Feast of James Prince Lee (December 22)   3 comments

james-prince-lee

Above:  James Prince Lee

Image in the Public Domain

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JAMES PRINCE LEE (JULY 28, 1804-DECEMBER 24, 1869)

Bishop of Manchester

I learned of the existence of James Prince Lee while reading old Encyclopedia Britannica articles about some of his pupils, who became prominent priests and scholars of The Church of England.  To the best of my knowledge, no ecclesiastical body has added Bishop Lee to its calendar of saints.  That, I have concluded, constitutes an unfortunate omission.

James Prince Lee, born at London, England, on July 28, 1804, was a priest, a bishop, an educator, and a classical scholar.  He attended and studied at St. Paul’s School and at Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A., 1828; M.A., 1831).  At Trinity College Lee became a renowned classical scholar.  He took Holy Orders in 1830, the same year he began to serve as assistant headmaster of the Rugby School, under headmaster Thomas Arnold.  Lee left the Rugby School in 1837 to become the Rector of Ayot St. Peter.  The following year our saint became the headmaster of King Edward’s School, Birmingham.  There his star pupils included Edward White Benson (1829-1896), a future Archbishop of Canterbury; John Barber Lightfoot (1828-1889), a future Bishop of Durham; and Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901), also a future Bishop of Durham.

From 1848 to 1869 (his death) Lee served as the first Bishop of Manchester.  Although some of the clergy of the diocese thought he was too much like a schoolmaster in his manner, he was a capable bishop.  Our saint built up the diocese, consecrating 130 church buildings in 21 years.  He also cared deeply about Manchester itself; the bookworm helped to found the public library in the city.

Lee died at home on Christmas Eve, 1869.  He was 65 years old.

Our saint influenced many people directly and indirectly.  Like any educator, his influence was evident in many of his students, who, in turn, influenced others, and so on.  Certainly Lee had an effect on everyone who benefited from the existence of the Manchester public library.  Furthermore, all whose spiritual formation or any part thereof occurred in any of the 130 church buildings he consecrated owed some debt of gratitude to our saint.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

ALL SAINTS’ SUNDAY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GREGOR, FATHER OF MORAVIAN CHURCH MUSIC

THE FEAST OF GIOVANNI GABRIELI AND HANS LEO HASSLER, COMPOSERS AND ORGANISTS; AND CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI AND HEINRICH SCHUTZ, COMPOSERS AND MUSICIANS

THE FEAST OF SAINT THEOPHANE VENARD, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, MISSIONARY, AND MARTYR IN VIETNAM

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM TEMPLE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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O God, our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant

James Prince Lee to be a bishop in your Church and to feed your flock:

Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit,

that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ

and stewards of your divine mysteries;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84 or 84:7-11

Ephesians 3:14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 719

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