Archive for April 2021

Blogging Update–April 30, 2021   Leave a comment

SUNDRY THOUGHTS is one of seven weblogs I maintain.

This weblog has been my blogging focus for a few months.  I have decided, however, to switch gears, so to speak.  I have prepared the list of “new” saints with feast days in December yet chosen to set that list aside for a few months, at least.

I have other projects underway and in the planning stage.

  1. I am preparing notes for the Season after Pentecost, Revised Common Lectionary, Year B.  These notes are for my use, in my capacity as an adult Christian educator.  (I teach a lectionary discussion class.)
  2. After I complete all those notes, I plan to return to non-lectionary-based Bible study as a blogging project.  I intend to select a plan from a file folder full of plans, start reading and writing, and eventually commence that blogging project at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.
  3. Sometime before the end of 2021, I intend to begin drafting devotional posts for the First Sunday of Advent 2022-Shrove Tuesday 2023, according to Year A of the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship Lectionary (1973), as found in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) and Lutheran Worship (1982).  I will publish these posts at ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, AND EPIPHANY DEVOTIONS and at BLOGA THEOLOGICA.
  4. I intend to publish at SUNDRY THOUGHTS occasionally for a few months, until I return to A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

In the meantime, the clock continues to count down at LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS.  Daily, I change dates on extant posts and transfer them from the 2021 category and into the 2022 category.  ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS, with devotions for each day from the Monday after Pentecost to the day before the First Sunday of Advent, will pick up where LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS ends.

Be well, O reader.  May God’s best for you be your reality.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 30, 2021 COMMON ERA

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POSTSCRIPT

I have decided that my next blogging project, at BLOGA THEOLOGICA, will be the Hebrew prophets, in chronological order, more or less.  I have read all of these books, but a refresher course is a good idea.

KRT

MAY 5, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Posted April 30, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Various Memories and Opinions

Feast of the Jesuit Martyrs of Paraguay (November 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  Map of the Province of Paraguay, 1600

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ROQUE GONZÂLEZ DE LA CRUZ (NOVEMBER 17, 1576-NOVEMBER 15, 1628)

Spanish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1628

Alternative feast day = November 15

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SAINT ALPHONSUS RODRÍGUEZ OLMEDO (MARCH 10, 1595-NOVEMBER 15, 1628)

Spanish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1628

Alternative feast day = November 15

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SAINT JUAN DE CASTILLO (SEPTEMBER 14, 1595-NOVEMBER 17, 1628)

Spanish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1628

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Collective alternative feast day = November 17

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God does not command the Gospel of Our Lord to be preached with the noise of arms and with pillage.  What He rather commands is the example of a good life and teaching.

–St. Roque González de la Cruz, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 497

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The Jesuit Martyrs of Paraguay come to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church, as well as Elllsberg, All Saints (1997).

The Jesuit missions in South American proclaimed the Gospel of Christ and shielded part of the indigenous population from slavery.  Many European colonists enjoyed exploiting the native people of South America for financial gain.  Therefore, powerful political forces in Europe in the Spanish colonies in the New World pushed back against the Jesuits’ missionary efforts.  Also, some indigenous people did not differentiate between the Jesuits shielding them from slavers and the European slavers.

These three saints lived, worked, and died in this perilous context.

St. Roque González, a son of Spanish colonists, entered the world at Asunción, Paraguay, on November 17, 1576.  His parents, Bartholomé González y de Villaverde and María de Santa Cruz, were from noble families.  Our saint grew up bilingual in Spanish and Guariní.  He, ordained a priest in 1598, became a Jesuit in 1609.  The Jesuits sent him to serve as a missionary in what is now Brazil, but was then within the borders of the Spanish Province of Paraguay.  González was the first person of European ancestry to enter what is now the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.  He founded the missions of San Ignacio Mani (1613), Itapúa (1615). Concepción de la Siena Candelaria (1619), San Javier, San Nicolás, Asunción del Ijui, and Todos los Santos de Caaró (1628).

Above:  The Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul

Scanned from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

González worked with St. Juan de Castillo.  Castillo, born in Belmonte, Toledo, Spain, on September 14, 1595.  He studied law at the University of Alcalá then became a lawyer.  Yet Castillo found that career unfulfilling.  Therefore, he joined the Society of Jesus on March 21, 1614, with the intention of becoming a priest.  Castillo and St. Alphonsus Rodríguez Olmedo traveled to South America together in November 1616.

St. Alphonsus Rodríguez Olmedo, born in Zamora, Spain, on March 10, 1598, joined the Society of Jesus in Villagarcía de Campos, Valladolid.

Castillo, ordained a priest, spent the rest of his life as a missionary.  He joined González at Ijui.  González left there to found another mission while Castillo ministered at Ijui (now in Brazil).

Rodríguez served in the missions of Paraná and Itapuá in 1628.  Later that year, he helped González found Todos los Santos de Caaró.  On November 15, 1628, González was preparing to supervise the installation of the new bell at the mission church.  However, local chieftain Nheçu had ordered the deaths of the Jesuits there.  González and Rodríguez died via tomahawks.  Hostile tribesmen dragged the corpses into the church and burned it.

Two days later, at Ijui, Castillo also became a martyr, on the orders of Nheçu.

The Jesuit missions in South America continued until 1773, when Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Society of Jesus.  That shameful incident is the backdrop for The Mission (1986).

Holy Mother Church formally recognized these three martyrs.  Pope Pius XI declared them Venerables in 1933 then Beati in 1934.  Pope John Paul II canonized them in 1988.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 30, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAMES MONTGOMERY, ANGLICAN AND MORAVIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DIET EMAN; HER FIANCÉ, HEIN SIETSMA, MARTYR, 1945; AND HIS BROTHER, HENDRIK “HENK” SIETSMA; RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS

THE FEAST OF JAMES RUSSELL WOODFORD, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF ELY, HYMN TRANSLATOR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN ROSS MACDUFF AND GEORGE MATHESON, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTERS AND AUTHORS

THE FEAST OF SARAH JOSEPHA BUELL HALE, U.S. POET, AUTHOR, EDITOR, AND PROPHETIC WITNESS

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame

of your love in the hearts of your holy martyrs

Saint Roque González de la Cruz,

Saint Alphonsus Rodríguez Olmedo,

and Saint Juan de Castillo:

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

that we who rejoice in their triumph may profit by their 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 Gabriel Richard (October 15)   Leave a comment

Above:  Detroit in 1800

Image in the Public Domain

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GABRIEL JACQUES RICHARD (OCTOBER 15, 1767-SEPTEMBER 13, 1832)

French-American Roman Catholic Missionary Priest in Michigan

Father Gabriel Richard comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget (1763-1850), under whom he served.

Gabriel Jacques Richard was French.  He, born in La Ville de Saintes on October 15, 1767, matriculated at the theological seminary in Angers in 1784.  Ordained to the priesthood on October 15, 1790, our saint sailed for the United States of America in 1792.  He arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, and began to teach mathematics at St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore.

John Carroll (1735-1815), the Bishop of Baltimore (1789-1807) then the Archbishop of Baltimore (1807-1815), appointed Richard to perform missionary work in Michigan in 1798.  The 31-year-old priest arrived in Detroit on June 16, 1798 (the Feast of Corpus Christi), to begin serving at St. Anne’s Church as assistant priest.   He served as the parish’s pastor from 1802 to 1832.

Detroit was a small town in 1798; the population was about 1,200.  About half of that population was French-born.  Forests and a lack of good roads cut Detroit off from the rest of the world, by land.  The streets were muddy, there were no schools, and the main business was trading liquor for furs from Native Americans.

Richard set about improving the community.  He started schools that taught the “three R’s,” as well as dressmaking, sewing, and weaving.  He helped to organize relief efforts after the great fire of 1805.  Our saint appointed a town crier, who announced the news from the steps of St. Anne’s Church every Sunday.  The priest also posted news for the literate people every week.  Richard founded and published The Michigan Essay, the first newspaper in Michigan, in 1809.  The town crier had a greater audience than the newspaper.  Our saint also published many books, including The Child’s Spelling Book.

Richard accumulated a private library of 240 volumes.  Topics ranged from theology to science, and included navigation, surveying, teaching methods for the deaf and the mute, and mathematics.

About half of the population consisted of Protestants, who had no pastor of their own.  In 1807, Richard accepted their invitation to fill this vacancy.  He served as their pastor (while also serving at St. Anne’s Church) until 1816, when Presbyterian John Monteith (1788-1868) arrived.  Monteith went on to serve as the pastor of the First Protestant Society of Detroit (founded in 1818) then of the First Presbyterian Church, one of its successors.  Richard and Monteith, friends, worked together to improve education in Detroit.  They were two of the founders of the Catholepistemiad (1817-1832), forerunner of the University of Michigan.

Richard, under the authority of Bishop Flaget after the latter’s consecration, functioned as a missionary to local indigenous people.  He won their respect.  During the War of 1812, our saint was a prisoner of war of the British.  The priest, who ministered to indigenous allies of the British Empire, had sworn allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America.  Chief Tecumseh (c. 1768-1813) helped to secure Richard’s release.  The chief promised not to fight for the British unless they freed the priest.

Richard served a term (1823-1825) as the non-voting delegate of the Territory of Michigan (modern-day Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota) in the United States Congress.  Our saint, despite having no vote, helped to get the funds for the Detroit-Chicago road.

Richard nearly became the first Bishop of Detroit.  He had excommunicated a parishioner.  The excommunication had damaged the man’s business, so he sued our saint.  The court sided with the businessman and fined the priest $1,117 (between $31,000 and $35,000 in 2021 currency).  The priest could not pay the fine.  Our saint was, therefore, an involuntary guest in the sheriff’s home until some parishioners arranged for Richard’s release.  Our saint, chosen to be the first Bishop of Detroit before news of the legal matter reached Rome, remained a priest.  The first Bishop of Detroit assumed office in 1833, after Richard had died.

Cholera swept through Detroit in 1832.  Our saint ministered to victims until he contracted the disease.  He, aged 64 years, died on September 13, 1832.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 29, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC AND RELIGIOUS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS BOSA OF YORK, JOHN OF BEVERLEY, WILFRID THE YOUNGER, AND ACCA OF HEXHAM, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF JAMES EDWARD WALSH, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY BISHOP AND POLITICAL PRISONER IN CHINA

THE FEAST OF SIMON B. PARKER, UNITED METHODIST BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF TIMOTHY REES, WELSH ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER AND BISHOP OF LLANDAFF

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant Father Gabriel Richard,

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 full stature of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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Face Masks   Leave a comment

MUTUALITY, PUBLIC SAFETY, TUCKER CARLSON, AND THE FOX NOISE CHANNEL

As circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have changed, so has official guidance.  For example, now that vaccines for people aged 16 years or older have become more widely available in the United States of America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new guidelines regarding the wearing of face masks in public.  This pandemic has presented many challenges.  Public health professionals, whose sole agenda is to save lives, have had to study a proverbial moving target.  Hence, official guidelines have changed over time.

The target continues to move.  Therefore, data remains incomplete.  We need to remember that as we focus on what we can know in real time.  We can know much.  Whether the situation improves or worsens and how quickly it does that depends greatly on how we behave as individuals, societies, institutions, and governments.  May we not squander blessed progress.

Tucker Carlson, of the FOX Noise Channel, has encouraged people who think as he does to confront those still wearing face masks outdoors.  I have learned to expect especially potent and rich organic fertilizer from the FOX Noise Channel and from Carlson, in particular.  They have long presented themselves as champions of freedom, of a sort–freedom from, not freedom to.  During the last four or so years, in particular, the FOX Noise Channel has actually embraced a Nativistic, White nationalistic, and fascistic agenda as part of Donald Trump’s fascistic death cult of personality.  Even certain prominent Republicans (principled conservatives, I call them), former office holders, have noticed this with great alarm.

Fascism is not freedom.  No, it is a form of tyranny.

I am fully vaccinated.  Therefore, according to the most recent official guidance, I may safely and responsibly forgo wearing face masks outdoors under certain circumstances.  Sometimes I do forgo wearing face masks outdoors.  If, for example, nobody else is around, I do not wear face masks outdoors.  Yet I still wear two face masks outdoors sometimes.  For example, I wear them when walking on sidewalks.  I try to maintain a social distance from other people, but that is not always possible.  Besides, assuming that someone is at least 16 years old, I cannot look at him or her and tell if he or she is unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or fully vaccinated.  By wearing two face masks, I am not endangering anyone, corrupting anyone’s morals, or behaving indecently.  Therefore, nobody has the moral right to confront me for wearing two face masks outdoors.

I leave Carlson and company at the FOX Noise Channel to their fascistic death cult of personality.  If they want to compete for the Darwin Awards, that is their choice.  It is a bad one, but it is still their option.  I have the moral right to object when thew spew organic fertilizer that needlessly endangers human lives.

Perhaps I really do not have to wear two face masks when walking on sidewalks..  If I err, I hope to do so on the side of caution and mutuality.  This is part of my applied interpretation of the Golden Rule.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 29, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Feast of Guy Ignatius Chabrat and Pierre Joseph Lavialle (November 21)   1 comment

Above:  The Old Seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Image in the Public Domain

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GUY IGNATIUS CHABRAT (DECEMBER 27, 1787-NOVEMBER 21, 1868)

Roman Catholic Bishop Coadjutor of Bardstown then of Louisville, Kentucky

cousin of

PIERRE JOSEPH LAVIALLE (JULY 15, 1820-MAY 11, 1867)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Louisville, Kentucky

Also known as Peter Joseph Lavialle

Bishop Guy Ignatius Chabrat comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget (1763-1850)Bishop Pierre (Peter) Joseph Lavialle comes here via his cousin, Bishop Chabrat.

Guy Ignatius Chabrat was French.  He, born in La Chambre, Savoie, on December 28, 1787, was a son of Pierre Chabrat and Louise (Lavialle) Chabrat.  Our saint matriculated at the Sulpician seminary in Clermont.  Ordained a subdeacon in 1809, Chabrat accepted the newly-appointed Bishop Flaget‘s invitation to come to the new Diocese of Bardstown, Kentucky.  Chabrat sailed with Flaget in 1810 and arrived with him in Bardstown on June 9, 1811.  Flaget ordained him a priest on Christmas Day, 11, making Chabrat the first Roman Catholic priest ordained west of the Allegheny Mountains.

Chabrat ministered in Kentucky.  He served at, in order:

  1. St. Michael’s Church, Fairfield;
  2. St. Clare’s Church, Colesburg; and
  3. St. Pius Church, Georgetown.

In 1824, Father Charles Nerinckx (b. 1761), founder of the Sisters of Loretto, a teaching order, died.  Chabrat succeeded him as the superior of that order.

Pope Gregory XVI appointed Chabrat the Bishop Coadjutor of Bardstown and the Titular Bishop of Bolina on March 21, 1834.  Consecrated on July 20, our saint served for more than a decade.  He functioned as the chief administrator in lieu of the aged Flaget.  The Diocese of Bardstown became the Diocese of Louisville in 1837, so Chabrat became the Bishop Coadjutor of Louisville.

In 1842, Chabrat invited his maternal cousin, Pierre (Peter) Joseph Lavialle, to join the Diocese of Louisville.  Lavialle, born in Mauriac, Cantal, on July 15, 1820, was a Sulpician seminarian in 1842.  He completed his theological education at St. Thomas Seminary, Bardstown, Kentucky.  Lavialle, ordained to the priesthood on February 2, 1844, served as the Curate of the Cathedral of the Assumption, Louisville, until 1849.

Meanwhile, Chabrat’s eyesight was failing.  He resigned in 1847, returned to France, and lived on a generous pension.

Above:  The Basilica of St. Joseph and the Former St. Thomas Seminary, Bardstown, Kentucky

Image Source = Google Earth

Lavialle remained in the United States of America.  He taught theology at St. Thomas Seminary, Bardstown (next to the Basilica of St. Joseph) from 1849 to 1856,  Then our saint was the President of St. Mary’s College, St. Mary, Kentucky (1856f).  He refused an appointment as Archbishop of New Orleans in 1860.

Above:  The Cathedral of the Assumption, Louisville, Kentucky (Completed in 1852)

Image Source = Google Earth

However, on September 24, 1865, Lavialle received consecration as the Bishop of Louisville.  He succeeded Martin John Spalding (1810-1872), who had transferred to become the Archbishop of Baltimore (1864-1872).  Lavialle’s tenure as the Bishop of Louisville was brief yet fruitful.  He did much to build up the diocese before he, aged 46 years, died on May 11, 1867,

Chabrat, aged 80 years, died in Mauriac, Cantal, France, on November 21, 1868.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 29, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC AND RELIGIOUS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS BOSA OF YORK, JOHN OF BEVERLEY, WILFRID THE YOUNGER, AND ACCA OF HEXHAM, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF JAMES EDWARD WALSH, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY BISHOP AND POLITICAL PRISONER IN CHINA

THE FEAST OF SIMON B. PARKER, UNITED METHODIST BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF TIMOTHY REES, WELSH ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER AND BISHOP OF LLANDAFF

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Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops and leaders of your Church.

May the memory of their lives be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith,

so that we may serve you and confess your name before the world;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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Academic Freedom, Part I   3 comments

AND ASSAULTS UPON IT

Academic freedom is precious.  It is also essential.  The advocacy for academic freedom is a core principle for me.  I strive to speak out for it and to practice it consistently, regardless of whether any given threat to it comes from the Right or the Left.  I aspire to avoid hypocrisy as much as possible.

For years, for example, I have cringed at calls for “safe spaces,” in practical terms, spaces in which to hide from theories and perspectives one does not like.  These kinds of “safe spaces” epitomize a misplaced sense of entitlement run amok.  One purpose of education–higher education, in particular–is to broaden the intellectual horizons of students.  Educators should, of course, teach their assigned subjects; staying on topic is crucial, too.  “Coloring inside the lines,” so to speak does not constitute bowing to censorship and does not indicate any threat to academic freedom.

Many conservatives pretend that liberals (with whom I usually sympathize) have a monopoly on seeking “safe spaces” away from certain perspectives.  Evidence indicates, however, that many conservatives seek “safe spaces” of their own.  This week, in Idaho, the controversial theory du jour is Critical Race Theory.  Moving to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory–even in public colleges and universities in Idaho–constitutes an assault on academic freedom.  Critical Race Theory is germane to certain academic disciplines.  Those whose disciplines include Critical Race Theory should have the right to bring it up when it is applicable.

My experience as a classroom instructor informs my perspective.  The prospect of some authority from on high legally forbidding me to teach a part of my discipline appalls me.  Even the threat of such a law or policy appalls me, regardless of the ideological roots of that prohibition.

Whether a person, institution, or government respects academic freedom is easy to determine.  One needs simply to observe actions and policies.  Deeds reveal creeds.

I have granted my students the right to disagree with me in subjective matters.  Objective reality is what it is.  Therefore, I have marked off for getting facts wrong.  I have also marked off for making incoherent arguments not rooted in facts presented.  That has been fair.  “Back up your arguments,” I have told pupils.  “Think critically,” I have instructed them.  I have returned papers bearing high grades–“A’s”–and comments about why interpretations were wrong.  That was fair, too.  When students fulfilled the terms of the assignment, they earned high grades.  And their interpretations were wrong.  Those interpretations did not affect their grades, nor should they have.  Certain students have expressed surprise at this combination of grade and comments.  These students have also tended to give me favorable evaluations.

In another case, I was grading final essays one semester.  I had specified that the minimum length was to be eight full pages.  One student submitted only four pages.  I read his essay closely.  He backed up his argument with evidence.  His interpretation was rubbish, but he backed everything up with facts.  I assigned his essay a grade of 50.  When the student asked me why, I explained that he had submitted half of an essay, so 50 was the maximum possible grade.  (This was consistent with the terms of my syllabus.  Regardless of content, 50 was the maximum possible grade for a four-page-long essay.)  I told him that, If he had submitted at least eight pages in which he had argued as well as he did in four pages, I would have given him an “A” on the essay.  (I would have.)  Anyhow, he earned an “A” in the course.   He seemed satisfied with my explanation.

I strive to avoid hypocrisy regarding academic freedom.  More people, institutions, and governments, should do the same.  They ought to respect academic freedom.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 28, 2021 COMMON ERA

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Feast of Benedict Joseph Flaget (November 7)   5 comments

Above:  Benedict Joseph Flaget

Image in the Public Domain

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BENEDICT JOSEPH FLAGET (NOVEMBER 7, 1763-FEBRUARY 11, 1850)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Bardstown then of Louisville, Kentucky

Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget 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).

Flaget was French.  He, born at Contournat, near Billom, Auvergne, on November 7, 1763, became an orphan when two years old.  Our saint and his two brothers grew up in the household of an uncle (Canon Benoît Flaget) and an aunt at Billom.  At the age of seventeen years, our saint matriculated at the Sulpician seminary in Clermont.

Flaget became a priest.  He, ordained on All Saints’ Day, 1783, at Issy, taught for years.  Our saint taught theology at Nantes for two years then did the same at Angers.  The anti-clericalism of the French Revolution led to the closing of the seminary at Angers.  Flaget, after returning briefly to Billom in 1791, sailed for the United States of America in January 1792.  He sailed with Étienne (Stephen) Theodore Badin (1768-1853), then a subdeacon, but destined to become the first Roman Catholic priest ordained in the United States of America, on May 25, 1793.  Flaget also sailed with Jean-Baptiste-Marie (John Baptist Mary) David (1761-1841), whom he had recruited to the seminary.

The three future missionaries landed in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 29, 1792.  They proceeded to study English and prepare for their tasks in the New World.  John Carroll (1735-1815), the Bishop of Baltimore (1789-1808) then the Archbishop of Baltimore (1808-1815), assigned Flaget to minister to indigenous people at Fort Vincennes, Northwest Territory (now Indiana).  Our saint arrived on December 21, 1792.  Recalled after two years, he taught at Georgetown College (now University) until 1798.  Then, transferred to Havana, Cuba, in 1798, Flaget eventually returned to Baltimore, in the company of twenty-three students.

Pope Pius VII created the Diocese of Bardstown, Kentucky (out of the Archdiocese of Baltimore), and appointed Flaget the first bishop thereof on April 8, 1808.  Flaget, back in France, initially refused.  Yet he accepted the appointment.  Our saint returned to the United States of America in 1810.  He sailed with friend and colleague Father Simon William Bruté (1779-1839), later the first Bishop of Vincennes.  Another passenger on that vessel was Subdeacon Guy Ignatius Chabrat (1787-1868).  Flaget, consecrated by Archbishop John Carroll in Baltimore on November 4, 1810, arrived in Bardstown on June 9, 1811.

The Diocese of Bardstown was initially vast.  However, as time passed, the Church carved other dioceses out of it.  In 1811, the Diocese of Bardstown included the original Northwest Territory (1787), Kentucky, and Tennessee.  The new diocese was a daunting mission field.  In 1811, after a long and difficult overland journey, Flaget and his entourage arrived in Bardstown.  Shortly after arriving, the new bishop wrote in his journal:

In entering the town, I devoted myself to to all the guardian angels who reside therein, and I prayed to God, with all my heart, to make me an instrument of His glory in this new Diocese.  O my dear brother, have compassion on me, overloaded with so heavy a burden, and pray fervently to God that he would vouchsafe to lighten it.

–Quoted in Cady and Webber. A Year with American Saints (2006), 574

Above:  The Basilica of St. Joseph, Bardstown, Kentucky

Image Source = Google Earth

Flaget was an effective and energetic missionary bishop.  He founded a seminary and parishes.  Construction of his first cathedral, the Basilica of St. Joseph, Bardstown, finished in 1823.  Chabrat became one of Flaget’s missionary priests.  Flaget ordained him, the first Roman Catholic priest ordained west of the Allegheny Mountains, on Christmas Day, 1811.  Flaget also helped to select most of the Roman Catholic bishops consecrated in the United States of America in the 1810-1830s.  John Baptist Mary David (1761-1841), the Bishop Coadjutor of Bardstown (1819-1832), succeeded as the Bishop of Bardstown when Flaget retired, in 1832.  Our saint’s age and health were catching up with him.

David served as the Bishop of Bardstown for less than a year (1832-1833).  Whatever and however great his virtues were, the majority of priests and lay people wanted Flaget back.  Therefore, David resigned and Flaget returned.  Our saint’s second tenure lasted from 1833 to 1850.  His next Bishop Coadjutor was Chabrat, consecrated on July 20, 1834.  By then, the diocese spanned only Kentucky and Tennessee.  Flaget and Chabrat continued to found institutions, build up the diocese, and lay the foundations for future dioceses.  And Flaget traveled in France and Italy (1835-1839).  In his absence, the Diocese of Bardstown became the Diocese of Louisville in 1837.  Chabrat, who had taken over most of the administrative work of the diocese, was going blind.  Therefore, he resigned in 1847 and returned to France.  Flaget needed a new Bishop Coadjutor.

Flaget’s third Bishop Coadjutor was Martin John Spalding, a priest in the diocese.  Spalding was a fine choice, for he was already one of the main administrators of the Diocese of Louisville.  Spalding was the effectively the Bishop of Louisville, starting in 1848, for the aged Flaget all-but officially retired while retaining the title “Bishop of Louisville.”

Flaget, aged 86 years, died in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 11, 1850.

His tomb is in the basement of the Cathedral of the Assumption, Louisville.

Spalding served (officially) as the Bishop of Louisville from 1850 to 1864.  He, appointed the Archbishop of Baltimore (1864-1872), was an uncle of John Lancaster Spalding (1840-1816), the Bishop of Peoria (1877-1908).

Flaget, by the grace of God, functioned as an instrument of divine glory.

May you, O reader, do the same in your context.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 28, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAROSLAV VAJDA, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, HYMN TRANSLATOR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOZEF CEBULA, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1941

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAMPHILIUS OF SULMONA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ALMSGIVER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER CHANEL, PROTOMARTYR OF OCEANIA, 1841

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM STRINGFELLOW, EPISCOPAL ATTORNEY, THEOLOGIAN, AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST

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Almighty God, whose will it is to be glorified in your saints,

and who raised up your servant Benedict Joseph Flaget to be a light in the world:

Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth your praise,

who called us out of darkness into your marvelous light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 98 or 98:1-4

Acts 17:22-31

Matthew 28:16-20

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 717

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Feast of Lucy Menzies (November 24)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Scotland

Image in the Public Domain

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LUCY MENZIES (1882-1954)

Scottish Presbyterian then Anglican Scholar and Mystic

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All mystics from whatever century or country have a conviction of the supreme value of their inner experience of God.  Vision and love are one act in which all blessedness is found.  They find all natural lovely things moving towards the expression of the inexpressible.

–Lucy Menzies, in the introduction to The Revelations or The Flowing Light of the Godhead (1953)

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Lucy Menzies comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Scottish Episcopal Church.  Her feast day in that denomination is November 24.

Lucy Menzies was a daughter of Allan Menzies (1845-1916) and Mary Elizabeth Honey Menzies (d. 1916), both Presbyterians.  Allan, a minister, translated philosophical and theological books from German.  He married Mary Elizabeth, a minister’s daughter, in 1878.  Iona, the Holy Isle, was one of the Menzies family’s favorite vacation spots.  Allan, from 1889 the Professor of Biblical Criticism at St Andrews University, sent his daughters, May and Lucy, to finishing school in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1897.

Lucy became a scholar, predictably.  She made her publishing debut with General Foch at the Marne (1918), translated from French.  Subsequent original works included St. Columba of Iona (1920), A Book of Saints for the Young (1923), The Saints of Italy (1924), and Mirrors of the Holy (1928).  A translation of Abbé de Turville’s Letters of Direction on the Spiritual Life followed in 1939.  Lucy, a longtime friend of Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), had a hand in The Letters of Evelyn Underhill (1943), edited by Charles Williams (1886-1945).  Lucy’s last completed work was The Revelations or The Flowing Light of the Godhead, Translated from the Manuscript in the Library of the Monastery of Einsiedeln (1953).  This was a translation of writings of Mechthild of Magdeburg (1210?-1282/1285).

Lucy, confirmed into The Church of England in 1924, grew deeper in her faith by the help of Underhill, her de facto spiritual director.  Both women conducted spiritual retreats together, starting in the late 1920s.  Lucy served as the warden of the retreat house at Pleshey, Essex (1928-1938).  By 1938, our saint’s health and eyesight were failing, so she left Pleshey.

Above:  All Saints’ Church, St Andrews, Scotland

Image Source = Google Earth

Lucy returned to St Andrews and lived across from All Saints’ Church, where she worshiped.  She, awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by the University of St Andrews in June 1954, died later that year, before completing her biography of Underhill.

Lucy Menzies loved God with all her heart, soul, and mind.  She devoted her intellect to the glorification of God.  And our saint grew into a mystical expression of Christian faith generally alien to the Reformed tradition and much more at home within Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 27, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF NEW JERSEY; AND HIS SON, WILLIAM CROSWELL DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ALBANY; HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANTONY AND THEODOSIUS OF KIEV, FOUNDERS OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONASTICISM; SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT; AND SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, ANGLICAN POET AND RELIGIOUS WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZITA OF TUSCANY, WORKER OF CHARITY

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Lucy Menzies 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 Andreas Peter Berggreen (November 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Andreas Peter Berggreen

Image in the Public Domain

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ANDREAS PETER BERGGREEN (MARCH 2, 1801-NOVEMBER 9, 1880)

Danish Lutheran Musicologist, Organist, Music Educator, and Composer

Also known as Andreas Peter Berggren and Anton Peter Berggreen

Andreas Peter Berggreen comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Methodist Hymnal (1966).  That source lists his name as Anton Peter Berggreen.  This post relies primarily on various hymnal companion volumes.

Berggreen, born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 2, 1801, had a predicament familiar to many people.  His parents wanted him to become an attorney, but he did not.  No, our saint’s passion was for music.  Berggreen’s parents forced him to study law at the University of Copenhagen, but he studied music, too.  His teachers of music included composer Christoph Ernest Friedrich (C.E.F.) Weyse (1774-1842).  Berggreen, once free to decide what to do, pursued a career in music, not law.

Above:  Trinitatis Church, Copenhagen, Denmark

Image Source = Google Earth

Berggreen composed songs, operas, cantatas, and incidental music in the 1820s and 1830s.  Most of those compositions have fallen into obscurity.  He had more success as a musicologist and a music educator.  Fourteen volumes (1834-1876) of songs for use in schools, as well as Folksange og Melodier (1842-1871)–all eleven volumes of it–contributed to Berggreen’s fame.  And the Danish Lutheran Church’s Melodier til Salmebog (1853) contained some of our saint’s hymn tunes.  Berggeen, the organist at Trinitatis Church, Copenhagen (1838-1880), started teaching at the Metropolitan School, Copenhagen, in 1843.  To thoe duties he added those of the Song Inspector (Superintendent) for public schools in Copenhagen in 1859.  Furthermore, Berggreen organized the musical associations for members of the working class.  And he taught composer Niels Gade (1817-1890).

The hymn tunes Berggreen composed included:

  1. ALDRIG ER JEG UDEN VAADE;
  2. AMEN, JESUS HAN SKAL RAADE;
  3. AMEN, SJUNGE HVARJE TUNGA (a.k.a. DANA);
  4. BERGGREEN;
  5. MILLARD;
  6. SALVATOR;
  7. UNDERBAR EN SJÄRNA BLID; and
  8. VITA.

Berggreen, aged 79 years, died in Copenhagen on November 9, 1880.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 27, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF NEW JERSEY; AND HIS SON, WILLIAM CROSWELL DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ALBANY; HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANTONY AND THEODOSIUS OF KIEV, FOUNDERS OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONASTICISM; SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT; AND SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, ANGLICAN POET AND RELIGIOUS WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZITA OF TUSCANY, WORKER OF CHARITY

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation

in the work of your servant Andreas Peter Berggreen.

Teach us to drive from the world the ugliness of chaos and disorder,

that our eyes may not be blind to your glory,

and that at length everyone may know the inexhaustible riches

of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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Feast of Blessed Enrichetta Alfieri (November 23)   19 comments

Above:  Blessed Enrichetta Alfieri

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ENRICHETTA ALFIERI (FEBRUARY 23, 1891-NOVEMBER 23, 1951)

Italian Roman Catholic Nun and “Angel of San Vittore”

Born Maria Angela Domenica Alfieri

Blessed Enrichetta Alfieri comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Maria Angela Domenica Alfieri came from an Italian family with four children.  Our saint, born in Borgo Vercelli, Italy, on February 23, 1891, grew up on a farm.  She knew as a child, though, that she had a vocation to religious life.  Alfieri’s parents delayed the commencement of this vocation until she was 20 years old.

Alfieri joined the Sisters of Charity of Saint Jeanne-Antide Thouret on December 20, 1911.  She eventually became a kindergarten teacher.  In 1917, however, the diagnosis of Pott’s Disease ended our saint’s teaching job.  The disease of the spine caused her saint pain and frequently immobilized her.  Alfieri’s superiors sent her on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in May 1922, but she left the grotto there not healed.  Officially and medically deemed incurable in February 1923, our saint recovered on February 25, 1923.  She reported hearing a voice say,

Get up.

Alfieri got up.  And she got back to work.  In late May 1923, Alfieri began her ministry at the prison of San Vittore.  This work continued for decades.  She became known as the “Mother of San Vittore” and the “Angel of San Vittori.”

During the Nazi occupation of Italy, the prison population changed to priests, nuns, Jews, and resistance fighters.  Our saint and other nuns, active in the resistance, became targets of the Nazis.  Alfieri, arrested and charged with espionage on September 23, 1944, spent 11 days in detention before Cardinal Archbishop of Milan Alfredo Ildefenso Schuster could arrange for her to transfer to Brescia.  The Cardinal also wrote his old ally, Benito Mussolini, and requested a pardon for the nun.

Aside:  Schuster is Blessed Alfredo Ildefenso Schuster, on the Roman Catholic calendar.  I have no intention of adding him to this Ecumenical Calendar because of his overt fascism.  I know better than to expect perfection from human beings, but support for fascism–in this case, the Italian Fascist Party–gives me pause.  The prominence of Schuster’s fascist sympathies and his avid support for the Italian invasion of Ethiopia raise red flags in my mind.  

Alfieri returned to San Vittore prison in an official capacity in May 1945.  The new inmates were prisoners of war and former Axis jailers.  She continued to minister to inmates at San Vittore for most of her life.  Our saint fractured a femur.  She also developed a heart condition and came down with a liver problem.  She, aged 60 years, died on November 23, 1951.  Inmates paid their respects.

Pope Benedict XVI declared Alfieri a Venerable then beatified her in 2009.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 27, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF NEW JERSEY; AND HIS SON, WILLIAM CROSWELL DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ALBANY; HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANTONY AND THEODOSIUS OF KIEV, FOUNDERS OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONASTICISM; SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT; AND SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, ANGLICAN POET AND RELIGIOUS WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZITA OF TUSCANY, WORKER OF CHARITY

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O God, you have brought us near to an innumerable company of angels,

and to the spirits of just men made perfect:

Grant us during our earthly pilgrimage to abide in their fellowship,

and in our heavenly country to become partakers of their joy;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Wisdom 3:1-9

Psalm 34 or 34:15-22

Philippians 4:4-9

Luke 6:17-23

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 725

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