Archive for November 2016

Feast of St. Scholastica and St. Benedict of Nursia (February 10)   3 comments

central-italy

Above:  Central Italy, 1945

Scanned from the Post-World War II Atlas Supplement to Hammond’s New Era Atlas of the World (1945)

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SAINT SCHOLASTICA (CIRCA 480-543)

Abbess of Plombariola

sister of

SAINT BENEDICT OF NURSIA (CIRCA 480-CIRCA 550)

Abbot of Monte Cassino and Father of Western Monasticism

His feast transferred from July 11

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I created the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days in late July 2009.  At the time I was generally more likely than I am now to follow assigned feast days from official ecclesiastical authorities.  When I started the process of renovating the Ecumenical Calendar recently, I decided to combine certain feasts I had listed separately.  Thus I have merged the feasts of these two saints, a brother and a sister.

Sts. Scholastica and Benedict were foundational figures in Western Christian monasticism.  Unfortunately, few details of their lives have survived.  The twin siblings, natives of Nursia, came from a Christian family that was part of Roman nobility.  The parents dedicated St. Scholastica to God at an early age.  For a long time she lived at her parents’ home before becoming a nun.

St. Benedict became the Father of Western Monasticism.  He studied at Rome yet abandoned his studies to flee the immorality and amorality we encountered in the city.  At age 19 or 20 our saint, taking the elderly female servant who had raised him to Affile, joined a community of men attempting to lead a structured monastic life together.  Eventually he sent her home and spent the next three years as a hermit at Lake Subiaco.  During those years he contemplated rules for communal monastic life and developed a reputation for sanctity.  Then he became the central figure of a new monastic community.

Between 525 and 530 the community moved to Monte Cassino, between Rome and Naples.  Eventually St. Scholastica became the Abbess of Plombariola, a few miles from Monte Cassino.  Circa 540 St. Benedict completed the Rule of St. Benedict, which drew from extant monastic rules, directed life in thousands of abbeys, and influenced subsequent monastic rules.  St. Benedict provided a rigorous yet realistic set of guidelines; it combined work, prayer, and spiritual reading, as well as a balance between leadership by an abbot and the social equality of monastics.  Whereas some monks had mortified their flesh, denied themselves sufficient sleep, and ate too little, the Rule of St. Benedict prescribed enough food, eight hours of sleep, and a moderate variety of monasticism.  The influence of the Rule made Benedictine monasteries islands of learning and civilization during the Middle Ages.

Sts. Scholastica and Benedict met for a day each year for a number of years to discuss spiritual matters.  They did this until she died, in 543.  According to legend, St. Benedict, standing in his cell, saw a vision of his twin sister’s soul leading her body and rising to Heaven in the form of a dove.  He dispatched some monks to retrieve her corpse and bring it to Monte Cassino, where he buried her beneath the high altar.  A few years later St. Benedict’s body rested in the same tomb also.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 30, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREW THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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O God, by whose grace your servants St. Scholastica and St. Benedict of Nursia,

kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we may also be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

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.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

Philippians 3:7-15

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

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

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Feast of St. Porfirio (February 9)   Leave a comment

porforio

Above:  St. Porfirio

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT PORFIRIO (DIED IN 203)

Martyr

Among the most notable characteristics of Christian martyrs during the Roman imperial period was the manner in which they died–that is, courageously.  They therefore helped to convert many observers.  This was the case with regard to St. Porfirio, originally an executioner in the service of the Roman Empire.  Our saint came to faith knowing that doing so might cost him his life.  It did so at Magnesia, Asia Minor, in 203, during the reign of the Emperor Septimus Severus (193-211).

Those of us who are fortunate enough to live where we have the freedom to practice our religion freely, without the threat of martyrdom, especially at the hand of the state, cannot imagine the courage required for St. Porfirio to confess his Christian faith.  Unfortunately, many people can grasp that concept, due to their experiences.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 30, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREW THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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Almighty God, who gave to your servant Saint Porfirio boldness

to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world,

and courage to die to 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 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 126 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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Posted November 30, 2016 by neatnik2009 in February, Saints of 29-199 C.E., Saints of the 200s

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Feast of St. Alto of Altomunster (February 9)   Leave a comment

alto

Above:  St. Alto of Altomunster

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ALTO OF ALTOMUNSTER (DIED CIRCA 760)

Roman Catholic Hermit

Also known as Saint Alto of Ireland

Alternative feast day = September 5

St. Alto, a native of Ireland, became a hermit in the forest outside Augsburg and Munich.  He, like many a hermit with a reputation for holiness, was frequently not alone, for a plethora of people flocked to learn from him.  To accommodate them St. Alto founded a monastery circa 750.  Eventually that abbey became known as Altomunster, around which a town of the same name developed.  St. Alto died of natural causes circa 760.  The monastery closed in 1803.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 29, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE DAWSON, ENGLISH BAPTIST AND UNITARIAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE CHURCH OF NORTH INDIA, 1970

THE FEAST OF JENNETTE THRELFALL, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

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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 St. Alto of Altomunster,

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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Posted November 29, 2016 by neatnik2009 in February, Saints of the 700s

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Feast of St. Jerome Emiliani (February 8)   Leave a comment

emiliani

Above:  St. Jerome Emiliani

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JEROME EMILIANI (1481-FEBRUARY 8, 1537)

Founder of the Company of the Servants of the Poor

St. Jerome Emiliani, like Blessed Josephina Gabriella Bonino, whose feast day is also February 8, cared for the ill, the poor, and the orphaned.

Emiliani arrived at this vocation by a circuitous route.  The native of Venice came from a wealthy family.  His father, Angelo, died when our saint was 15 years old.  Young Jerome ran away from home and led a dissolute life.  In 1506 he became a solider.  Five years later, during the War of the League of Cambrai (1508-1516), Emiliani became a prisoner of war chained in a dungeon.  He broke his chains after praying to Our Lady for help.  Our saint gave her credit for his freedom.  Eventually Emiliani decided to study for the priesthood.  Along the way to that vocation our saint supervised the education of his nephews and served as the Mayor of Treviso.

Emiliani, ordained in 1518, spent much of the rest of his life helping people affected by one pestilence or another.  The parts of Italy where Emiliani resided were prone to a series of plagues in the 1500s.  He cared for the sick, took orphans into his home, and buried those who had died unattended on the streets.  Our saint founded six orphanages, a hospital, and a shelter for former prostitutes in northern Italy.  At the city of Somasca Emiliani founded the Company of the Servants of the Poor, also known as the Order of Somaschi, the Somascan Fathers, and the Regular Clergy of Somasca, to care for orphans, in 1532.  Papal approval of the order followed eight years later.  Another accomplishment of Emiliani was pioneering the question-and-answer technique of catechesis.

Emiliani died at Somasca, Italy, on February 8, 1537.  He had contracted an illness while ministering to the sick.  Pope Benedict XIV beatified our saint in 1747.  Pope Clement XIII canonized him 20 years later.

Emiliani is the patron saint of orphans and abandoned people.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 29, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE DAWSON, ENGLISH BAPTIST AND UNITARIAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE CHURCH OF NORTH INDIA, 1970

THE FEAST OF JENNETTE THRELFALL, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

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O God, by whose grace your servant St. Jerome Emiliani,

kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

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.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

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Feast of Blessed Josephina Gabriella Bonino (February 8)   1 comment

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Above:  Blessed Josephina Gabriella Bonino 

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED JOSEPHINA GABRIELLA BONINO (SEPTEMBER 5, 1843-FEBRUARY 8, 1906)

Foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Family

Blessed Josephina Gabriella Bonino cared for her poor, sick, and orphaned neighbors.

Our saint always devout, grew up in a Roman Catholic family in Saviglioano, Italy.  At age 18 she took a vow of chastity.  Eight years later she began to take care of her ailing father.  Then, in 1875, she joined the Third Order of Carmelites.  Two years later her mother died.  In 1881 our saint founded the Sisters of the Holy Family, for the purpose of caring for orphans, the poor, and the elderly sick.  She served as the Superior of the order for the rest of her life.  Bonino died of pneumonia at Savona, Italy, on February 8, 1906.  She was 62 years old.

Pope John Paul II declared Bonino a Venerable in 1994 then a Blessed the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 29, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE DAWSON, ENGLISH BAPTIST AND UNITARIAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE CHURCH OF NORTH INDIA, 1970

THE FEAST OF JENNETTE THRELFALL, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

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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 Josephina Gabriella Bonino,

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 Helder Camara (February 7)   1 comment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Above:  The Grave of Archbishop Camara

Image Source = Monster4711

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HELDER PESSOA CAMARA (FEBRUARY 7, 1909-AUGUST 27, 1999)

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Olinda and Recife

The “Red Bishop,” Advocate for the Poor, Defender of Human Rights, and Vocal Opponent of Brazil’s Military Dictatorship

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When I feed the poor, they call me a saint.  When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist.

–Helder Camara

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Helder Camara was not a Communist or even a Marxist.  No, he was a Socialist and an advocate of Liberation Theology.  He understood the reality of structural economic injustice and the demands of the Gospel of Jesus Christ upon the Church to condemn such inequality and to work for social justice, especially the poor.  This proved controversial in the Church and in Brazilian society.  It also eared him the official disapproval of Brazil’s repressive military dictatorship.

Camara, born at Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil, on February 7, 1909, decided at an early age to become a priest.  He, ordained in 1931, was a member of a fascist party for a few years.  (Fascism is conservative tyranny.  Communism is liberal tyranny.  The chief word is tyranny.)  Ministering among the poor of Rio de Janeiro changed our saint’s politics, starting his shift from the right to the left.  In 1952 Camara became the Auxiliary Bishop of Rio de Janeiro.  He helped to form the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops.  For a decade he, serving as the organization’s secretary-general, led the bishops to address issues of economic injustice, especially that related to the concentration of land ownership into the hands of a relative few.  Our saint also pressured his brother bishops to identify with the poor and the oppressed, not the rich and the powerful.  Camara also asked Pope John XXIII to donate the Vatican and its works of art to UNESCO and to live in a modest building instead.

From 1964 to 1985 Camara was the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, in a poor region of the country.  He refused to live in the Episcopal Palace and to wear expensive vestments and a golden cross.  Our saint, the “red bishop,” wore a scruffy cassock and a simple wooden cross, lived in a humble dwelling, and defended democracy of human rights at a time when a brutal military dictatorship governed Brazil.  He survived assassination attempts, although many people associated with him did not.  The government feared the archbishop.  From 1968 to 1977 that government blacklisted Camara, forbidding the press from reporting on him and barring him from speaking in public.

Camara, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times, was humble.  Once, during a meeting at the Episcopal Palace, invited a peasant to sit in the episcopal chair.  The archbishop also told Mother (now St.) Teresa of Calcutta that, when he struggled with his ego, he imagined himself as the donkey carrying Jesus during the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.  Camara did, however, pull rank to embarrass the police into releasing parishioners they had arrested unjustly.

Camara, aged 75 years, retired in 1985.  Pope John Paul II appointed a conservative successor, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, who opposed Liberation Theology, ended our saint’s human rights initiatives, and wore a golden cross and expensive vestments.  Camara was diplomatic in public, but he took the situation hard in private.

Our saint died at Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, on August 27, 1999.  He was 90 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 29, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE DAWSON, ENGLISH BAPTIST AND UNITARIAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE CHURCH OF NORTH INDIA, 1970

THE FEAST OF JENNETTE THRELFALL, ENGLISH 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 Mitchell J. Dahood (February 7)   Leave a comment

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Above:  My Copies of Dahood’s Commentaries on the Book of Psalms

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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MITCHELL J. DAHOOD (FEBRUARY 2, 1922-MARCH 8, 1982)

Roman Catholic Priest and Biblical Scholar

Mitchell J. Dahood was a Roman Catholic priest, a Jesuit, a prominent scholar of Semitic languages, and a translator and exegete of the Book of Psalms.

The priest, from a family of Lebanese ancestry, entered the world at Anaconda, Montana, on February 2, 1922.  He joined the Society of Jesus at age 19 in 1941.  Our saint studied at Boston College then did his graduate work (M.A. and Ph.D.) at The Johns Hopkins University.  At Johns Hopkins Dahood earned his doctoral degree in 1951.  He wrote his dissertation on the Hebrew text of Koheleth under the direction of Professor William Foxwell Albright, who went on to serve as a General Editor of The Anchor Bible series.  Dahood, ordained to the priesthood in 1954, relocated to Rome two years later.  There he, as Chair of Northwest Semitic Languages, faculty of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, for more than a quarter of a century and Dean of the Oriental faculty from 1975 to 1978, studied the relationship among classical Hebrew, Ugaritic, and Ebliate.  During the last 30 years of his life Dahood wrote books and more than 200 articles and reviews.  He was also a leading scholar of the ancient Syrian kingdom of Ebla.

Among Dahood’s books were the three volumes (1965, 1968, and 1970) on Psalms for The Anchor Bible series.  He, the world’s leading expert on the Ugaritic language, brought his knowledge of that language on bear to his translations of the texts.  A professor of the Old Testament at Northwestern University said teasingly:

I wish Dahood would quit applying his Ugarit to the Psalms because it ruins all the ones I long ago memorized.

Dahood, a kind and friendly man with many friends all over the world, died suddenly at Rome on March 8, 1982.  The 60-year-old priest and scholar was praying at a church.  Father William Ryan, secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, stated:

He was the most alive man we had.  He was interested in music, politics, [and] sports.  He was a great scholar.  This came as a terrible blow.  We hadn’t the slightest indication he was ill.

Dahood’s scholarship continues to help serious students of the Bible study the Book of Psalms and deepen their faith and their understanding of those texts.  I have been fortunate to have been among those students for years.

Thank you, Father Dahood!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN THE YOUNGER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK COOK ATKINSON, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH PIGNATELLI, RESTORER OF THE JESUITS

THE FEAST OF KAMEHAMEHA IV AND EMMA ROOKE, KING AND QUEEN OF HAWAII

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Mitchell J. Dahood 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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