Archive for September 2019

Feast of Blessed Thomas Pormort (February 21)   2 comments

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED THOMAS PORMORT (CIRCA 1560-FEBRUARY 20, 1592)

English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1592

Alternative feast day (as one of the Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales) = November 22

Alternative feast day (as one of the Martyrs of Douai) = October 29

I do not keep statistics regarding this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  Given that my Ecumenical Calendar is, with a few breaks, frequently a work in progress, with more than one update per week, any statistics I would collect would become obsolete quickly.  However, I attest that martyrs constitute one of the major categories of saints on my Ecumenical Calendar.  Unfortunately, many of these martyrs’ biographies reveal that other professing Christians killed them or were complicit in their deaths.  As a bumper sticker reads,

JESUS, SAVE ME FROM YOUR FOLLOWERS.

Blessed Thomas Pormort lived dangerously; he was a Roman Catholic priest in Elizabethan England.  He, born in Little Limber, Lincolnshire, England, circa 1560, studied at Cambridge then at Douai (1581-1582) and Rome (1582f).  Our saint, ordained to the priesthood in 1587, served in the Diocese of Cassano (in Italy) and as the Prefect of Studies at the Swiss College, Milan.  Then he returned to his homeland.  He arrived on April 25, 1590, under the pseudonym Thomas Whitgift.  (“Whitgift” was the surname of the Archbishop of Canterbury.)  Authorities arrested Pormort in London on July 25, 1591.  His crime was being a Roman Catholic priest–treason, officially.  He escaped, but became a prisoner again after about two months on the lam.  Authorities tortured Pormort in prison.  Our saint, convicted of treason (being a priest–in this case, of hearing the confession of a penitent), on February 8, 1592, died via hanging, in London, twelve days later.

Pope John Paul II declared Pormort a Venerable in 1986 then beatified him the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 30, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT HONORIUS, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Thomas Pormort

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 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

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

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Feast of Austin Carroll (February 21)   1 comment

Above:  Austin Carroll

Fair Use

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MARGARET ANNE CARROLL (FEBRUARY 23, 1835-NOVEMBER 29, 1909)

Irish-American Roman Catholic Nun, Author, and Educator

Also known as Sister Mary Teresa Austin

Austin Carroll comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Carroll served God in vulnerable, poor, and marginalized people.  Margaret Anne Carroll, born in Clonmel, Ireland, on February 23, 1835, grew up in a Roman Catholic family.  She, a daughter of William Carroll and Margaret Strahan, joined the Sisters of Mercy, in Cork, in 1853.  She became Sister Mary Teresa Austin, and made her vows in 1856.  That year the order dispatched our saint to the United States, where she founded about 20 convents and various schools and charitable institutions.  She also founded a convent in British Honduras (now Belize).  Carroll worked in Hartford, Connecticut; Buffalo, New York; Rochester, New York; Omaha, Nebraska; and St. Louis, Missouri; before establishing a new base of operations in New Orleans, Louisiana, as the Superior of the New Orleans Province of the Sisters of Mercy.

Wherever Carroll was, she left her positive influence.  She and her sister nuns visited U.S. Army field hospitals daily during much of the Civil War.  The nuns also visited prisoners.  Furthermore, they ministered to victims of successive epidemics of yellow fever in New Orleans.  Carroll founded schools and presided over the education of white and African-American children alike during an age of enforced racial segregation.  Somehow, our saint found time to write articles and more than 20 books.  Those volumes included hagiographies, works of church history, devotions, and books for young readers.

Carroll’s main disappointment at the end of her life was that she had not founded a college for women.  Given the difficulty in raising funds for the order’s schools, she certainly had accomplished more than a lesser person would have done, though.

Carroll, aged 74 years, died on November 29, 1909.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 29, 2019 COMMON ERA

PROPER 21:  THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF MARY RAMABAI, PROPHETIC WITNESS AND EVANGELIST IN INDIA

THE FEAST OF FRANCIS TURNER PALGRAVE, ANGLICAN POET, ART CRITIC, AND HYMN WRITER

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O God, whose grace your servant Austin Carroll,

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 your 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), 723

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Feast of Charles Sheldon (February 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  Charles Sheldon

Image in the Public Domain

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CHARLES MONROE SHELDON (FEBRUARY 26, 1857-FEBRUARY 24, 1946)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Author, Christian Socialist, and Social Gospel Theologian

The Reverend Charles Monroe Sheldon comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Sheldon took to heart Christ’s command to be salt and light in the world.  Some efforts were more successful than others, but all of them shared one point of origin:  Christian faith.

Sheldon grew up in a Congregationalist family.  His father was a minister.  Our saint moved with his family from church to church.  Sheldon, born in Wellsville, New York, on February 26, 1857, grew up mostly in the Dakotas.  The family was not wealthy; it struggled financially.  That background and the socially and theologically background of nineteenth-century Congregationalism influenced Sheldon.

Sheldon became a socially-conscious minister.  After graduating from Brown University and Andover Theological Seminary, he served as a pastor, uin Waterbury, Vermont (1887-1889).  Typhoid was a frequent problem in town.  Our saint suggested that the proximity of the water supply to pig pens was the cause of the unsafe water.  The town corrected the issue and solved the problem.

Sheldon served in one other church; he was pastor of Central Congregational Church, Topeka, Kansas,, from 1889 to his retirement in 1920.  Our saint left the congregation better off in every way after three decades of leadership.  Attendance and membership increased.  So did outreach in the community.  Sheldon, author of more than 30 Social Gospel novels, including In His Steps (1896), asked a crucial question:

What would Jesus do?

In 1893 the pastor, a Christian Socialist and a theologian of the Social Gospel, concluded that Jesus would approve of the Central Congregational Church sponsoring the first kindergarten for African Americans west of the Mississippi River.  The congregation did that.  Sheldon, who encouraged middle-class and upper-class Christians to sympathize and identify with the poor and the marginalized paired evangelism with faith-based activism.

Much less successful were Sheldon’s campaigns for the prohibition of alcohol (throughout his life) and for world peace (after the retired).  Prohibition proved to be a movement that perhaps only mobsters loved more than moralistic idealists did.  World peace has been elusive, of course.  In the aftermath of World War I, however, that quest was of its time, as well as admirable.

Sheldon, from 1920 to 1924 the editor of a periodical, Christian Herald, died in Topeka on February 24, 1946.  In two more days he would have celebrated his eighty-ninth birthday.

The question of what Jesus would do is always relevant in public and private life.  That issue, like the Law of Moses, requires one to consider the timeless principles and variable factors.  The Golden Rule is a constant factor, a timeless principle.  The proper application of it depends on variables, tough.  For example, who one is, how old one is, where one is, when one is, and other particulars of one’s context vary from person to person.  Variables add a degree of relativism to the mix.  We (individually and collectively) have a mandate to live according to the Golden Rule when and where we are.  May we succeed, by grace.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JEHU JONES, JR., AFRICAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH HOSKINS, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LORENZO RUIZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, 1637

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly with evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant Charles Sheldon,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

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

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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This is post #1800 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska (February 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED STANISLAWA RODZINSKA (MARCH 16, 1899-FEBRUARY 20, 1945)

Polish Roman Catholic Nun and Martyr, 1945

Also known as Giulia Rodzinska, the Mother of Orphans, Sister Maria Julia, and the Apostle of the Rosary

Alternative feast day (as one of the 108 Martyrs of World War II) = June 12

Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska, from humble origins, became a nun.  She, one of five children of Marianna Sekuly and Michael Rodzinska, entered the world in Nawojowa (now in Poland) on March 16, 1899.  [Note:  Poland existed as parts of the Austro-Hungarian, German, and Russian Empires in 1899.]  Michael, an employee of a bank, was also the parish organist and choir director.  The family was poor, and Marianna’s wealthy relatives refused to provide financial assistance.  Marianna died when our saint was eight years old.  About two years later, Michael died.  Stanislawa (ten years old) and her sister moved to an orphanage Dominican nuns operated.  Our saint joined that order, at Tarnobrzegu-Wielowsi, in 1916.  Sister Maria Julia, as Stanislawa became known, made her profession on August 5, 1924.

Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska/Sister Maria Julia taught in Dominican orphanages for 22 years.  In 1934 she became the Superior of the orphanage in Vilnius, Lithuania.  Eventually, the regime of President Antanas Smetona (in office 1918-1920 and 1926-1940), a dictator, starting in 1929, seized the orphanage and convent.  Local Vincentian nuns opened their convent to the Dominican sisters.

Matters became worse after the German invasion of Lithuania (June 1941).  Nazi persecution of religious institutions that did disobeyed Adolf Hitler began.  Agents of the Gestapo arrested Rodzinska on July 12, 1943.  She spent a year of solitary confinement in a cell so small she had no room to stretch out.  In July 1944, German authorities transferred our saint from her cell near Vilnius to the concentration camp at Sztutowo, Poland.  There she formed a prayer group, shared her food, and nursed female Jewish prisoners.  Rodzinska contracted typhus, which caused her death, by caring for her sister prisoners.  She died, aged 45 years, on February 20, 1945.

Pope John Paul II declared Rodzinska a Venerable and beatified her in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 27, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GENEVA; SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL, “THE APOSTLE OF CHARITY;” SAINT LOUISE DE MARILLAC, COFOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY OF SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL; AND SAINT CHARLES FUGE LOWDER, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF THE HOLY CROSS

THE FEAST OF ELIZA SCUDDER, U.S. UNITARIAN THEN EPISCOPALIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF MELANESIA, 1864-2003

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember her in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with her 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), 714

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Feast of Domenico and Gregorio Allegri (February 20)   1 comment

Above:  Floor Plan of the Church of San Luigi des Francesi (Saint Louis of France), Rome

Image in the Public Domain

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GREGORIO ALLEGRI (1582-FEBRUARY 7, 1652)

Italian Roman Catholic Priest, Composer, and Singer

brother of

DOMENICO ALLEGRI (CIRCA 1585-SEPTEMBER 5, 1629)

Italian Roman Catholic Composer and Singer

Gregorio and Domenico Allegri come to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via their work in church music and via my unapologetic musical snobbery.

Constantino Allegri, a coachman from Milan, lived with his family in Rome.  He sent his three sons–Gregorio (b. 1582), Domenico (b. circa 1585), and Bartholomeo–to study music and to sing in the choir at San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome.  Gregorio and Domenico became composers and remained singers as adults.  Gregorio also joined the ranks of priests.

Domenico worked as a maestro di cappella in churches:

  1. Santa Maria, Spello (1606-1609);
  2. Santa Maria, Trastevero, Rome (1609-1610); and
  3. Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome (1610-1629).

Much of Domenico’s music has fallen victim to the ravages of time, unfortunately.  His Modi Quos Expositis in Choris (1617) has survived, though.

Domenico died in Rome on September 5, 1629.

Gregorio was a priest at the Cathedral Church of the Assumption of Saint Mary, Fermo, when he came to the attention of Pope Urban VIII (in office 1623-1644).  Our saint, having begun to compose music while in Fermo, continued to do so after he received the Papal appointment to sing contralto in the choir at the Sistine Chapel.  Gregorio composed sinfonia, masses (including Missa Vidi Turbam Magnam), instrumental music (including the earliest string quartet), and two settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah.  His most famous work was Miserere Mei, Deus (circa 1638), for the Tenebrae service during Holy Week, in the Sistine Chapel.

Gregorio died in Rome on February 7, 1652.

Gregorio and Domenico Allegri glorified God with their lives and their music.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAUL VI, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN BRIGHT, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF JOHN BYROM, ANGLICAN THEN QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

we bless your name for inspiring Domenico and Gregorio Allegri

and all those who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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A Statement of Political Principles for These Times   1 comment

(AND FOR ALL OTHER TIMES, TOO)

No political party should become a cult of personality.

In a republic, nobody should be above the law.

Respect objective reality at all times.

Do not bear false witness.

One should accept responsibility for one’s actions.

No President of the United States should have business-related conflicts of interest while in office.

No President of the United States should behave as a bully.

No President of the United States should speak or write of political opposition as treason.

No President of the United States should question the freedom of the press, even supposedly in jest.

No President of the United States should sow chaos and bigotry.

No President of the United States should disregard science.

No President of the United States should seek to win politically by dividing the public.

No President of the United States should encourage or pressure a foreign government to interfere in a U.S. election.

No President of the United States is more important than the United States.

No President of the United States should be slow to condemn neo-Nazis then express regret over having issued such a condemnation.

Here I stand; I will not say or write otherwise.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 COMMON ERA

Posted September 26, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Political Statements 2019

Tagged with

Feast of Sts. Agnes Tsao Kou Ying, Agatha Lin Zhao, Lucy Yi Zhenmei, Auguste Chapdelaine, and Laurentius Bai Xiaoman (February 19)   2 comments

Above:  Map of China, 1843

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT AGNES TSAO KOU YING (CIRCA 1821-MARCH 1, 1856)

Chinese Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr, 1856

Roman Catholic feast day (solo) = March 1

Roman Catholic feast day (as one of the Martyrs of China) = September 28

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SAINT AGATHA LIN ZHAO (CIRCA 1817-JANUARY 28, 1858)

Chinese Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr, 1858

Roman Catholic feast day (solo) = January 28

Former Roman Catholic feast day (solo) = February 18

Roman Catholic feast day (as one of the Martyrs of China) = September 28

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SAINT LUCY YI ZHENMEI (JANUARY 17, 1815-FEBRUARY 19, 1862)

Chinese Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr, 1862

Roman Catholic feast day (solo) = February 19

Roman Catholic feast day (as one of the Martyrs of China) = September 28

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SAINT AUGUSTE CHAPDELAINE (JANUARY 6, 1814-FEBRUARY 29, 1856)

French Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr, 1856

Roman Catholic feast days (solo) = February 28 and 29

Roman Catholic feast day (as one of the Martyrs of China) = September 28

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SAINT LAURENTIUS BAI XIAOMAN (CIRCA 1821-FEBRUARY 25, 1856)

Chinese Roman Catholic Convert and Martyr, 1856

Also known as Saint Lawrence Po-Men

Roman Catholic feast day (solo) = February 25

Roman Catholic feast day (as one of the Martyrs of China) = September 28

Roman Catholic feast day (as one of the Martyrs of Cochin) = November 24

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INTRODUCTION

These five saints come to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via two sources.  All of the five saints are official, according to the Roman Catholic Church.  All of them, as Martyrs of China, share the Roman Catholic feast day of September 28.  Sts. Agnes Tsao Kou Ying, Agatha Lin Zhao, and Lucy Yi Zhenmei share the feast day of February 19 in The Episcopal Church, as of the approval of Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 at the General Convention of 2018.  Sts. Auguste Chapdelaine and Laurentius Bai Xiaoman join the three women in this post because their stories overlap with that of St. Agnes Tsao Kou Ying.

I, as an anti-imperialist, affirm that anti-imperialism does not justify religious persecution.

Western imperialism in China led to abuses, including the British Empire selling opium and various powers exercising extra-territoriality.  Chinese anti-imperialism, although justified, led to violent excesses, notably the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901).  Chinese anti-imperialism also led to occasional persecutions of Christians over time.  Our five saints died because of this policy.

SAINTS AUGUSTE CHAPDELAINE, LAURENTIUS BAI XIAOMAN, AND AGNES TSAO KOU YING

St. Auguste Chapdelaine, despite experiencing obstacles, eventually fulfilled his vocation as a priest and a missionary.  He, born in La Rochelle-Normande, France, on January 6, 1814, was a son of Nicolas Chapdelaine and Madeleine Dodeman.  Our saint dropped out of grammar school to work on the family farm.  He eventually discerned his vocation to the priesthood, but his family objected until after two of his brothers died suddenly.  Finally, on October 1, 1834, Chapdelaine, aged 20 years, matriculated at the minor seminary, Mortain.  He, being twice as old as many of his classmates, became “Papa Chapdelaine.”  Chapdelaine, ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 1843, worked as an associate parish priest in 1844-1851.  Our saint, having discerned his vocation to be a missionary, applied to join French Foreign Missions, which accepted him, although he was, technically, two years too old to join.

Chapdelaine completed his days as a missionary in China.  He, having left France on April 30, 1852, arrived in Singapore on September 5.  When the time to depart for his mission station in China came, our saint was ready.  Robbery delayed him en route to the mission station in Kwang Si province, though.  Our saint finally arrived in 1854.  Ten days later, authorities arrested him and incarcerated him for three weeks.  Chapdelaine, released, spent the next two years or so well; he converted hundreds of people.

St. Laurentius Bai Xiaoman, born Loulong, was one of those converts.  He, born in Shuicheng, Guizhou, circa 1821, came from a poor family.  Loulong, orphaned as a boy, worked as a day laborer in Guangxi then in the village of Yaoshan.  He married in his early thirties and had a daughter.  Chapdelaine converted Loulong circa 1855.

Chapdelaine also met St. Agnes Tsao Kou Ying.  She, born in Wujiazhou circa 1821, came from a Roman Catholic family.  Her parents died during her adolescence, prompting our saint to move to Xingyi.  St. Agnes married a young farmer when she was 18 years old.  Their marriage was brief; about two years later, she became a widow when her husband became a martyr.  The widowed saint became a catechist.  Eventually Chapdelaine asked our saint to assist him in his missionary work; she agreed.  St. Agnes cared for children, taught cooking, and catechized.

Authorities arrested Chapdelaine and St. Agnes in late February 1856.  Our saints, incarcerated and tortured, refused to renounce their faith. So did St. Laurentius, arrested after he protested the arrests of Chapdelaine and St. Agnes.  All three received death sentences.  St. Laurentius died on February 25.  Chapdelaine became a martyr on February 29.  St. Agnes received the crown of martyrdom on March 1.

Holy Mother Church recognized these saints formally.  Pope Leo XIII declared them Venerable in 1899 and beatified them the following year.  Pope John Paul II canonized the three saints in 2000.

SAINT AGATHA LIN ZHAO

St. Agatha Lin Zhao was another catechist and martyr.  She, born in Quinlong, Guizhou circa 1817, grew up in a Roman Catholic family.  She, an only child, discerned her vocation to live as a single woman and operate a church-related girls’ school.  Her parents reluctantly agreed to release her from plans for an arranged marriage.  St. Agatha, having earned her university degree, returned to her hometown and opened a school for girls.  Our saint, arrested in late 1857, refused to renounce her faith.  She died via beheading on January 28, 1858.

The Church formally recognized this saint.  Pope Pius X beatified St. Agatha in 1909.  Pope John Paul II canonized her in 2000.

SAINT LUCY YI ZHENMEI

St. Lucy Yi Zhenmei was a catechist and a martyr.  When she was 20 years old and recovering from a severe illness, St. Lucy deepened her faith.  She continued to reside with and to support her family, but she adopted a semi-monastic lifestyle.  Our saint also began to teach the catechism to children.  After St. Lucy’s priest asked Lucy to become a missionary, she initially refused.  She, citing safety concerns, moved to a convent instead.  In 1862, however, our saint and Father Wen Nair opened a mission in Jiashanlong.  Almost immediately, they became victims of a provincial persecution of Christianity.  Authorities arrested the priest and three others then, without conducting a formal trial, sentenced them to die.  The priest and the three other condemned persons were en route to die on February 18, 1862, when St. Lucy met them on the road and spoke up.  Authorities arrested her immediately.  Before the end of the day, she had received her death sentence.  She received the crown of martyrdom on February 19.

The Roman Catholic Church recognized St. Lucy formally.  Pope Pius X declared her a Venerable in 1908 then beatified her the following year.  Pope John Paul II canonized her in 2000.

CONCLUSION

Writing about martyrs is easy.  Living as a Christian in a country with religious freedom is also easy.  Asking oneself if one would rather die or remain faithful may lead one to examine one’s faith more closely.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 25, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SARAH LOUISE “SADIE” DELANY, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATOR; HER SISTER, ANNIE ELIZABETH “BESSIE” DELANY, AFRICAN-AMERICAN DENTIST; AND THEIR BROTHER, HUBERT THOMAS DELANY, AFRICAN-AMERICAN ATTORNEY, JUDGE, AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT EUPHROSYNE AND HER FATHER, SAINT PAPHNUTIUS OF ALEXANDRIA, MONKS

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF REICHENAU, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, LITURGIST, POET, AND SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF SAINT SERGIUS OF RADONEZH, ABBOT OF THE MONASTERY OF THE HOLY TRINITY, SERGIYEV POSAD, RUSSIA

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Lord Jesus Christ, who willingly walked the way of the cross:

Strengthen your church through the witness of your servants

Saint Agnes Tsao Kou Ying,

Saint Agatha Lin Zhou,

Saint Lucy Yi Zhenmai,

Saint Auguste Chapdelaine, and

Saint Laurentius Bai Xiaoman,

to hold fast to the path of discipleship even unto death;

for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Ephesians 3:13-19

Psalm 27

Matthew 25:1-13

–Adapted from Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, 141

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Feast of Massey H. Shepherd, Jr. (February 19)   1 comment

Above:  The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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MASSEY HAMILTON SHEPHERD, JR. (MARCH 14, 1913-FEBRUARY 19, 1990)

Episcopal Priest, Ecumenist, and Liturgist

Dean of American Liturgists

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O God, whose son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people:  Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

–Massey H. Shepherd, Jr., Contemporary Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter; in The Book of Common Prayer (1979), 225

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Massey H. Shepherd, Jr., with his courtly Southern manners, big smile, and love of cats, was an engaging person.  He has come to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via his liturgical work, mainly.

Shepherd helped to revolutionize liturgy in The Episcopal Church, to much praise and condemnation.  He, born in Wilmington, North Carolina, on March 14, 1913, grew up primarily in Columbia, South Carolina.  Our saint eared his B.A. and M.A. at the University of South Carolina.  His Ph.D. (1937) from The University of Chicago followed.  Then our saint matriculated at Berkeley Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut.  There he became a protégé of William Palmer Ladd (1870-1941), Dean of the seminary and a proponent of liturgical renewal, especially with regard to increasing congregational participation in worship.  As early as 1956, Shepherd advocated having the celebrant face the congregation, not turn his back on it, during the Eucharistic prayers.

Shepherd was an ecclesiastical historian and a liturgist.  The two fields went hand-in-hand, for our saint found influences in ancient liturgies.  (Liturgical renewal was, to a great extent, a process of reviving older, abandoned traditions that predated Reformation-era practices.)  Our saint taught at the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1940-1954); and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California (1954-1981).  He also sat on the denomination’s Standing Liturgical Commission from 1947 to 1976 and served as its Vice-Chairman from 1964 to 1976.

Shepherd had a few goals, which became reality.  In 1946 he helped to found the Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission, one purpose of which was to make the Eucharist the central Sunday service in The Episcopal Church.  He also made Baptism a public (never private) rite in The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  Furthermore, our saint wrote The Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper (1967), which began the introduction of modern English into worship in The Episcopal Church.  He, as a member of the Standing Liturgical Commission, had a hand in subsequent trial-use volumes:

  1. Services for Trial Use (1971),
  2. Authorized Services 1973 (1973), and
  3. The Proposed Book of Common Prayer and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church (1976).

Shepherd, author of more than 30 books (mostly about liturgies), the General Article about the Post-Apostolic Church in Volume I (1952) of The Interpreter’s Bible, and the commentaries on the Gospel and three Epistles of John in The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible (1971), had a magnum opus:  The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  He translated the alternative (second) form of absolution (page 448) from Form One of the Reconciliation of a Penitent.  Shepherd wrote:

  1. the Litany of Penitence (pages 267-269) from the Ash Wednesday service,
  2. the postcommunion prayer (page 432) from the marriage ceremony,
  3. an alternative postcommunion prayer (page 457) from Ministration to the Sick,
  4. the postcommunion prayer (pages 482 and 498) from the Burial of the Dead,
  5. the Litany of Thanksgiving (pages 836-837),
  6. the collect for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany (pages 163 and 215),
  7. the collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (pages 173 and 225),
  8. the collect for Proper 6 (pages 178 and 230),
  9. the collect for the Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter (pages 187 and 238),
  10. the collect for the Feast of Saint Joseph (pages 188 and 239),
  11. the collect for the Feast of Saint Mark (pages 188 and 240),
  12. the collect for the Feast of Saint Barnabas (pages 189 and 241),
  13. the collect for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (pages 190 and 241),
  14. the collect for Holy Cross Day (pages 192 and 244),
  15. the collect for the Feast of Saint Matthew (pages 192-193 and 244),
  16. the collect for the Feast of Saint James of Jerusalem (pages 193 and 245), and
  17. the collect for the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude (pages 194 and 245).

If all that were not enough, Shepherd was also an ecumenist.  He was an observer from the Anglican Communion to the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).  Our saint, as a member of the worship committee of the Churches of Christ Uniting (COCU, founded as the Consultation on Church Union), wrote much of COCU’s liturgy.  (COCU has become Churches Uniting in Christ.)

Shepherd’s liturgical contribution was great.  It was also controversial. (Bile regarding him is easy to find on the Internet, not that I encourage anyone to read it.)  In the early 1970s, publishing the Lord’s Prayer without archaic pronouns upset many people, for example.  Many members of the Society for the Preservation of the Book of Common Prayer (the Prayer Book Society) have probably never forgiven Shepherd for his work in the revision of The Book of Common Prayer (1928).

C’est la vie.

Shepherd, aged 76 years, died in Sacramento, California, on February 19, 1990.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ANNA ELLISON BUTLER ALEXANDER, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EPISCOPAL DEACONESS IN GEORGIA, AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF HENRY HART MILMAN, ANGLICAN DEAN, TRANSLATOR, HISTORIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JUVENAL OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MARTYR IN ALASKA, AND FIRST ORTHODOX MARTYR IN THE AMERICAS, 1796

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER THE ALEUT, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MARTYR IN SAN FRANCISCO, 1815

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Massey H. Shepherd, Jr.)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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A Ghost Story?   Leave a comment

Above:  Parsonage, Hopewell United Methodist Church, Appling County, Georgia, May 2014

Image Source = Google Earth

My bedroom window was one immediately to the right of the front door.

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I am, to a great extent, a product of the Northern Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment.  I make no apologies for this reality.  Mysticism is not dominant in my spirituality; I have strong Thomistic tendencies.  Furthermore, although I assume that the universe is teeming with life, I do not think that any space aliens create crop circles on this planet.  I like Ockham’s Razor.  Nevertheless, I recall some incidents I cannot explain rationally, at least easily.

This is the story of one of them.

From June 1982 to June 1985, my father was the pastor of the Hopewell and Crosby Chapel United Methodist Churches, in southern Appling County, Georgia.  We lived in the countryside, a few miles outside Baxley, the county seat.  I attended the Fourth through Sixth Grades at Appling County Elementary School.  The parsonage was a ranch-style house on the same lot as Hopewell Church, facing Red Oak Road.

Above:  Hopewell United Methodist Church and Parsonage, May 25, 2017

Image Source = Google Earth

The Fellowship Hall was not as wide when we lived in the parsonage.  Also, there was an open-air corridor between the Fellowship Hall and the rest of the church facility.  Furthermore, there was no roof over the back patio in 1982-1985.

The parsonage is a ranch-style house, complete with a study off the kitchen and at the carport door, a rarely-used front door, a dining room-parlor opposite the den, and four bedrooms and two bedrooms on the right side of the structure.

One school night, between 7:30 and 8:00, I experienced an event I still cannot explain.  It happened within that half-hour; at that time one of the television stations in Savannah aired Family Feud, with Richard Dawson as the host.  The evening of which I write, I left my bedroom and walked toward the den.  I heard the game show in the den and my sister’s music in the parlor.  Then, briefly, I did not hear the music and the television.  Silence surrounded me.  I heard the voice of a small child inviting me to go outside and play.  Then I heard the music and Family Feud again.  I said nothing to anybody about this at the time.

I know this story to be true, but I do not know what caused it to happen.  I probably never will.  The answer, I assume is natural, not supernatural.  As a matter of principle, I reject the category of “supernatural.”  All that is not artificial is natural, I affirm.  Some of what is natural defies explanations that fit much of the rest of it, though.

As I have evolved spiritually from Low Church Protestantism into my current configuration (Anglicanism, mixed with Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism, mainly), I have added dashes of Eastern Orthodoxy.  I have become critical of my Western heritage’s tendency to try to explain more than it can correctly.  I have accepted the Eastern Orthodox openness to mysteries that theology or empiricism can never apprehend.

So be it.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ANNA ELLISON BUTLER ALEXANDER, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EPISCOPAL DEACONESS IN GEORGIA, AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF HENRY HART MILMAN, ANGLICAN DEAN, TRANSLATOR, HISTORIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JUVENAL OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MARTYR IN ALASKA, AND FIRST ORTHODOX MARTYR IN THE AMERICAS, 1796

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER THE ALEUT, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MARTYR IN SAN FRANCISCO, 1815

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Feast of Elizabeth C. Clephane (February 19)   1 comment

Above:  Elizabeth C. Clephane

Image in the Public Domain

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ELIZABETH CECILIA CLEPHANE (JUNE 18, 1830-FEBRUARY 19, 1869)

Scottish Presbyterian Humanitarian and Hymn Writer

Elizabeth C. Clephane comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via her contributions of hymnody, mainly “Beneath the Cross of Jesus.”

Clephane, who had a weak constitution, had a relatively brief life, which she spent well.  She and her sisters, Anna Maria and Anna Jane, were daughters of Anna Maria Douglas and Andrew Douglas Clephane, the Sheriff Principal of Fife and Kinross.  Our saint, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on June 18, 1830, grew up in Melrose, near Abbotsford, England, after her father died.  She and her sisters met their needs then donated their excess income to the poor.  Beneficiaries called Clephane “the Sunbeam.”  Our saint wrote at least eight hymns, which appeared posthumously in The Family Treasury (1872-1874), a publication of the Free Church of Scotland.  Clephane died in Bridgend, Wales, on February 19, 1869.

Clephane’s literary legacy continues to bless people.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 23, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF AMOS NIVEN WILDER, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, POET, LITERARY CRITIC, AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF BERNHARD W. ANDERSON, UNITED METHODIST MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH KENNY, AUSTRALIAN NURSE AND MEDICAL PIONEER

THE FEAST OF FRANCISCO DE PAULA VICTOR, BRAZILIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Elizabeth C. Clephane and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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