Archive for the ‘August 1-10’ Category

Feast of Sts. Cyriaca, Sixtus II and His Companions, and Laurence of Rome (August 10)   7 comments

Above:  Martyrdom of Sixtus II

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT CYRIACA (DIED 249)

Roman Widow and Martyr

Her feast transferred from August 21

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SAINT SIXTUS II (DIED AUGUST 6, 249)

Bishop of Rome, and Martyr

His feast transferred from August 7

His former feast day = August 6

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SAINTS JANUARIUS, VINCENTIUS, MAGNUS, STEPHANUS, FELICISSIMUS, AND AGAPITIUS (DIED AUGUST 6, 249)

Deacons at Rome, and Martyrs

Their feast transferred from August 7

Their former feast day = August 6

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SAINT LAURENCE OF ROME (DIED AUGUST 10, 249)

Archdeacon of Rome, and Martyr

Also known as Saint Lawrence of Rome

His feast = August 10

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Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire was off-and-on, usually local, and occasionally empire-wide.  Being a Christian could be risky.  And, to jump the chronology, after Emperor Constantine I “the Great” (reigned 306-337) made Christianity legal (alongside the other legal religions), being a type of Christian other than the type the Emperor was could be perilous.  But for now, back to the time prior to Constantine the Great…..

St. Cyriaca (d. 249) was a wealthy widow.  She gave shelter to persecuted Christians.  St. Laurence, Archdeacon of Rome, responsible for dispensing alms, distributed from her home until she became a martyr (via scourging).  St. Laurence was quite aware of the perils of being a Christian.

Emperor Valerian (reigned 253-260) presided over a troubled empire.  Plagues afflicted various provinces, civil strive existed, the Persian army invaded the empire on one part of the frontier, and Germanic tribes were invading elsewhere along the long border.  In 258-260 Valerian did what many potentates have done when woes have piled high; he distracted people.  He invited people to look over there, not over here.  Valerian persecuted Christians.  He seized church property (including cemeteries), forbade Christians to gather in cemeteries, and required Christians to participate in state pagan rituals.  One rationale for requiring people to participate in such rites was patriotic.  The idea was that the empire would thrive as long as the gods blessed it.  Therefore, the reasoning went, if more and more people ceased to bless the gods, the empire was doomed.  Thus Christians were allegedly threats to imperial security.  (How many violations of human rights have governments ordered in the name of national security since the beginning of the keeping of historical records?)

If such violations of human rights are indeed necessary for a state or empire to continue to exist, that state or empire should fall, for the good of the people.  The existence of such states and empires is morally repugnant.  States and/or empires that respect human rights should replace them.

The Bishop of Rome for slightly less than a year (August 30, 257-August 6, 258) was St. Sixtus II, properly Xystus.  He spent part of his pontificate dealing with the thorny issue of how to relate to holier-than-thou northern African Christians who were rebaptizing those originally baptized by heretics.  This matter predated his pontificate and continued afterward.  St. Sixtus II upheld the Roman Catholic orthodoxy that the validity of a baptism depended on the intentions of the baptized, not of the baptizer, so no rebaptism was necessary.  One Lord, one faith, one baptism, with the emphasis on “one.”

The hammer fell on August 6, 258.  (August 6 was not the Feast of the Transfiguration until 1457, by the way.)  St. Sixtus II, the seven deacons in Rome, and a congregation had gathered illegally in the cemetery of Praetextatus.  Imperial forces beheaded the Pope and four deacons.  By the end of the day two more deacons had become martyrs.  St. Laurence escaped–for a few days.

St. Laurence spent his final days giving all the Church’s money to poor people in Rome.  When he stood before a prefect on August 10, the prefect demanded that St. Laurence hand over the treasures of the Church.  According to St. Ambrose of Milan (337-397), St. Laurence presented the poor people to whom he had given money.  He said,

These are the treasures of the Church.

The prefect disapproved of that reply.  St. Laurence cooked to death on a gridiron.

Valerian’s persecution disrupted the Church for a few years.  However, his son, Gallienus (reigned 253-268), ceased the persecution of Christians and returned seized property.  The next Pope was St. Dionysius (in office July 22, 260-December 26, 268; feast day = December 26), who had to rebuild the Church and to contend with rebaptizers.

With this post I merge three feasts into one.  This makes sense, for each feast relates to the other in a narrative sense.  One of my goals in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, after all, is to emphasize relationships and influences.

I have written enough hagiographies to recognize religious persecution when I see it.  Sometimes it comes from within a tradition; one branch targets another.  On other occasions such persecution comes from adherents of another tradition.  Another option is atheists persecuting the devout.  Persecution takes various forms, including incarcerations and martyrdoms.  I think of the Gestapo hunting down Roman Catholic priests in Poland during World War II, for example.  Priests dying in German concentration camps was another example of persecution.  I am aware of examples of religious persecution in the United States, for I recall, for example, reading about the incarceration of Amish and Mennonite conscientious objectors during World War I.  “Persecution” is a strong word, which one should use cautiously.  I am not aware of any government-sponsored religious persecution in the United States in 2018, yet I hear of persecution fantasies among certain members of the so-called Religious Right in the U.S.A.  Nobody is forcing me to participate in pagan ceremonies.  No government agents are arresting priests for simply being priests.  Governments are not seizing control of churches.  None of this is happening in the U.S.A. in 2018.  I thank God for my religious freedom, which I use.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 14, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, AND ALLEGED HERETIC; AND HIS DAUGHTER, EMILIE GRACE BRIGGS, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND “HERETIC’S DAUGHTER”

THE FEAST OF SAINT METHODIUS I OF CONSTANTINOPLE, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND SAINT JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND THE “SWEET-VOICED NIGHTINGALE OF THE CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HIRAM FOULKES, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of

Saints Cyriaca, Sixtus II, Januarius, Vincentius, Magnus, Stephanus, Felicissimus, Agapitus, and Laurence of Rome,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 59

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Feast of Blesseds Edward Grzymala and Franciszek Drzewiecki (August 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Dachau

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED EDWARD GRYZMALA (SEPTEMBER 19, 1906-AUGUST 10, 1942)

BLESSED FRANCISZEK DRZEWIECKI (FEBRUARY 26, 1908-AUGUST 10, 1942)

Polish Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1942

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

Between 1795 and 1918 Poland did not exist as an independent country.  Austria, Prussia, and Russia partitioned it in three states, the final one in 1795.  Between 1871 and 1918 Poland existed as parts of the Russian, German, and Austro-Hungarian Empires.

Blessed Edward Grzymala, born at Kelodziaz, Podlascie, on September 19, 1906, found priesthood to be the route to martyrdom.  He studied at the theological seminary at Wloclalek (1926-1931) then worked on his doctorate at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (1931-1935).  He, a parish priest in the Diocese of Wloclawek, served as the Vicar General of the northern portion of the diocese in 1939-1940.  After the invasion and partition of Poland (1939), the Gestapo targeted Roman Catholic priests, leaving many parishes without pastoral care.  Grzymala, as Vicar General, visited some of these parishes.  Agents of the Gestapo arrested Grzymala on August 26, 1940.

Blessed Franciszek Drzewiecki, born at Zduny, Lódzkie, on February 26, 1908, was one of twelve children of Jan and Rozalia Drzewiecki.  He joined the Orionist Order and studied at the motherhouse at Tortona, Italy.  Our saint, ordained a priest on June 6, 1936, taught at the college of Zdunska Wola in Poland.  He was a parish priest in the Diocese of Wloclawek in 1939, and became a prisoner on November 7, 1939.

Both priests were prisoners at Dachau in December 1940.  Drzewiecki wore a box of consecrated hosts around his neck and adored the Eucharist in fields.  Both priests died by gassing on August 10, 1942.  Grzymala was 36 years old; Drzewiecki was 34.

Pope John Paul II declared these priests Venerables then Blesseds in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 14, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, AND ALLEGED HERETIC; AND HIS DAUGHTER, EMILIE GRACE BRIGGS, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND “HERETIC’S DAUGHTER”

THE FEAST OF SAINT METHODIUS I OF CONSTANTINOPLE, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND SAINT JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND THE “SWEET-VOICED NIGHTINGALE OF THE CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HIRAM FOULKES, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of

Blessed Edward Grzymala and Blessed Franciszek Drzewiecki,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 59

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Feast of Mary Sumner (August 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Mary Sumner

Image in the Public Domain

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MARY ELIZABETH HEYWOOD SUMNER (DECEMBER 31, 1828-AUGUST 9, 1921)

Foundress of the Mothers’ Union

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All this day, O Lord, let me touch as many lives as possible for thee; and every life I touch, do thou by my spirit quicken, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I breathe, or the life I live.

–Mary Sumner

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August 9 is the feast day of Mary Sumner in The Church of England.

Mary Sumner focused on the application of Christian faith in mothers to their family life.  She lived in circumstances quite different from those of many readers of this post; in her Victorian society respectable women were not supposed to engage in public speaking.  In some ways Sumner was of her times; in others she was ahead of them.

Mary Elizabeth Heywood, born in Swinton, England, on December 31, 1828, came from a cultured and wealthy family.  Her well-read father was a banker.  Her mother came from a family that owned land in two counties.  Mary, educated at home in Hope End, Herefordshire, mastered three foreign languages and sang well.  While studying music in Rome, our saint met George Sumner (1824-1909), son of Charles Sumner, the (Anglican) Bishop of Winchester.  George, recently ordained, married Mary in 1848.  They remained married for 61 years.

Sumner spent the 30 years of her marriage raising her three children–two daughters and a son.  She also managed her home and supported her husband’s ministry.  Our saint had initially felt inadequate as a mother.  When her elder daughter gave birth to Sumner’s first grandchild, our saint founded the Mothers’ Union.

The Mothers’ Union, founded at the rectory at Old Alresford, Hampshire, in 1876, was initially a parochial organization.  I brought together mothers from across social class lines, rooted them in prayer, and shared practical advice for meeting the physical and emotional needs of children.  The speaker at the first meeting, held at the rectory, was the Rector–George Sumner.

The Mothers’ Union began to grow and spread in 1885.  That year, despite social norms forbidding women from addressing public meetings, Sumner spoke to the 1000 women gathered for the Portsmouth Church Congress.  She called for national transformation via Christian women devoted to prayer and holy living.  Then the Bishop of Winchester made the Mothers’ Union a diocesan organization.  It was an international organization by 1896, when Sumner became the president.  She remained active in the Mothers’ Union until death in Winchester on August 9, 1921.  She was 92 years old.  Meanwhile, George Sumner (d. 1909) served as the Bishop of Guildford from 1888 to 1909.

Parenting is a great responsibility, one I hear, best exercised in community, not social isolation.  (I have no desire to become a parent, for I dislike children.)  Comparative studies of parenting styles around the world affirm the truth of the African proverb that it takes a village to raise one child.  May that village be a faithful and loving one.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 14, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, AND ALLEGED HERETIC; AND HIS DAUGHTER, EMILIE GRACE BRIGGS, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND “HERETIC’S DAUGHTER”

THE FEAST OF SAINT METHODIUS I OF CONSTANTINOPLE, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND SAINT JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND THE “SWEET-VOICED NIGHTINGALE OF THE CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HIRAM FOULKES, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Mary Sumner,

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

Raise up in our own day 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)

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Feast of St. Herman of Alaska (August 9)   2 comments

Above:  Kodiak Island, Alaska, 1968

Scanned from Rand McNally World Atlas–Imperial Edition (1968)

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SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA (1755-DECEMBER 25, 1837)

Russian Orthodox Monk and Missionary to the Aleut

“Herman” was our saint’s monastic name.  His birth name–even his family name–has become lost to historical records.

Our saint, born into a merchant family of Serpukhov, Russia, in 1755, was a devout boy.  In 1771, at the age of 16 years, he entered monastic life at the Monastery of St. Sergius, near St. Petersburg, and became Herman.  After five years he transferred to the Valaam Monastery on Lake Ladoga, Finland.  There, in 1793, St. Herman volunteered to join a missionary journey to Alaska.  The eight missionaries arrived at Kodiak Island on December 25, 1793 (Julian Calendar)/January 5, 1794 (Gregorian Calendar).

The mission was initially to Russian fur traders, not indigenous people.  The founding of Holy Resurrection Church, Kodiak, in 1794, was a pivotal event.  The following year the first martyrdom of a Russian Orthodox missionary in Alaska occurred when Juvenal, a priest-monk, died at Lake Iliamma.  In 1799 Archimandrite Joasaf, head of the Alaska mission, became the Bishop of Kodiak.  Not only were some fur traders mistreating Aleut people, but, in 1800, Russian officialdom forbade missionaries from having any contact with the Natives.  The missionaries, allies of the Aleuts in complaints of mistreatment, were allegedly stirring up resistance to the Russian government there.  Missionaries’ attempts to be faithful led to their house arrest in 1801 and the cessation of services for a year.  They complained to the Holy Synod.  The mission resumed in 1804.

A few years later St. Herman moved to Spruce Island, near Kodiak Island.  He lived in a cave until the Russian American Company built a cell for him.  There St. Herman spent the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, the Kodiak mission lasted until 1820, nine years after the Holy Synod closed the Diocese of Kodiak and transferred missionary work on Kodiak Island to the Bishop of Irkutsk.

On Spruce Island St. Herman ministered to the Aleuts.  From 1820 to 1831 he did this despite official Russian persecution.  Our saint established a school, converted people, fed animals by hand, counseled locals, and baked cookies and biscuits for children.  St. Herman demonstrated his love for the people, who reciprocated.

St. Herman died on December 13 (Julian Calendar)/December 25 (Gregorian Calendar), 1837.  His reputation grew posthumously, leading to his canonization by the Orthodox Church in America on August 9, 1970.  The Episcopal Church added his feast to its calendar of saints in 2009.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 14, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, AND ALLEGED HERETIC; AND HIS DAUGHTER, EMILIE GRACE BRIGGS, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND “HERETIC’S DAUGHTER”

THE FEAST OF SAINT METHODIUS I OF CONSTANTINOPLE, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND SAINT JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND THE “SWEET-VOICED NIGHTINGALE OF THE CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HIRAM FOULKES, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Holy God, we bless your Name for Herman, joyful North Star of Christ’s Church,

who came from Russia to bring the Good News of Christ’s love to your native people in Alaska,

to defend them from oppressors and to proclaim the Gospel of peace;

and we pray that we may follow his example in proclaiming the Gospel:

through the same Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, throughout all ages.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 1:1-10

Psalm 148:7-14

2 Timothy 1:3-7

Luke 9:46-48

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 517

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Feast of St. Dominic (August 8)   1 comment

Above:  Saint Dominic, by Fra Angelico

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT DOMINIC DE GUZMÁN (CIRCA 1170-AUGUST 6, 1221)

Founder of the Order of Preachers

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Fight the good fight against our ancient foe, fight him insistently with fasting, because no one will win the crown of victory without engaging in the contest in the proper way.

–St. Dominic, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 339

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St. Dominic was one of four children of Felix de Guzmán (the lord of the manor at Caleruya, Castille) and Blessed Juana de Aza (d. circa 1190; beatified in 1828).  The noble family also included holy siblings of St Dominic.  Venerable Anthony de Guzmán was a priest.  Blessed Mamés de Guzmán (c. 1170-1234; beatified in 1834; feast day = July 30), was a prior of a monstery in Paris, the founder of a convent in that city, and one of the original Dominicans.

St. Dominic, who studied at Palencia and became an Augustinian monk at Osma, became aware of the Albigensian heresy (revived Manicheanism of a sort) while traveling with Diego de Azevedo, the Bishop of Osma, on a royal mission abroad in 1203.  Pope Innocent III (in office 1198-1216) launched a campaign of preaching to combat the heresy in southern France.  This was both political and religious, for some local leaders were siding with the Cathars, and civil strife ensued.  St. Dominic was eager preach orthodoxy.  In 1206 he and the Bishop of Osma established rules for the preachers; they were to live austerely and in poverty.  The following year, at Prouille, our saint foun…ded a convent for nuns converted from heresy.

The Albigensian Crusade (1209-1218), a bloodbath and a land grab, was one of the most notorious scandals in Church history.  It began after the assassination of Peter Castelnau, the papal legate, in 1208.  St. Dominic argued against the crusade; he condemned the violence in the name of Christ and advocated for preaching instead.  From his preaching emerged the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans and the Black Friars, which received papal approval in 1216.

St. Dominic spent his final years technically based in Rome, but actually walking on long journeys, and organizing the Order of Preachers.  In 1221 he set out for Hungary, to preach against heresy, but failing health forced him to turn back.  He died at Bologna on August 6, 1221.  Biographer Jordan of Saxony wrote of our saint,

…he loved everyone, so everyone loved him.

Pope Gregory IX canonized St. Dominic in 1234.

Ironically, Dominicans helped to staff the Inquisition, founded in 1232.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 14, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, AND ALLEGED HERETIC; AND HIS DAUGHTER, EMILIE GRACE BRIGGS, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND “HERETIC’S DAUGHTER”

THE FEAST OF SAINT METHODIUS I OF CONSTANTINOPLE, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND SAINT JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND THE “SWEET-VOICED NIGHTINGALE OF THE CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HIRAM FOULKES, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, whose servant Dominic grew in knowledge of your truth

and formed an order of preachers to proclaim the good news of Christ:

Give to all your people a hunger for your Word and an urgent longing to share the Gospel,

that the whole world may come to know you as you are revealed in your Son Jesus Christ;

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

2 Samuel 22:22-29

Psalm 112:4-9

Romans 10:13-17

John 7:16-18

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 515

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Feast of St. Altman of Passau (August 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  Bavaria, 919-1125

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ALTMAN OF PASSAU (CIRCA 1020-1091)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Passau

Also known as Saint Altmann of Passau and Saint Altmanno of Passau

St. Altman, born circa 1020 in Paderborn, Wesphalia, faced strong opposition for advocating for honesty in ecclesiastical matters.  He studied in Paris, became a priest, led the Paderborn cathedral school, and was chaplain to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III (reigned 1039-1056), as well as a friend of Empress Agnes.  In 1064 our saint was part of a group of pilgrims to the Holy Land.  Sarencens captured the pilgrims, only about half of whom returned to their homes.

In 1065 St. Altman became the Bishop of Passau.  He advocated for aid to and education of the poor, and mentored St. Leopold the Good (1073-1136; feast day = November 15), grandson of Henry III.  St. Altman got into trouble in 1074 by trying to enforce the policies of Pope Gregory VII regarding celibacy and simony; many priests refused to obey.  Three years later our saint’s opposition to lay investiture led to his expulsion by supporters of Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV (reigned 1056-1106).  Subsequently the Pope appointed our saint the apostolic delegate to Germany.  St. Altman was briefly back in Passau in 1081 before a second exile started.  Henry IV deposed our saint as Bishop of Passau in 1085, although St. Altman remained the bishop of that diocese, according to the Church.

St. Altman, who founded monasteries, spent his final years in one of the abbeys he had started.  He died at Gottweig Abbey in 1091.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 14, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, AND ALLEGED HERETIC; AND HIS DAUGHTER, EMILIE GRACE BRIGGS, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND “HERETIC’S DAUGHTER”

THE FEAST OF SAINT METHODIUS I OF CONSTANTINOPLE, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND SAINT JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND THE “SWEET-VOICED NIGHTINGALE OF THE CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HIRAM FOULKES, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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O God, our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant Saint Altman of Passau

to be a bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock:

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

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

and stewards of your divine mysteries;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84 or 84:7-11

Ephesians 3:14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

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

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Feast of Venerable Guglielmo Massaia (August 7)   1 comment

Above:  Venerable Guglielmo Massaia 

Image in the Public Domain

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VENERABLE GUGLIELMO MASSAIA (JUNE 9, 1809-AUGUST 6, 1889)

Italian Cardinal, Missionary, and Capuchin Friar

Born Lorenzo Massaia

Venerable Guglielmo Massaia was a great missionary.  Lorenzo Massaia, born in Piovà, Piedmont, on June 9, 1809, studied at the Collegio Reale, Asti; his older brother, Guglielmo, canon of the cathedral, directed his studies.  After Guglielmo died, Lorenzo matriculated at the diocesan seminary.  On September 25, 1825, at the age of 16, our saint joined the Capuchin Franciscan Order and took the name Guglielmo.

Massaia, ordained a priest in 1832, became a famous preacher, taught theology, and acquired royal connections.  He became the confessor to Prince (later King) Victor Emmanuel (II) of Sardinia (later Italy).  Our saint could have become a bishop in Sardinia via royal favor, but he declined those offers.  No, Massaia, had discerned a vocation to become a missionary.

So he became a missionary bishop as the Vicar-Apostolic of Abyssinia/Ethiopia in 1846.  Our saint ordained priests and consecrated St. Justin de Jacobis (d. 1860) in 1849.  Massaia had to flee Ethiopia in 1849, but Jacobis carried on the good work there.

Massaia, back in Europe in 1850 to generate support for foreign missions, focused on the Oromo speakers of Cush.  He also founded a school at Marseilles for Oromo boys emancipated from slavery and, in 1867, published a grammar of the Oromo language.  Failing health forced Massaia to retire in 1880.  He, from that year the Titular Archbishop of Stauropolis, became the Cardinal-Priest of Sts. Vitale, Gervasio, and Protasio in 1884.  Our saint died at the Capuchin friary in Cremano, Italy, on August 6, 1889.  He was 80 years old.

Pope Francis declared Massaia a Venerable in 2016.

I look forward to Massaia’s cause going the full distance to canonization.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 14, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, AND ALLEGED HERETIC; AND HIS DAUGHTER, EMILIE GRACE BRIGGS, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND “HERETIC’S DAUGHTER”

THE FEAST OF SAINT METHODIUS I OF CONSTANTINOPLE, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND SAINT JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER, DEFENDER OF ICONS AND THE “SWEET-VOICED NIGHTINGALE OF THE CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HIRAM FOULKES, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant

Venerable Guglielmo Massaia, whom you called to preach the Gospel

to the people of Ethiopia and the Oromo speakers of Cush.

Raise up, in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2016), 716

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