Archive for the ‘April 16’ Category

Feast of Isabella Gilmore (April 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  Isabella Gilmore

Image in the Public Domain



Anglican Deaconess

The Church of England commemorates the life of Isabella Gilmore on April 16.

Gilmore was one of the leaders of the movement to revive the ancient order of deaconesses in The Church of England and in the wider Anglican Communion.  She, made a deaconess in 1887, stood in the spiritual lineage of Elizabeth Ferard (1825-1883), the first deaconess in The Church of England.

Isabella Morris, born in London on July 14, 1842, was a daughter of William Morris (a financier) and Emma Morris.  Our saint’s famous brother was William Morris (the artist, author, architect, and political activist), who lived from 1834 to 1896.  [Aside:  The English custom of naming a son after his father without using suffixes, such as “Jr.” and “III,” can be very confusing.  I like to know of whom I am thinking, writing, and speaking–grandfather, father, or son.]  William Sr. died when his daughter was just five years old.  The family relocated to Walthamstow, where Isabella studied under a governess then at schools in Brighton and Clifton.  The family moved again–to Leyton Hall, Essex–in 1856.

Our saint had a family life.  In 1860 she married naval officer Arthur Hamilton Gilmore.  She as the wife of a sailor, moved often.  After her husband died in 1882, our saint moved in with her family.  She also trained to become and became a nurse, a profession unfit for a woman of her social class, according to social conventions.  In 1884 Gilmore began to care for the children of her recently deceased brother, Randall.

Gilmore put her experience in taking care of others to good use as a deaconess.  In 1886 Anthony Thorold, the Bishop of Rochester, recruited the reluctant Gilmore to pioneer deaconess work in the diocese.  The following year she became a deaconess.  Our saint, active in the order until she retired in 1906, trained had deaconesses for other dioceses.  Her influence was widespread.

Gilmore died, aged 80 years, on April 16, 1923.





Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Isabella Gilmore,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60


Feast of St. Bernadette of Lourdes (April 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Bernadette

Image in the Public Domain




Also known as Marie-Bernarde Soubirous and Sister Marie-Bernard

French feast day = February 18

Marie-Bernarde Soubirous, informally known as Bernadette, was an illiterate peasant girl of Lourdes, France, when her reality changed.  Our saint, born on January 7, 1844, was the eldest daughter of Louise Soubirous and Francois Soubirous, a miller.  Her health was fragile; asthma prevented her from attending school more often than she did.  From February 11 to July 16, 1858, at the Massabielle Rock, St. Bernadette, just 14 years old, experienced 18 visions and received messages from a woman who identified herself as the Immaculate Conception.  This changed not only our saint’s life, but the lives of countless people.  St. Bernadette, initially unaware of the meaning of that term, learned from a priest that this was St. Mary.

[Aside:  Contrary to common, theologically illiterate misunderstanding, the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth are different.  The Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of St. Mary without original sin, so she would be a fit vessel to become the Mother of God.  I recall hearing certain Protestant ministers as well as lay people confusing the Immaculate Conception for the Virgin Birth.  One should, when in doubt theologically, consult a catechism for definitions of terms.  Also, although the status of the Immaculate Conception, as a dogma, dates to 1854, the idea, as a doctrine, dates to the Patristic Era.]

St. Bernadette, always honest and never self-seeking, had to overcome opposition from her family, local priests, and civil authorities.  Some considered our saint to be too stupid to have had such an experience.  In being consistent in her story, was St. Bernadette being obstinate?  Certain authorities thought so.  The discovery of a healing spring brought blessings to many people and much displeasure to others.  All of these realities made St. Bernadette a center of attention.  This was difficult for her.

The Church, however, eventually sided with the visionary.  In 1862 the diocese declared that the faithful were justified in affirming the reality of the visions.  Fourteen years later Our Lady’s command that a church edifice exist on the location came to fruition with the consecration of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.  In 1901 Church officials consecrated the larger Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Furthermore, Pope Pius XI beatified our saint in 1925 and canonized her eight years later.

St. Bernadette escaped the attention she was getting at Lourdes by going to the convent of the Sisters of Charity at Nevers.  At first she was merely a student at the boarding school, where she finally learned to read and write.  Then, in 1866, our saint became a novice in the order.  As Sister Marie-Bernard St. Bernadette earned her reputation for kindness, holiness, and joyfulness.  Much of the time, however, she was in agony due to tuberculosis of the bone.  She accepted what Our Lady told her:  she would suffer in this world.

St. Bernadette died on April 16, 1879.  She was 35 years old.

Above:  Lourdes, 1890-1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-05297

Lourdes has long been a destination for pilgrims seeking healing.  Documented medical recoveries have occurred, but most healings have been of a spiritual variety.  The terminally ill have left still dying, but at peace with that reality.

Would God work through an illiterate peasant girl to help many people during and after the lifetime?  Why not?  Would the Mother of God appear to a seemingly insignificant person at a garbage dump?  Why not?


Usually I adapt a collect and list readings specified from a liturgical volume.  This time, however, I feature an original collect and list passages of scripture I have selected.

Gracious God, the source of life, healing, and wholeness,

you choose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

Thank you for the scandal of grace evident in many lives,

especially that of your servant Saint Bernadette Soubirous,

and for the continuing legacy of her fidelity to you.

May we, by your grace, also be instruments of your agape in the world.

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

1 Samuel 3:1-4:1

Psalm 131

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Matthew 19:13-15





Feast of Calvin Weiss Laufer (April 16)   2 comments

Handbook to the Hymnal (1935) August 28, 2013

Above:  Part of the Title Page of a Germane Volume from my Library



U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymnodist

Using The Hymnal (1933) has proven to be quite a boon to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  This source has yielded many wonderful discoveries already.  And I have eight months’ worth of saints yet to go!

Among those discoveries (from my perspective) is the Reverend Calvin Weiss Laufer (1874-1938), a native of Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania.  He attended Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania (B.A., 1897; M.A., 1900) then Union Theological Seminary.  Our saint, ordained in 1900s, served at two churches:

  • Steinway Reformed Church, Long Island City, New York (1901-1905), and
  • First Presbyterian Church, West Hoboken, New Jersey (1905-1915).

Then Laufer worked for arms of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. for the rest of his life.  From 1915 to 1924 he labored for the Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work.  Then, from 1925 until his death, he worked for the Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, focusing on musical publications.  Our saint, in his official capacity, was partially responsible for the following books:

  • The Church School Hymnal for Youth (1927);
  • Junior Church School Hymnal (1928);
  • Songs for Men (1928);
  • Primary Music and Worship (1930); and
  • Hymn Lore (1932);
  • The Hymnal (1933);
  • Handbook to the Hymnal (1935); and
  • When  the Little Child Wants to Sing (1935).

Laufer, a protege of Lewis Fitzgerald Benson, produced other volumes:

Our saint wrote hymns, some of which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  He wrote “We Thank Thee, Lord, Thy Paths of Service” (1919) for use in the Flatbush Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, New York, New York, in September 1919.  The pastor, Herbert H. Field, was a dear friend with whom Laufer dined weekly.  Laufer wrote the triumphant “Thee, Holy Father, We Adore” (1931) in the midst of grief.  Our saint wrote of those circumstances in the Handbook to The Hymnal (1935):

This triumphant and joyous hymn of faith was born out of a great domestic sorrow that left the author’s heart and home bereft of an inspiring companionship.  The experience of God’s grace, in its ministry of comfort and a sense of victory in this soul crisis, not only illumined the darkness that fell but revealed the majesty and greatness of God in unforgettable glory.

–Page 19

And Laufer wrote “O Thou Eternal Christ of God” (1933) after an especially memorable Palm Sunday service.

Robert Guy McCutchan, editor of Our Hymnody:  A Manual of The Methodist Hymnal, 2d. Ed. (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1937), wrote of our saint:

A writer of hymns, a devotional poet, and a musician of attainment, Doctor Laufer has made a notable contribution to the Church at large.

–Page 164

Yes, Dr. Laufer did.





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

thank you for those (especially Calvin Weiss Laufer)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

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

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26






Saints’ Days and Holy Days for April   Leave a comment


Image Source = WiZZiK


1 (Frederick Denison Maurice, Anglican Priest and Theologian)

  • Giuseppe Girotti, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr
  • Ludovico Pavoni, Roman Catholic Priest and Educator
  • Syragius of Autun and Anarcharius of Auxerre, Roman Catholic Bishops, and Valery of Leucone and Eustace of Luxeuit, Roman Catholic Abbots

2 (James Lloyd Breck, “The Apostle of the Wilderness”)

  • Carlo Carretto, Spiritual Writer
  • John Payne and Cuthbert Mayne, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1582 and 1577
  • Joseph Bernardin, Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago
  • Sidonius Apollinaris, Eustace of Lyon, and His Descendants, Roman Catholic Bishops

3 (Luther D. Reed, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Liturgist)

  • Burgendofara and Sadalberga, Roman Catholic Abbesses, and Their Relatives
  • Marc Sangnier, Founder of the Sillon Movement
  • Reginald Heber, Anglican Bishop of Calcutta and Hymn Writer

4 (Benedict the African, Franciscan Friar and Hermit)

  • Ernest W. Shurtleff, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Martin Luther King, Jr., U.S. Civil Rights Leader, and Martyr, 1968 (also January 15)

5 (André, Magda, and Daniel Trocmé, Righteous Gentiles)

  • Mariano de la Mata Aparicio, Roman Catholic Missionary and Educator in Brazil
  • Pauline Sperry, Mathematician, Philanthropist, and Activist; and her brother, Willard Learoyd Sperry, Congregationalist Minister, Ethicist, Theologian, and Dean of Harvard Law School
  • William Derham, Anglican Priest and Scientist

6 (Marcellinus of Carthage, Roman Catholic Martyr, 413)

  • Benjamin Hall Kennedy, Greek and Latin Scholar, Bible Translator, and Anglican Priest
  • Emil Brunner, Swiss Reformed Theologian
  • Milner Ball, Presbyterian Minister, Law Professor, Witness for Civil Rights, Humanitarian
  • Nokter Balbulus, Roman Catholic Monk

7 (Tikhon of Moscow, Russian Orthodox Patriach)

  • George the Younger, Greek Orthodox Bishop of Mitylene
  • Jay Thomas Stocking, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Montford Scott, Edmund Gennings, Henry Walpole, and Their Fellow Martyrs, 1591 and 1595
  • Randall Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury

8 (Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Patriarch of American Lutheranism; his great-grandson, William Augustus Muhlenberg, Episcopal Priest, Hymn Writer, and Liturgical Pioneer; and his colleague, Anne Ayres, Foundress of the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion)

  • Dionysius of Corinth, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Hugh of Rouen, Roman Catholic Bishop, Abbot, and Monk
  • Julie Billiart, Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame
  • Randall Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury

9 (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Lutheran Martyr

  • Johann Cruger, German Lutheran Organist, Composer, and Hymnal Editor
  • John Samuel Bewley Monsell, Anglican Priest and Poet; and Richard Mant, Anglican Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore
  • Lydia Emilie Gruchy, First Female Minister in the United Church of Canada
  • Mikael Agricola, Finnish Lutheran Liturgist, Bishop of Turku, and “Father of Finnish Literary Language”

10 (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Roman Catholic Priest, Scientist, and Theologian)

  • Fulbert of Chartres, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Henry Van Dyke, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Liturgist
  • Howard Thurman, Protestant Theologian

11 (Heinrich Theobald Schenck, German Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer)

  • Charles Stedman Newhall, U.S. Naturalist, Hymn Writer, and Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister
  • Henry Hallam Tweedy, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer

12 (Henry Sloane Coffin, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Theologian, and Hymn Translator; and his nephew, William Sloane Coffin, Jr., U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Social Activist)

  • David Uribe-Velasco, Mexican Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1927
  • Zeno of Verona, Bishop

13 (Joseph Barber Lightfoot, Bishop of Durham)

  • Henri Perrin, French Roman Catholic Worker Priest
  • Rolando Rivi, Roman Catholic Seminarian and Martyr

14 (Edward Thomas Demby and Henry Beard Delany, Episcopal Suffragan Bishops for Colored Work)

  • Anthony, John, and Eustathius of Vilnius, Martyrs in Lithuania, 1347
  • George Frederick Handel, Composer
  • Wandregisilus of Normandy, Roman Catholic Abbot, and Lambert of Lyons, Roman Catholic Abbot and Bishop

15 (Olga of Kiev, Regent of Kievan Russia; Adalbert of Magdeburg, Roman Catholic Bishop; Adalbert of Prague, Roman Catholic Bishop and Martyr, 997; and Benedict and Gaudentius of Pomerania, Roman Catholic Martyrs, 997)

  • Damien and Marianne of Molokai, Workers Among Lepers
  • Flavia Domitilla, Roman Christian Noblewoman; and Maro, Eutyches, and Victorinus of Rome, Priests and Martyrs Circa 99

16 (Bernadette of Lourdes, Visionary)

  • Calvin Weiss Laufer, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymnodist
  • Isabella Gilmore, Anglican Deaconess

17 (Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church)

  • Emily Cooper, Episcopal Deaconess
  • Lucy Larcom, U.S. Academic, Journalist, Poet, Editor, and Hymn Writer
  • Max Josef Metzger, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1944
  • Wilbur Kenneth Howard, Moderator of The United Church of Canada

18  (Roger Williams, Founder of Rhode Island; and Anne Hutchinson, Rebellious Puritan)

  • Cornelia Connelly, Foundress of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus
  • Maria Anna Blondin, Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Anne
  • Murin of Fahan, Laserian of Leighlin, Goban of Picardie, Foillan of Fosses, and Ultan of Peronne, Abbots; Fursey of Peronne and Blitharius of Seganne, Monks
  • Roman Archutowski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1943

19 (Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Martyr, 1012)

  • Emma of Lesum, Benefactor
  • Olavus Petri, Swedish Lutheran Theologian, Historian, Liturgist, Minister, Hymn Writer, Hymn Translator, and “Father of Swedish Literature;” and his brother, Laurentius Petri, Swedish Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala, Bible Translator, and “Father of Swedish Hymnody”

20 (Johannes Bugenhagen, German Lutheran Theologian, Minister, Liturgist, and “Pastor of the Reformation”)

  • Amator of Auxerre and Germanus of Auxerre, Roman Catholic Bishops; Mamertinus of Auxerre, Roman Catholic Abbot; and Marcian of Auxerre, Roman Catholic Monk
  • Christian X, King of Denmark and Iceland; and his brother, Haakon VII, King of Norway
  • Marion MacDonald Kelleran, Episcopal Seminary Professor and Lay Leader

21 (Roman Adame Rosales, Mexican Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1927)

  • Conrad of Parzham, Capuchin Friar
  • Simeon Barsabae, Bishop, and His Companions, Martyrs, 341

22 (Gene Britton, Episcopal Priest)

  • Donald S. Armentrout, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Scholar
  • Kathe Kollwitz, German Lutheran Artist and Pacifist
  • Vitalis of Gaza, Monk, Hermit, and Martyr, Circa 625

23 (Toyohiko Kagawa, Renewer of Society and Prophetic Witness in Japan)

  • Walter Russell Bowie, Episcopal Priest, Seminary Professor, and Hymn Writer

24 (Genocide Remembrance)

  • Egbert of Lindisfarne, Roman Catholic Monk, and Adalbert of Egmont, Roman Catholic Missionary
  • Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Capuchin Friar and Martyr, 1622
  • Johann Walter, “First Cantor of the Lutheran Church”
  • Mellitus, Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury


26 (William Cowper, Anglican Hymn Writer)

  • Robert Hunt, First Anglican Chaplain at Jamestown, Virginia

27 (George Washington Doane, Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey; and his son, William Croswell Doane, Episcopal Bishop of Albany; Hymn Writers)

  • Antony and Theodosius of Kiev, Founders of Russian Orthodox Monasticism; Barlaam of Kiev, Russian Orthodox Abbot; and Stephen of Kiev, Russian Orthodox Abbot and Bishop
  • Christina Rossetti, Poet and Religious Writer
  • Remaclus of Maastricht, Theodore of Maastricht, Lambert of Maastricht, Hubert of Maastricht and Liege, and Floribert of Liege, Roman Catholic Bishops; Landrada of Munsterbilsen, Roman Catholic Abbess; and Otger of Utrecht, Plechelm of Guelderland, and Wiro, Roman Catholic Missionaries

28 (Jaroslav Vajda, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer)

  • Jozef Cebula, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1941
  • Pamphilius of Sulmona, Roman Catholic Bishop and Almsgiver
  • Peter Chanel, Protomartyr of Oceania, 1841

29 (Catherine of Siena, Roman Catholic Mystic and Religious)

  • Bosa of York, John of Beverley, Wilfrid the Younger, and Acca of Hexham, Roman Catholic Bishops
  • James Edward Walsh, Roman Catholic Missionary Bishop and Political Prisoner in China
  • Timothy Rees, Welsh Anglican Hymn Writer and Bishop of Llandaff

30 (James Montgomery, Anglican and Moravian Hymn Writer)

  • James Russell Woodford, Anglican Bishop of Ely, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer
  • John Ross MacDuff and George Matheson, Scottish Presbyterian Ministers and Authors
  • Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, Poet, Author, Editor, and Prophetic Witness



  • The Confession of Saint Martha of Bethany (the Sunday immediately prior to Palm Sunday; March 8-April 11)


Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.

Great Vigil of Easter, Year A   Leave a comment

“This is the night….”

Image Source = John Stephen Dwyer





(Read at least two,)

(1) Genesis 1:1-2:4a and Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26

(2) Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18, 8:6-18, 9:8-13 and Psalm 46

(3) Genesis 22:1-18 and Psalm 16

(4) Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21 and Canticle 8, page 85, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

(5) Isaiah 55:1-11 and Canticle 9, page 86, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

(6) Baruch 3:9-15, 3:32-4:4 or Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21; 9:4b-6 and Psalm 19

(7) Ezekiel 36:24-28 and Psalms 42 and 43

(8) Ezekiel 37:1-14 and Psalm 143

(9) Zephaniah 3:12-20 and Psalm 98


The Collect:

Almighty God, who for our redemption gave your only- begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. or this O God, who made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection: Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; 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.


Romans 6:3-11

Psalm 114

Matthew 28:1-10


Ritualism, despite what some say, is important.  Rituals mark milestones in any civilization or culture.  And rites are crucial to religion.  So, with the Easter Vigil, we mark the resurrection of Jesus in a lovely (and long) ritual much grander and more meaningful than any Protestant Easter Sunrise Service.

During Lent we have not said the “A” word (Alleluia).  We have put away most candles and entered into a penitential mood.  This has become increasingly somber the closer we have come to Good Friday, the darkest day of them all.  Now, after the beginning the Vigil in the darkness, we have a liturgical opportunity to welcome the light again and to resume saying “Alleluia.”  And the candles are back!

Easter, a 50-day season has begun with a series of readings from the Bible about salvation history.


Posted June 19, 2010 by neatnik2009 in April 15, April 16

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