Archive for March 2020

Feast of Blessed Maria Catalina Troiani (May 6)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Maria Catalina Troiani 

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIA CATALINA TROIANI (JANUARY 19, 1813-MAY 6, 1887)

Foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Also known as Blessed Maria Teresa of Saint Rose

Blessed Maria Catalina Troiani, a missionary in Egypt, educated impoverished girls.

Our saint came from an Italian Roman Catholic family.  She born in Guiliano di Roma on January 19, 1813, was one of four children of Tommaso Troiani and Teresa Panici (Troiani).  Teresa died when Blessed Maria Catalina was six years old.

Our saint, inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, became a Francican tertiary.  On December 8, 1829, she made her vows as Sister Maria Teresa of Saint Rose, after St. Rose of Viterbo (1234-1252).  Blessed Maria Catalina spent much time educating girls.  On September 14, 1859, she, four other nuns, and Father Giuseppe Moden arrived in Cairo, Egypt, on a mission that had received person Papal approval.  They established a school for poor girls in that city.

From this undertaking arose the Third Order Franciscan Sisters of Cairo, official as of July 5, 1868.  The order later became the Franciscan Sisters of Cairo then the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Our saint served as its first Mother Superior, until she died.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 1982 then beatified her in 1985.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINT DEOGRATIAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CARTHAGE

THE FEAST OF EMMANUEL MOURNIER, PERSONALIST PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF JAMES DE KOVEN, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF THOMAS HUGHES, BRITISH SOCIAL REFORMER AND MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM EDWARD HICKSON, ENGLISH MUSIC EDUCATOR AND SOCIAL REFORMER

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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 example of your servant Blessed Maria Catalina Troiani,

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 9:57-62

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

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Governance and Rhetoric, Responsible and Irresponsible, in the Age of COVID-19   Leave a comment

The following statement should never be controversial, but it is, unfortunately.

NO PUNDIT OR PUBLIC OFFICIAL SHOULD CONTRADICT THE BEST EVIDENCE OF MEDICINE AND PUBLIC HEALTH DURING THIS PANDEMIC.

Yet some do.  This week, a Congressman from Alaska, addressing elderly people, dismissed Coronavirus as a “beer virus.”  Donald Trump, after having initially dismissed the threat of COVID-19, has continued to contradict medical and public health experts and to lie about related matters, from treatments to his own documented track record.  He knew about the threat in January and February, but dismissed it.  Recently, however, he has insisted that he has always taken the threat seriously.

As John Adams said during a trial in the 1770s,

Facts are stubborn things.

This is especially true in times of recording technology.

Besides, what passes for Trump’s character is unseemly, racist, nativistic, xenophobic, and unfit for public office, especially during a crisis.  He likes to claim credit for what he has not done and to evade responsibility for what he has done.  He dislikes objective reality, fosters a cult of personality, thinks that people should be loyal to him (not the United States and its Constitution), prefers dictators to democratic leaders, and encourages objectively false conspiracy theories.  The man is a threat to the United States of America and the world.  The Constitution works only when people in a position to make it work act to make it work.  I, a Consitutionalist, call upon people to act accordingly.

This is a time at which we Americans should be able to trust what the President of the United States says.  Unfortunately, we have Il Duce with bad hair.

I live in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, a unified government.  (The City of Athens merged with Clarke County.)  When Mayor Kelly Girtz releases a video message (available on YouTube), I believe him, for he bases his statements and decisions on objective reality.  The unified government is consulting medical and public health officials then taking their advice.  My local government is governing as it should–responsibly–during this pandemic.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 21, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Feast of Blessed Caterina Cittadini (May 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Sanctuary of St. Jerome Emiliani, Somasca, Italy

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED CATERINA CITTADINI (SEPTEMBER 28, 1801-MAY 5, 1857)

Foundress of the Ursuline Sisters of Somasca

Blessed Caterina Cittadini devoted her adult life to the service of God in girls and young women, especially orphans.

Blessed Caterina came from a devout family.  She, born in Bergamo, Kingdom of Italy, on September 28, 1801, was a daughter of Giovanni Battista Cittadini and Magherita Lanzani (Cittadini).  Magherita died when our saint was seven years old.  Then Giovanni left our saint and her younger sister, Giuditta (1803-1840), in the care of nuns at Bergamo.  The nuns taught young Caterina devotion to St. Mary of Nazareth and St. Jerome Emiliani (1481-1537).  The Cittadini Sisters left the care of the nuns in 1823; they went to live with their cousins, Antonio (d. 1841) and Giovanni Cittadini, priests.

Blessed Caterina began her teaching career in 1824.  That year she became a teacher at a public school for girls.  Our saint earned her reputation as a fine educator.  Blessed Caterina and Giuditta opened three private boarding schools, one each in 1826, 1832, and 1836.  Our saint directed the first school; Giuditta directed the other two.  A few female helpers worked with the Cittadini sisters, to keep the schools operational.  These women were the core of what became the Ursuline Sisters of Somasca.  A series of deaths (sister Giuditta, cousin Antonio, et cetera) caused stress that damaged Blessed Caterina’s health.  She credited the intercession of St. Jerome Emiliani for her recovery.  Our saint also assumed the management of all three schools in 1845.

The Ursuline Sisters of Somasca became an official religious order, with the approval of Pietro Luigi Speranza, Bishop of Bergamo, on December 14, 1857.  Our saint had applied for ecclesiastical recognition of her nascent order in 1851.  Three years later, Speranza, the new bishop, had encouraged Blessed Caterina to write a rule then had approved her second draft.  Then our saint had died in Somasca on May 5, 1857.

Pope Pius XI approved the order on July 8, 1927.

The Ursuline Sisters of Somasca have continued the good work in Italy and beyond.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 1996 then beatified her in 2001.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 21, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH, CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH, AND JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH, COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF JOHN S. STAMM, BISHOP OF THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH THEN THE EVANGELICAL UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICHOLAS OF FLÜE AND HIS GRANDSON, SAINT CONRAD SCHEUBER, SWISS HERMITS

THE FEAST OF SAINT SERAPION OF THMUIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF UMPHREY LEE, U.S. METHODIST MINISTER AND MINISTER OF SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY

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O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Caterina Cittadini,

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), 723

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Feast of St. Basil Martysz (May 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Poland, 1919-1927

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT BASIL MARTYSZ (FEBRUARY 20, 1874-MAY 4, 1945)

Polish Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1945

Also known as Saint Vasily Martysz

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I have done no harm to anyone and I will not run away from anyone.  Christ did not run away.

–St. Basil (Vasily) Martysz, May 4, 1945

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St. Basil (Vasily) Martysz comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church (which canonized him in 2003) and the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), which also observes his feast day.

Above:  Partitioned Poland in Europe, 1871

Image in the Public Domain

Martysz was originally a subject of the Russian Empire and a baptized member of the Russian Orthodox Church.  He, born in Teratyn, Poland, Russia, on February 20, 1874, was a son of Alexander Martysz, a judge.  Alexander later retired from the bench and became a priest.  Our saint and his father visited New York, New York, in 1884.  Vladimir, Russian Orthodox Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska, and therefore in charge of Russian Orthodox Church work in the United States, from 1887 to 1891, noticed young Basil’s beautiful singing voice.  Bishop Vladimir predicted that the boy would become a priest.  Furthermore, the bishop predicted that he (the bishop) would invite St. Basil to serve in the American diocese.  Our saint did become a priest.  He studied theology under St. Tikhon of Moscow (1865-1925) at the seminary in Chelon, Russia.  Martysz, ordained to the diaconate in the summer of 1899, married Olga Nowik.  He, ordained a priest in in December 1900, departed for Alaska with Olga.  He served under St. Tikhon, who had become the Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska in 1898.  St. Tikhon changed the name of the diocese to the Diocese of the Aleutians and North America in 1900.  This became the Archdiocese of the Aleutians and North America in 1905.

Martysz remained in North America until 1912.  He served first in Alaska.  Our saint was responsible for churches and chapels on Spruce and Woody Islands, near Kodiak.  He and his family sacrificed in frontier conditions.  Our saint spent weeks away from home, traveling by kayak, as Olga raised their first two children, daughters born in 1902 and 1904.  The family lived in Afognak then in Kodiak.  Martysz also taught in the church school and in two ecclesiastical homes for poor children.  The family left the wilds of Alaska for the contiguous United States.  A son joined the family in Osceola Mills, Pennsylvania, in 1906.  A third daughter arrived two years later.  Then the family lived in, in order:  Old Forge, Pennsylvania; Waterbury, Connecticut; West Troy, New York; Edmonton, Alberta; and Wostok, Alberta.  Our saint became the archdiocesan dean for Alberta and Manitoba while at Wostok.

The Martysz family returned to Poland in 1912.  They settled in Sosnowiec.  Our saint served as the parish priest and as a teacher at the local girls’ high school.  Then World War I broke out in the summer of 1914.  Russian Orthodox priests were technically civil servants with orders to evacuate.  Bishop Vladimir, back in Russia, provided the Martysz family with an apartment at St. Andronicus Monastery, Moscow.  Our saint taught religious education classes in Valdai until the Bolshevik Revolution (1917f).  Then he earned his living unloading railroad cars and became a target for the Red Army.

Above:  Poland in Europe, 1919

Image in the Public Domain

The Martysz family returned to Poland, newly independent, in 1919.  They went back to Sosnowiec briefly.  That September, they moved to Warsaw, for our saint accepted a new position.  He was in charge of Orthodox Affairs in the Religious Ministry of the War Department.  He forced and organized the Orthodox chaplaincy in the Polish Army.  Martysz, promoted to colonel in 1921, became that head of that chaplaincy.  He also received the title of archpriest from the Church.

Martysz also aldvised Metropolitans of Warsaw and All Poland.  Metroplitan George and our saint worked for the autocephaly of the Polish Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate.  After the assassination of Metropolitan George on February 8, 1923, Martysz continued to work for Polish Orthodox autocephaly with Metropolican Dionysius.  The Ecumenical Patriarchate recognized the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church in 1925.  St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow (1917-1925), died on April 25.  The office of Patriarch of Moscow remained vacant until 1943.  The Moscow Patriarchate recognized Polish autocephaly in 1948.

Martysz remained the head of the Orthodox chaplaincy in the Polish Army until he retired in 1936.  During the years he held this job, he labored faithfully.  For example, he supervised ministry to Ukrainian internees along the Polish border immediately after World War I.  Our saint appointed and trained chaplains for them.  Martysz also celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Ukrainian for more than 5,000 internees at one camp on July 8, 1921.

Our saint, Olga, and their widowed mothers settled in Teratyn in 1936.  Retirement was peaceful for a few years.  During World War II life became difficult.  The village dwindled.  Both mothers died.  Olga died in 1943.  Helen (our saint’s youngest daughter), her husband, and their daughter moved in, to support the retired archpriest.  In the final days of World War II, bandits searching for wealth were breaking into homes and killing the inhabitants.  Our saint, 71 years old, refused to leave his home.  He suffered terribly before he died.  The men who killed him kicked and nearly killed his pregnant daughter, who miscarried.

The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America list Martysz as a martyr.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 20, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SEBASTIAN CASTELLIO, PROPHET OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH, HYMN WRITER AND ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF ELLEN GATES STARR, U.S. EPISCOPALIAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL ACTIVIST AND REFORMER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA JOSEFA SANCHO DE GUERRA, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SERVANTS OF JESUS

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL RODIGAST, GERMAN LUTHERAN ACADEMIC AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love

in the heart of your holy martyr Saint Basil Martysz:

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love,

that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example:

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

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Feast of Angus Dun (May 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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ANGUS DUN (MAY 4, 1892-AUGUST 12, 1971)

Episcopal Bishop of Washington, and Ecumenist

Bishop Angus Dun comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible (1951f), a project on which he was one of the Consulting Editors.

Dun grew up in the Reformed Church in America.  He, born in New York, New York, on May 4, 1892, was a son of Henry Walke Dun (1853-1928) and Sarah Hazard Dun (1859-1929).  Our saint contracted polio at the age of 11 years.  Complications led to the amputation of one leg during his youth.  Dun matriculated at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, in 1910.

Dun spent most of his life as an Episcopalian.  He converted to The Episcopal Church in college.  After our saint graduated from Yale University in 1914, he matriculated at the Episcopal Theological School (hereafter, ETS), Cambridge, Massachusetts (Class of 1917).  Dun married Catherine Whipple Pew (1893-1978) in 1916.  The couple had two sons.  Our saint, ordained a deacon then a priest in 1917, simultaneously served in the Episcopal congregations in Lexington and Ayer, Massachusetts.  He also served as a civilian chaplain at Camp Devens during World War I.  In 1919 and 1920, respectively, Dun studied in Oxford, England, and in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Then he began his career (1920-1944) at ETS.  Our saint taught systematic theology, starting in 1920, then became the Dean in 1940.

Dun led the Diocese of Washington, encompassing the District of Columbia and part of Maryland, from 1944 to 1962.  He sought to proclaim to Gospel to all segments of society within the boundaries of the diocese, regardless of racial, economic, and other categories.  Our saint, a white man who opposed racial segregation in society and the Church, became a target of ire of many segregationists; he became “Black Angus.”  Dun, close to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was one of the officiants at FDR’s White House funeral in 1945.  Our saint, like Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), another Christian Realist, tried to balance idealism and realism in the context of the common good.  In October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Dun stated:

The every-family-for-itself approach to fallout shelter construction is immoral, unjust, and contrary to national interest.

Many doctrinaire Christians, especially those not steeped in Christian history, objected to our saint’s acknowledgement that the Church made the creeds, not the other way around.  He was objectively and historically accurate, given the record of councils and synods.

Dun was also an ecumenist.  He became the Secretary of the American Theological Commission for the World Conference on Faith and Order, a predecessor of the World Council of Churches (WCC), in 1937.  His global ecumenism continued through the 1950s.  Our saint represented The Episcopal Church at the first Assembly of the WCC in 1948.  He also sat on the WCC’s Central Committee from 1948 to 1954.  Furthermore, Dun wrote books about ecumenism.  Titles included The Meaning of Unity (1937) and Prospecting for a United Church (1948).

Dun’s other books included:

  1. The King’s Cross:  Meditations on the Seven Last Words (1926);
  2. We Believe:  A Simple Exposition on the Creeds (1934);
  3. Not By Bread Alone (1942);
  4. Behold the City of God:  Meditations on the Christian Faith, the Christian Family, the Christian World, and the World Mission of the Church (1946);
  5. The Christian Conscience and Weapons of Mass Destruction (1950); and
  6. The Saving Person (1957).

Dun also served on the denominational level.  He sat on the Executive Committee of The Episcopal Church and chaired the Department of Religious Education and the Episcopal Joint Commission on Ecumenical Relations.

Angus Dun, Order of the British Empire (1953), retired in 1962.  He died in Washington, D.C., on August 12, 1971.  Our saint was 79 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 18, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT LEONIDES OF ALEXANDRIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, 202; ORIGEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN; SAINT DEMETRIUS OF ALEXANDRIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; AND SAINT ALEXANDER OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT CYRIL OF JERUSALEM, BISHOP, THEOLOGIAN, AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF ELIZA SIBBALD ALDERSON, POET AND HYMN WRITER; AND JOHN BACCHUS DYKES, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAUL OF CYPRUS, EASTERN ORTHODOX MARTYR, 760

THE FEAST OF ROBERT WALMSLEY, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST HYMN WRITER

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O heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Angus Dun,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the stature and the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 718

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Coronavirus/COVID-19: Prayers   1 comment

I posted these prayers at GATHERED PRAYERS yesterday.–KRT

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ON THE OCCASION OF A DISASTER

Compassionate God, whose Son Jesus wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus:

Draw near to us in this time of sorrow and anguish,

comfort those who mourn,

strengthen those who are weary,

encourage those in despair,

and lead us all to fullness of life;

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer,

who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God for ever and ever.  Amen.

Readings

Job 14:7-13 or Jeremiah 31:15-20

Psalm 60 or 130 or 80:1-7 or 23

Romans 8:35-38 or Revelation 21:1-7 or Romans 8:18-25

Luke 6:20-26 or Mark 13:14-27

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 733

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IN A TIME OF NATURAL DISASTER

O God, you divided the waters of chaos at creation.

In Christ you stilled storms, raised the dead,

and vanquished demonic powers.

Tame the earthquake, wind, and fire,

and all forces that defy control or shock us by their fury.

Keep us from calling disaster your justice.

Help us, in good times and in distress,

to trust your mercy and yield to your power, this day and for ever.

Amen.

–Andy Langford, in The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992), 509

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DURING A NATIONAL CRISIS

God of ages,

in your sight nations rise and fall,

and pass through times of peril.

Now when our land is troubled,

be near to judge and save.

May leaders be led by your wisdom;

may they search your will and see it clearly.

If we have turned from your way,

help us to reverse our ways and repent.

Give us light and your your truth to guide us;

through Jesus Christ,

who is the Lord of this world, and our Savior.  Amen.

Book of Common Worship (1993), 818

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TIME OF CONFLICT, CRISIS, DISASTER

O God, where hearts are fearful and constricted, grant courage and hope.

Where anxiety is infectious and widening, grant peace and reassurance.

Where impossibilities close every door and and window, grant imagination and resistance.

Where distrust twists our thinking, grant healing and illumination.

Where spirits are daunted and weakened, grand soaring wings and strengthened dreams.

All these things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 76

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TIME OF CIVIC MOURNING

God our creator, through whose providing care we enjoy all goodness and life,

turn our eyes to your mercy at this time of confusion and loss.

Comfort this nation as we mourn;

shine your light on those whose only companion is darkness;

and teach us so to number our days that we may apply our hearts to your wisdom;

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 77

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Posted March 17, 2020 by neatnik2009 in Coronavirus/COVID-19

Feast of Elias Boudinot, IV (May 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Elias Boudinot, IV, 1798

Image Creator = Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Mémin (1770-1852)

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-13207

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ELIAS BOUDINOT, IV (MAY 2, 1740-OCTOBER 24, 1821)

U.S. Statesman, Philanthropist, and Witness for Social Justice

Elias Boudinot, IV, 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).

Elias Boudinot, IV, was an attorney.  He, a son of Mary Catherine Williams (Boudinot) and Elias Boudinot, III (a silversmith and a merchant), debuted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 2, 1740.  Our saint, who had eight siblings, read law under his Richard Stockton (1730-1781), husband of one of our saint’s sisters, in Princeton, New Jersey.  (Stockton went on to sign the Declaration of Independence.)  Boudinot became an attorney in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in 1760.  He married Hannah Stockton (1736-1808), sister of Richard, in 1762.  The couple had two children.

Boudinot, a friend of George Washington, affiliated with the pro-independence cause relatively early.  He became a member of the Essex County Committee of Correspondence in 1774.  Three years later, our saint became the Commissary General of Prisoners (Continental Army) and joined the Second Continental Congress.  He resigned from Congress the following year.  Boudinot served in the Confederation Congress from 1781 to 1784, under the Articles of Confederation.  He also served a year (1782-1783) as President of the United States in Congress Assembled.  In that capacity, our saint signed the Treaty of Paris of 1783, by which the British Empire recognized that the United States (still plural) were no longer part of that empire.

Boudinot also helped to transform the United States from a confederation of thirteen countries into one country, then to build it up.  He advocated for the ratification of the proposed Constitution of the United States (1787) and helped to secure New Jersey’s ratification (1787) of that document.  Boudinot served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1789 to 1795.  National political parties formed at the end of his tenure in the U.S. Congress.  Boudinot, initially part of the pro-Administration faction, passed logically into the new Federalist Party in 1794.  He served as the Director of the U.S. Mint from 1795 to 1805.

Boudinot was a devout Presbyterian.  He served as a trustee of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) from 1772 to 1821.  Our saint, drawing from Reformed theology, wrote The Age of Revelation (1801), a rebuttal of Thomas Paine‘s The Age of Reason, Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology (1794).  Boudinot argued against Paine’s Deism.  Our saint, from a theological tradition that taught that the two books of God are the Bible and nature, accepted science and sound theology as being mutually compatible.

Boudinot, like many people of the time, wondered about the origins of the First Nations.  He thought that they descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.  Our saint explained this in A Star in the West (1816), years prior to Joseph Smith‘s alleged revelation in western New York.

One may suppose credibly that, given Boudinot’s acceptance of science, he would, if he were alive in 2020, accept the genetic evidence discrediting his proposal from 1816.  Contrast Boudinot’s pro-science approach, O reader, with Mormon epistomology, which boils down to ignoring evidence that contradicts a conclusion, and seeking to know that an objectively false proposition is true by having enough faith.

Boudinot’s interest in indigenous peoples combined with his faith to lead him to defend the rights of First Nations against his fellow white people and the federal government.  He sponsored some indigenous youth, students in New England.  One of these youths was a Cherokee named Galagina (circa 1803-1839).  Galagina, with permission, took the name “Elias Boudinot,” after his benefactor.

Boudinot also opposed slavery.  He wrote to defenders of the Peculiar Institution:

How will you answer, in the great day of inquisition for blood, for the share you have had in that horrid traffic in the souls of men, called the Guinea trade?  How will you account for the contradiction between your national declarations in the day of distress and humiliation, and your political conduct, under the smiles of divine Providence, since your deliverance has been effected?

Boudinot also helped to found the American Bible Society in 1816.  He served as its first president, until 1821.  The Society distributed nearly 100,000 Bibles by 1820.

Boudinot, generous in life, was generous in his will.  Our saint made bequests to various charitable causes.  For example, he gave 13,000 acres to the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to provide wood at low cost to poor people.  Another bequest was $200 (the equivalent of $4,720.40 in 2020) to buy eyeglasses for poor people with bad vision, so they could read the Bible.

Boudinot died in Burlington, New York, on October 24, 1821.  He was 81 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 17, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PATRICK, APOSTLE OF IRELAND

THE FEAST OF EBENEZER ELLIOTT, “THE CORN LAW RHYMER”

THE FEAST OF HENRY SCOTT HOLLAND, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER AND PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAN SARKANDER, SILESIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND “MARTYR OF THE CONFESSIONAL,” 1620

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA BARBARA MAIX, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY

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

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

Help us, like your servant Elias Boudinot, IV,

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 (2016), 60

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Feast of Diet Eman, Hein Sietsma, and Henk Sietsma (April 30)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of The Netherlands

Image in the Public Domain

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BERNANDINA ROELOFINA HENDRIKA “DIET” EMAN (APRIL 30, 1920-SEPTEMBER 3, 2019)

fiancée of

HEIN SIETSMA (OCTOBER 15, 1919-JANUARY 21, 1945)

Martyr, 1945

brother of

HENDRIK “HENK” SIETSMA (OCTOBER 18, 1921-MAY 10, 2002)

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RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS

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…we wanted to obey God to help the Jewish people.

–Diet Eman

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Diet (pronounced “deet”) Eman comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via news accounts of her death in September 2019.  Her fiancé and his brother join her her via their work with her.  All three saints are Yad Vashem, or Righteous Among the Nations–the brothers since 1977 and Diet since 1998.

These saints were Dutch Reformed Christians.  Bernandina Roelofina Hendrika Eman, born in The Hague, The Netherlands, on April 30, 1920, was a daughter of Gerrit Eman (1883-1975) and Johanna Maria Brouwer Eman (1884-1978).  She met Hein Sietsma, born in Marum, The Netherlands, on October 15, 1919, in 1937.  The two of them eventually fell in love.  Almost immediately after the Nazi invasion of The Netherlands, Diet, Hein, and his brother Hendrik “Henk” (born on October 18, 1921) joined the resistance to the occupation.

The three were founders and members of Group Hein, also known as Help Elkander in Nood, or “Helping Each Other in Need.”  Group Hein/Help Elkander in Nood sheltered Jews, as well as British and American airmen behind the lines.  The group saved the lives of nine Jewish families plus eleven Jewish individuals.  Supplying and hiding these Jews and airmen was risky; the Third Reich and its agents disapproved of saving these lives and producing fake IDs.

Nazi authorities arrested all three saints.  They arrested Hein in Friesland on April 28, 1944.  He died at Dachau concentration camp on January 21, 1945.  In his last letter (written on toilet paper) to Diet, he acknowledged that the couple would never meet again in this life, and wrote,

Love conquers all.

Henk survived Dachau concentration camp, though.  Diet, eventually arrested, went to Vught concentration camp.  Her assigned task was to wash the bloody clothes of executed prisoners.  At her trial she successfully played dumb.  The court released her, and she resumed her work with the resistance.

Henk, aged 80 years, died on May 10, 2002.

Diet spent the next thirty-plus years not discussing her wartime experiences.  She, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) left The Netherlands after World War II.  She, having obtained her nursing degree, worked as a nurse for the Shell Oil Company in South America for a decade.  There she met and married Egon Erlich (1928-2017), an American.  The couple had children and moved to New York state.  The marriage ended in divorce.  Diet and her children relocated to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Diet, who told her story publicly in 1978 then many times afterward, remained active in health care.  After our saint retired from nursing, she volunteered with the American Red Cross and served as a medical missionary with the Luke Society, from her seventies to her nineties.  At age 97, Diet was a volunteer in the Dominican Republic.  She also told her story in writing and in person.  Our saint’s book was Things We Couldn’t Say (1999).  During the early 2000s, she traveled, telling her story to contradict Holocaust deniers.

Diet became an American citizen in 2007.

She, aged 99 years, died at Samaritas Senior Living of Grand Rapids on September 3, 2019.  Our saint was a member of Seymour Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, the site of the funeral.

The divine commandment to love others as one loves oneself is an order that can place one at great risk.  It is a commandment Diet Eman, Hein Sietsma, and Henk Sietsma followed, for the glory of God and the benefit of many people.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 16, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ADALBALD OF OSTREVANT, RICTRUDIS OF MARCHIENNES, AND THEIR RELATIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM KIDUNAIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT MARY OF EDESSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ANCHORESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CACCIAFRONTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND MARTYR, 1183

THE FEAST OF SAINT MEGINGAUD OF WURZBURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF THOMAS WYATT TURNER, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC SCIENTIST, EDUCATOR, AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST; FOUNDER OF FEDERATED COLORED CATHOLICS

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Lord God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those 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 your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Psalm 94:1-14

Hosea 2:18-23

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Simon B. Parker (April 29)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Seal of Boston University

Image in the Public Domain

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SIMON BRUCE PARKER (FEBRUARY 23, 1940-APRIL 29, 2006)

United Methodist Biblical Scholar

Simon B. Parker comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The New Interpreter’s Bible.  He wrote the article, “The Ancient Near Eastern Literary Background of the Old Testament,” for Volume I (1994).

Parker was a fine Biblical scholar. He, born in Manchester, England, on February 23, 1940, was a son of Harold William Parker and Irene Smith (Parker).  Our saint graduated from the University of Manchester (B.A., 1960).  The following year, he came to the United States of America.  Parker married Sonia Margarita Palmer on August 26, 1961.  The couple had two sons Jeremy Edmund Parker and Jonathan Aldwin Parker.

Parker built a career in academia.  He graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky (B.D., 1963); and The Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D., 1967).  Our saint was, in order:

  1. Assistant Professor, Reed College, Portland, Oregon (1967-1975);
  2. Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon (1976-1977);
  3. Assistant to the President, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (1978-1981);
  4. Associate Dean, The School of Theology, Boston University (1981-1988); and
  5. Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Harrell F. Beck Scholar in Hebrew Scholar, The School of Theology, Boston University (1988-2006).

Parker was an expert in Hebrew inscriptions and Ugaritic literature.  His research focus was Canaanite cultural influences on Israel.  He, the author of many articles and book reviews, and edited the Society of Biblical Literature’s Writings from the Ancient World series of books for eight years.  Our saint also wrote The Pre-Biblical Narrative Tradition (1988) and Stories in Scripture and Inscriptions (1997).

Furthermore, Parker enjoyed hiking and played classical piano well.

Parker served as the moderator of the United Parish of Auburndale, Auburndale, Newton, Massachusetts, from 1992 to 1994.  I have noticed with delight that the federated United Church of Christ-United Methodist congregation is substantially to the left of the administration of Asbury Theological Seminary.

Parker died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Auburndale, Newton, Massachusetts, on April 29, 2006.  He was 66 years old.

One may legitimately wonder what other contributions to Biblical scholarship Parker may have made, had he lived longer.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACHARY OF ROME, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JAN ADALBERT BALICKI AND LADISLAUS FINDYSZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN POLAND

THE FEAST OF OZORA STEARNS DAVIS, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VETHAPPAN SOLOMON, APOSTLE TO THE NICOBAR ISLANDS

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Simon B. Parker 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 William Stringfellow (April 28)   1 comment

Above:  William Stringfellow

Fair Use

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FRANK WILLIAM STRINGFELLOW (APRIL 26, 1928-MARCH 2, 1985)

Episcopal Attorney, Theologian, and Social Activist

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I think they need to hear it.

–William Stringfellow, explaining why he read long passages of the Bible to the F.B.I. agents recording his telephone calls

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This is the man America should be listening to.

Karl Barth, on Stringfellow, early 1960s

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It is profane, as well as grandiose, to manipulate the Bible in order to apologize for America.

–William Stringfellow, An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land (1973)

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For thousands of us, he became the honored keeper and guardian of the Word of God.

Daniel Berrigan, 1985

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William Stringfellow comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via five sources.  He is on the short list of people The Episcopal Church will probably list officially as a saint once the “fifty-year-rule” (to which the denomination has made notable exceptions) ceases to be a barrier.  Stringfellow’s name appears in this context in the back of Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010) and its successor, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016).  Cloud of Witnesses, 2d. ed (2005), edited by Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday, contains Wallis’s remembrance of his friend of 14 years.  A Year with American Saints (2006), by G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, features Stringfellow.  So does All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), by Robert Ellsberg.

Stringfellow was a prophet.  He was, by definition, also a controversial figure.  Our saint was the kind of man certain contemporary reactionaries would dismiss cynically as a “social justice warrior.” Stringfellow would, in a counterfactual scenario in which he would have heard that term, probably have considered it a compliment and read the Book of Amos to his critics.  He did, after all, read long Biblical passages to the F.B.I. spooks who recorded this telephone calls.  That was better than what some other spied-upon U.S. citizens did in identical circumstances–frequently insult J. Edgar Hoover profanely.

Stringfellow stood up for what he believed.  He condemned economic injustice, racism, institutionalized segregation, homophobia, misogyny, sexual promiscuity, and other offenses.  Our saint also advocated for the ordination of women within The Episcopal Church long before 1976, when the General Convention approved the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate.  His opposition to the Vietnam War and to nuclear weapons also made him many enemies on the Right.

Frank William Stringfellow was a man who allowed the Bible to shape him.  He was a radical and a strong social critic who walked the walk.  Our saint, born in Johnston, Rhode Island, on April 26, 1928, was a life-long Episcopalian.  At age fifteen, he matriculated at Bates College, Lewiston, Massachusetts.  When Stringfellow left Bates College, he studied at the London School of Economics.  Our saint served in the Second Armored Division, U.S. Army, during World War II.  Next, he earned his J.D. degree at Harvard Law School.

Stringfellow moved into a slum in Harlem after he graduated from Harvard Law School.  He joined the East Harlem Protestant Parish, taught Biblical studies, and practiced law.  He remained in Harlem until 1967.  Our saint moved for health-related reasons; a metabolism-related disorder that led to diabetes affected him.  Stringfellow and platonic partner, poet Anthony Towne (died in 1980), a Methodist, moved to Block Island, New Shoreham, Rhode Island.

All evidence points to Stringfellow being a celibate, semi-closeted homosexual.  This matter, relevant to his life and activism, does not offend me.  (Stringfellow no more chose to be homosexual than I chose to be heterosexual.)

Theologically, Stringfellow was neo-orthodox.  He read works by Karl Barth (with whom he had a conversation in Harlem in the early 1960s) and Jacques Ellul.  The neo-orthodox theology of original sin pervading neo-orthodoxy was evident in his writings, including many of his books.  The presence of original sin in American culture and social institutions was one of Stringfellow’s most controversial topics.  He objected to reading the Bible through (dominant) American cultural eyes.  Rather, our saint interpreted (dominant) American culture through Biblical lenses.  He concluded that the Bible condemned his culture and his society’s institutions.  That proved to be controversial when

My country, right or wrong

was a popular slogan for many people.

Stringfellow’s views and activism placed him on J. Edgar Hoover’s radar, hence the wire-tapping.  When our saint’s friend, Father Daniel Berrigan (1921-2016) was a fugitive for having destroyed military draft records, Stringfellow and Toyne sheltered him for four months.  F.B.I. agents raided the house on Block Island and arrested all three.  The court eventually dropped the charges (of sheltering a fugitive) against Stringfellow and Towne, though.

Stringfellow, in constant pain during his final years, died at home on March 2, 1985.  He was 56 years old.

Stringfellow defined being holy as

being truly human.

By that standard, of being the best person one can be, our saint was holy.

Stringfellow’s prophetic witness remains relevant, unfortunately.  I write “unfortunately” because the United States of America, my country, has continued collectively and officially down a path contrary to the high moral standards Stringfellow championed.  I wonder what the FOX News Channel (according to which Mister Rogers was evil) would have said about Stringfellow, had it existed when he was alive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 14, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FANNIE LOU HAMER, PROPHET OF FREEDOM

THE FEAST OF ALBERT LISTER PEACE, ORGANIST IN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND

THE FEAST OF HARRIET KING OSGOOD MUNGER, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF NEHEMIAH GOREH, INDIAN ANGLICAN PRIEST AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS VINCENZINA CUSMANO, SUPERIOR OF THE SISTERS SERVANTS OF THE POOR; AND HER BROTHER, SAINT GIACOMO CUSMANO, FOUNDER OF THE SISTERS SERVANTS OF THE POOR AND THE MISSIONARY SERVANTS OF THE POOR

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness in the care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may

do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight,

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer,

who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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