time as partners came and went.)  He originated Collegiate Gothic architecture (such as at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, New York) and advocated for Gothic Revival architecture.  Cram designed churches, libraries, chapels, homes, et cetera.  He also served as the supervising architect at Princeton University from 1907 to 1929, defended Governor Alfred Smith against anti-Roman Catholic attacks in 1928, and led the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for seven years.

Cram married Elizabeth Carrington Read at New Bedford in 1900.  The couple had three children.

Cram died at Boston on September 22, 1942.  He was 78 years old.

Among the structures Cram designed was the building for Calvary Episcopal Church, Americus, Georgia.  It is a lovely edifice complete with a hardwood floor, brick arches, and Tiffany glass.  I know this structure, upon which people have expanded gracefully over time, fairly well, for I have attended services there during visits to Americus since 2006.  Unfortunately, as of late 2016, the structure is in peril due to the forces of “progress,” that is, the proposed replacement of the bridge (over railroad tracks) adjacent to the church building.

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Richard Upjohn, born at Shaftesbury, England, on January 22, 1802, also became an important architect in time.  At first, however, he was an apprentice to a builder and a cabinet-maker.  Then our saint worked as a mechanic.  In 1829 the family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts.  Four years later they relocated to Boston, Massachusetts.  There Upjohn became an architect.  He naturalized as an American citizen in 1836.

Upjohn was an influential architect.  He favored Gothic revival architecture and helped to originate the Carpenter Gothic style.  Our saint also helped to found the American Institute of Architects in 1857 and served as its President from 1857 to 1876.  Upjohn, based in New York City starting in 1839, designed homes, public buildings (such as the state capitol building in Hartford, Connecticut), and churches (especially Episcopal ones).  Notable examples of his church work were St. John’s Church in Bangor, Maine, and Trinity Church, Wall Street, New York City.

Upjohn died at home, in Garrison, New York, on August 16, 1878.  He was 76 years old.

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John LaFarge, Sr., born at New York, New York, on March 31, 1835, became a painter and a stained glass window maker.  Our saint, a Roman Catholic, came from a wealthy family of French origin.  Initially he studied law at Fordham University, but, after visiting Paris in 1856, he changed his major and became an artist.

LaFarge, who studied under painter William Morris Hunt (1824-1879) in Newport, Rhode Island, painted scenes from the Bible and classical mythology.  He also studied Japanese art, illustrated works of Robert Browning and Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and, in 1890-1891, traveled and painted in the South Pacific Ocean.  LaFarge also taught painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Schools, New York City.  Then, from 1899 to 1904, he served as the President of the National Society of Mural Painters.

LaFarge painted murals and created stained class windows for churches, homes, and public buildings.  For example, he painted murals for Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts; the Church of the Ascension, New York City; St. Paul’s Chapel, New York City; and the state capitol building, St. Paul, Minnesota.  LaFarge also created stained glass windows for libraries, various churches, and the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina.

LaFarge married Margaret Mason Perry (1839-1925) on October 15, 1860.  The couple had eight children.  Among them was John LaFarge, Jr. (1888-1963), a Jesuit priest and a vocal opponent of racism and anti-Semitism.  Two other sons became architects.

LaFarge died at Providence, Rhode Island, on November 14, 1910.  He was 78 years old.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Gracious God, we thank you for the vision of Ralph Adams Cram, John LaFarge and Richard Upjohn,

whose harmonious revival of the Gothic enriched our churches with a

sacramental  understanding of reality in the face of secular materialism;

and we pray that we may honor your gifts of the beauty of holiness given through them,

for the glory of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.

2 Chronicles 6:12-20

Psalm 118:19-29

Ephesians 2:17-22

Matthew 7:24-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 123

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Updated on December 25,  2016

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Feast of John Horden (December 15)   Leave a comment

john-horden-memorial

Above:  John Horden Memorial

Image Source = Oceanflynn

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JOHN HORDEN (JANUARY 20, 1828-JANUARY 12, 1893)

Anglican Bishop of Moosonee

Canadian feast day = January 12

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John Horden proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Cree people.

Horden was English by birth.  He, born on January 20, 1828, was a native of Exeter.  His parents were Sarah Seward and William Holden (a printer).  Our saint grew up in the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, Exeter, and attended the Vicar’s Bible Class.  There he became interested in foreign missions.  The Church Missionary Society initially declined Horden’s application, citing his youth.  In the meantime our saint attended St. John’s School then worked as an apprentice to a blacksmith.  In his spare time the apprentice studied and learned to read Greek and Latin.  Eventually he became a teacher.

The Church Missionary Society accepted Horden’s application on May 10, 1851; 23 years old was not too young.  The Society assigned him to Moose Factory, Rupert’s Land, and advised him to prepare quickly for departure.  On May 28 our saint married his beloved, Elizabeth Baker Oke (1826-1908), a teacher.  Before departing Horden began to study the Cree language.  In June the couple sailed for North America; our saint continued his linguistic studies during the voyage.

The Hordens arrived at Moose Factory, at the southern end of Hudson’s Bay, in August 1851.  John’s duties included teaching the catechism, serving as the superintendent of schools, and reading scripture in services on Sundays.  Elizabeth’s duties included teaching Cree women and serving as the superintendent of girls’ schools.  John also worked among employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company, built a school-house, and repaired a church building.  Our saint, ordained a priest on August 24, 1852, translated the Gospels and The Book of Common Prayer into the Cree language and prepared a Cree-language hymnal.  Our saint, who mastered several indigenous languages, also helped to prepare Inuit-language religious materials.

The Hordens endured hardships and grief.  They had six children, only one of whom lived past infancy.  The couple lived at a remote location, among rugged circumstances, and had to contend with a series of diseases.  Furloughs in England provided some respite from their difficulties, but they spent most of 1851-1893 in Moose Factory and the wilds of Canada.  Horden, consecrated the first Bishop of Moosonee in England on December 15, 1872, tended to his vast diocese.  He founded churches and traveled to visitations, frequently via dog teams in harsh weather.  He also wrote a Cree-language grammar and completed his translation of the Bible into Cree.

Our saint died at Moose Factory, Ontario, on January 12, 1893.  He was 64 years old.

Many of those churches continue to exist.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Creator God, whose hands hold the storehouses of the snow and the gates of the sea,

and from whose Word springs forth all that is:

We bless your holy Name for the intrepid witness of your missionary John Horden,

who followed your call to serve the Cree and Inuit nations of the North.

In all the places we travel, may we, like him, proclaim the Good News

and draw all into communion with you through your Christ;

who with you and the Holy Spirit; who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.

Numbers 10:29-36

Psalm 107:35-43

Acts 6:1-7

Luke 5:1-11

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 119

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Feast of Robert McDonald (December 14)   Leave a comment

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Above:  The Flag of the Northwest Territories

Image in the Public Domain

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ROBERT MCDONALD (NOVEMBER 7, 1829-AUGUST 29, 1913)

Anglican Priest and Missionary 

His feast transferred from August 30 (the Anglican Church of Canada) and December 15 (The Episcopal Church)

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Robert McDonald was of Scottish and Ojibwa ancestry.  He, born at Point Douglas, Manitoba, on November 7, 1829, was a son of Neil McDonald and Ann Logan.  Until the age of 15 years our saint attended Red River Academy.  Then, for four years, he worked on the family farm.  At age 19 McDonald began to teach at Norway House, a Methodist mission.  Later he studied at St. John’s College.

McDonald became an Anglican missionary among the indigenous people of British North America (later Canada).  He, ordained to the diaconate on December 15, 1852, became a priest the following June.  In October 1853 our saint took charge of Islington Mission, on the Winnipeg River.  At Islington Mission McDonald began to translate the Bible, focusing on the minor prophets at first.

In 1862 the Church Missionary Society convinced our saint to found a mission at Fort Yukon (in Alaska after the settlement of a border dispute in 1872).  He worked among members of the Tinjiyzoo Nation, translated works from English into Tudukh (a dialect of Gwitch’in), discovered gold in the Yukon, and became the first missionary in the Klondike region.  In 1872 McDonald relocated to Fort McPherson, on the Peel River, in the Northwest Territories.  There he remained until his retirement, in 1904.

Our saint’s partner in life, love, and ministry, starting on November 7, 1876, was Julia Kuttag, a Gwich’in.  The couple had nine children.  Husband and wife translated the Bible and The Book of Common Prayer into Tudukh.  They also prepared a Tudukh hymnal.  McDonald shared the translations freely with Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox priests.  He also baptized more than 2000 people.

McDonald retired from the Church Missionary Society in 1904 and moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba.  In retirement he prepared a grammar and dictionary (1911) of the Tudukh dialect, having already developed the alphabet for that tongue.  Our saint died at Winnipeg on August 29, 1913.  He was 84 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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God of ice, sea and sky, you called your servant Robert McDonald

and made him strong to endure all hardships for the sake of serving you in the Arctic:

Send us forth as laborers into your harvest, that by patience in our duties

and compassion in our dealings, many may be gathered to your kingdom;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you

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

Isaiah 66:18-23

Psalm 57:4-11

1 Thessalonians 1:2-8

Luke 9:1-6

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 121

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Feast of Samuel Johnson (December 13)   6 comments

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Above:  Samuel Johnson

Image in the Public Domain

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SAMUEL JOHNSON (SEPTEMBER 18, 1709-DECEMBER 13, 1784)

“The Great Moralist”

With this post I add a second Samuel Johnson to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  The other Samuel Johnson, his contemporary, was an American, a convert from Congregationalism to Anglicanism, the creator of a system of organizing library books, and a president of what became Columbia University, New York, New York.  Both Samuel Johnsons, I write without fear of contradiction, enrich this calendar of saints’ days and holy days.

Page 16 of Common Worship:  Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000) lists December 13 as the date to recall the life of “Samuel Johnson, Moralist, 1784.”

The Great Moralist, also an essayist, literary critic, poet, translator, and influential lexicographer, came from Lichfield, England.  There he entered the world on September 7, 1709 (Julian Calendar)/September 18, 1709 (Gregorian Calendar).  His mother was Sarah Ford, an Anglican with Calvinist leanings.  She taught her son to memorize the collect for the day.  Our saint’s father was Michael Johnson, a bookseller and, at the time of Samuel’s birth, the Sheriff of Lichfield.  Michael was also a High Anglican with Jacobite sympathies.  The family was not prosperous.  That fact created much stress in Samuel’s life, as did his persistent bad health.

Johnson became well-educated.  The informal part of his education occurred at home and at his father’s bookstore.  The young bookworm read many books at his father’s place of business.  He also attended Lichfield grammar school (1717-1728) and Pembroke College, Oxford (1728-1729).  The Great Moralist had to drop out of college for medical and financial reasons, but his informal education continued.  Eventually he received two honorary doctorates–from Dublin University (1765) and Oxford (1775), hence “Doctor Johnson.”

Johnson became an educator.  In 1731 he accepted the position of undermaster of the Market Bosworth Grammar School, Leicestershire.  Four years later our saint married Elizabeth “Tetty” Potter, a widow 20 years his senior.  They remained married until she died in 1752.  In 1735 Johnson founded a boarding school at Lichfield.  He led that institution and taught Greek and Latin there until the school closed after two years of operation.

Then Johnson relocated to London.  He had already begun to compose and translate works.  Our saint had also contributed to the Gentleman’s Magazine, founded in 1732.  In London, starting in 1737 and continuing for years, Johnson picked up the pace of his literary efforts, which included poems and satirical prose.  Some of the writing was political.  Although our saint was no Jacobite, he was critical of governments during the Georgian Age.  The Dictionary of the English Language (1755), the basis of many subsequent dictionaries, set him on the road to financial security.  His education of Shakespeare (1765) also proved to be a classic.

Johnson was a High Anglican influenced by Greek stoicism.  [Stoicism (frequently misunderstood by many) recognized the difference between those things we can change and those we cannot change.  It is actually an optimistic philosophy, one which teaches a person to delight in the pleasure of life and to refrain from fretting about not doing what one cannot do.]  The basis of our saint’s faith was an understanding of human sinfulness and the necessity of redemption by Jesus Christ.  Johnson, who tolerated Roman Catholicism at a time when that attitude was frequently unpopular, did not hide his dislike of Calvinism.  His Prayers and Meditations debuted in print posthumously in 1785.

Johnson was neurotic and he knew it.  He was prone to melancholy and indolence.  Our saint also knew how to overcome these weaknesses:  surround himself with people.  Johnson’s household included the following, among others:

  1. Robert Levett, a doctor who tended to poor people;
  2. Francis Barber, a former African slave, whose education he financed; and
  3. Anna Williams.

She was the daughter of Zechariah Williams, with whom Johnson had written Longitude at Sea (1755).  Anna visited our saint at his home for years before moving in.  Eventually she went blind and he took care of her until she died in 1783.

Johnson, a loyal subject, supported his government’s position during the American Revolutionary period.  His Taxation No Tyranny (1775) argued that colonists should pay their taxes dutifully.

Johnson died at Lichfield on December 13, 1784.  He was 75 years old.  His legacy has remained impressive and instructive.  For example, his reminder that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” has been relevant for a long time.  Johnson also elevated the tone of debates and the quality of arguments, for his intellectualism and manner forced his debating partners to improve their cases, to prepare to argue as effectively as possible against him.

The world needs more people of the caliber of Dr. Samuel Johnson.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Samuel Johnson 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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