Archive for the ‘May 14’ Category

Feast of Theodore I (May 14)   Leave a comment

Above:  Pope Theodore I

Image in the Public Domain



Bishop of Rome

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is one of my hobbies.  It is an extension of my Great Man and Woman understanding of history, as well as a long-running course in ecclesiastical history.  Many of the saints I have listed here come with “Venerable,” “Blessed,” or “Saint” formally preceding their names.  Others, however, do not, regardless of whether an official calendar (usually Anglican or Lutheran) lists them.  Many saints I have listed on my Ecumenical Calendar are people I insist belong on formal calendars, although they are absent from any such calendar.

Consider Pope Theodore I, for example, O reader.

The heresy of Monothelitism (that Christ had only one will–divine) was a major controversy in the Byzantine Empire.  Church and state were one in the Byzantine Empire; no line separated theological dispute from imperial policy.  Emperor Heraclius (reigned 610-641) issued the Ecthesis in 638.  This document affirmed Monothelitism.  Pope Severinus (May 28, 640-August 2, 640) and his immediate successor, John IV (December 24, 640-October 12, 642), opposed the heresy and the Ecthesis.  Shortly prior to his death in 641, Heraclius disavowed Monothelitism.  Yet the Ecthesis remained in effect as the reign of Constans II (641-668) began.

Above:  600 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

The Byzantine Empire was unstable.  The recent war with the Persians had resulted in a pyrrhic victory; the Byzantine Empire was almost bankrupt.  Two emperors reigned Between the death of Heraclius and the accession of Constans II.  Heraclius had designated his two sons, Constantine III and Heraklonas, as his successors.  Constantine III was dying of tuberculosis when he began his reign, which lasted for three months.  Heraklonas was fifteen years old and under the political domination of his mother, Martina.  After six months, General Valentine and a mob deposed Heraklonas and Martina.  Valentine installed Constans II, the eleven-year-old son of Constantine III, as the next emperor.  Valentine married his daughter to the the young emperor and ruled as the regent for two years.  Then a mob lynched the regent.  Constans II began to rule at the tender age of thirteen years.  Meanwhile, Arab conquests and internal rebellions continued.

Above:  750 C.E.

Image in the Public Domain

Theodore I was the next Bishop of Rome.  He, born in Jerusalem, was a Greek, a son of a bishop, and a refugee from Arab invasions.  Theodore I was also an associate of St. Sophronius of Jerusalem (died circa 638), the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and an opponent of monothelitism.  St. Maximus the Confessor (circa 580-662), another opponent of Monothelitism, was another one of Theodore I’s associates.  Theodore I became the Pope on November 24, 642.

Almost immediately upon assuming office, Theodore I addressed the Monothelite heresy.  He wrote Constans II and Paul II, the Patriarch of Constantinople (reigned 641-643), to inquire why the Ecthesis remained in effect.  The new pope also refused to recognize Paul II as the legitimate Patriarch of Constantinople until after a synod at which the Holy See had a representative deposed the previous Patriarch, Pyrrhus I (reigned 638-641).  Furthermore, Theodore I demanded that Paul II repudiate Monothelitism and remove all publicly-posted copies of the Ecthesis.

Theodore I recognized Pyrrhus I as the rightful Patriarch of Constantinople in 645.  Pyrrhus I had renounced Monothelitism after a public debate with St. Maximus the Confessor that year.  The Pope also excommunicated Paul II, who had affirmed Monothelitism and the Ecthesis.  Then Pyrrhus I made peace with Constans II and Paul II by reaffirming Monothelitism.

Constans II understood that the Ecthesis of his grandfather had become a threat to imperial stability.  Therefore, he issued the Typos, a gag order regarding Monothelitism, in 648.  Theodore I on May 14, 649, before he could formulate a response.

One may assume safely, however, that Theodore I would have refused to obey the Typos.

The next Bishop of Rome was St. Martin I (died in 655), whom Constans II martyred for refusing to be quiet.









Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church,

including your servant Theodore I of Rome.

May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our our faith,

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

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

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  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 Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60


Feast of St. Maria Dominica Mazzarello (May 14)   1 comment

Above:  St. Maria Dominica Mazzarello

Image in the Public Domain



Cofounder of the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians

St. Maria Dominica Mazzarello devoted most of her 44 years to serving God.  She, born in Mornese, Acqui, Italy, on May 99, 1837, was the first of ten children of Giuseppe and Maddalena Mazzarello, farmers.  Our saint, who worked on the family farm growing up, joined the Pious Union of Mary Immaculate.  She helped the sick and taught the catechism to younger children in her parish.  At the age of 23 years Mazzarello nearly died of typhus.  Although she recovered, she never did so fully.  She and a friend, Petronilla, began to work as dressmakers.  They started a girls’ school; this turned into a boarding school.  This work led to our saint cofounding the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians, under the spiritual direction of St. John Bosco, in 1872.  She, the reluctant (and first) Superior of the order, founded houses in France and Italy.  She died at Nizza, Monferrato, Astia, Italy, on May 14, 1881.

Pope Pius XI declared our saint a Venerable in 1936 then a Blessed two years later.  Pope Pius XII canonized her in 1951.






O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,

inspired by the devotion of your servant Saint Maria Dominica Mazzarello,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

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


Feast of Sts. Victor the Martyr and Corona of Damascus (May 14)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Victor the Martyr

Image in the Public Domain



Roman Soldier and Christian Martyr, 165



Christian Martyr, 165

Also known as Saint Stephanida and Saint Corona the Martyr


Alternative feast days = November 11 and November 24


Emperor Marcus Aurelius (reigned 161-180 C.E.), in the words of classical historian Michael Grant, considered Christians to be

self-dramatizing martyrs who perversely refused to participate in the common life of the Roman Empire which, for all its imperfections, seemed to him the most complete earthly expression of the ideal Stoic cosmopolis that he always held before his eyes.

The Roman Emperors:  A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Imperial Rome, 31 BC-AD 476 (1985), pages 92-93

In other words, Christians were allegedly menaces to society because they refused to conform.  And, if one assumed that the gods would continue to bless the Roman Empire as long as the populace honored the deities, one thought of the Christian gospel as an existential threat to the empire.  From that perspective persecuting Christians was an essential policy, in the name of imperial security.

St. Victor was a Roman soldier stationed in Syria.  He, being a Christian, refused to perform his civic duty–to offer a sacrifice to the gods.  For this offense St. Victor became a prisoner and suffered tortures.  Before his jailers beheaded him, they blinded him.  St. Corona/Stephanida, from our perspective in 2017 the teenage wife of one of the soldiers torturing St. Victor in Damascus, was also a Christian.  She nursed St. Victor while he was in prison.  For that she also went to martyrdom.

Although certain governments are inherently bad–evil, even–others are not.  Even when a government is not necessarily bad (at least not mostly or entirely), certain actions one might take in service to the state are inherently immoral, even when one performs them in the name of national security.  One might not seek to engage in perfidy, but one might perform perfidious acts anyway.  One might not know what one is really doing.  May God forgive one.

May one also honor the faith of Sts. Victor and Corona.






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 Sts. Victor the Martyr and Corona of Damascus,

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), page 59


Feast of St. Carthage the Younger (May 14)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Carthage the Younger

Image in the Public Domain



Irish Abbot-Bishop

Also known as Saint Mochuda

Mochuda, a swineherd near Castlemaine, entered the world in County Kerry, Ireland, in 555.  He became a monk under the tutelage of abbot bishop St. Carthage the Elder (feast day = March 5), related to Irish royalty.  Mochuda became so identified with his mentor that the became known as St. Carthage the Younger.  Our saint, a priest and (from 580) a hermit at Kiltallagh, founded the monastery in Raithean, County Offaly, circa 590.  He, the abbot-bishop of the Fereal district, wrote the rule of his monks and composed a 580-line metrical poem.  In 635, due to regional politics, our saint and his 800 monks went into exile from Raithean and arrived in Lismore.  There they founded a new monastery, which became known as a center of learning.  St. Carthage the Younger died at Lismore circa 637.  He was about 82 years old.

Contrary to what many Protestants continue to argue, monastics are not useless.  All one has to do to refute that false argument from a historical perspective is to consider the legacies of evangelism, health care, and education, among other factors, in the monastic past.  Modern-day church-operated orphanages and children’s homes perform functions in the monastic legacy.  Furthermore, if one truly affirms the efficacy of prayer, one should give thanks that certain men and women devote their lives to prayer.  Orders of nuns and hermits, for example, spend their lives in intercessory prayer.

St. Carthage the Younger was indeed quite useful.






O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,

inspired by the devotion of your servant Saint Carthage the Younger,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

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


Feast of Francis Makemie (May 14)   Leave a comment

Image in the Public Domain



Father of American Presbyterianism and Advocate for Religious Toleration

Francis Makemie lived with and resisted religious persecution.  Makemie, born near Ramelton, County Donegal, Ireland, in 1658, experienced Anglican persecutions of dissenters as he grew up.  On January 28, 1680, after graduating from the University of Edinburgh, he joined the Laggan Presbytery as a probationer.  In December of that year Makemie heard a reading of a letter from Colonel William Stevens, of the eastern shore of Maryland, regarding the neglected spiritual state of Presbyterians in that colony and requesting a missionary.  Our saint volunteered.

Makemie became the Father of American Presbyterianism.  He, ordained and licensed in 1681, arrived in Maryland in 1683.  That year he founded four churches–at Reheboth, Snow Hill, Princess Anne, and Salisbury.  Later our saint started two more congregations–at Pitts Creek and Buckingham.  For years Makemie traveled widely, from Charleston, South Carolina, to Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and as far as England (1691) and Barbados (1696-1698).  Our saint also published a catechism based on the Westminster Confession.  Makemie, business partner of his father-in-law, wealthy merchant William Anderson, was a jack of all trades.  The missionary could not support his family via missionary work alone, for most Presbyterians in Maryland were poor.  He purchased land in Accomack County, Maryland, in 1687 and married Naomi Anderson in the 1680s or 1690s (definitely prior to 1697).  Makemie settled in Accomack County permanently after his father-in-law died.  The Makemies had two daughters–Anne (born circa 1697) and Elizabeth (born circa 1700).

Makemie advocated for religious freedom and established the first presbytery in America.  He, licensed to preach by civil authorities in Maryland and Virginia in October 1699, became the second dissenting minister licensed in the Old Dominion.  Our saint, concerned that the dearth of towns in the Chesapeake colonies inhibited population growth and the progress of the church in those colonies, traveled to England in 1704, remaining into the following year.  There he persuaded the managers of the Common Fund (Presbyterian and Congregationalist) to support missionaries in America for two years.  Makemie, back in America with two missionaries, had to contend with charges filed by two Anglican rectors in Maryland.  The rectors sought control of Presbyterian church buildings, but the court ruled in our saint’s favor on June 10, 1708.  Makemie, the organizer and first moderator of the Presbytery of Philadelphia (founded in 1706), sought formal relations with the Puritans of New England.  With that goal in mind he undertook a journey to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1707.  John Hampton, a fellow missionary, accompanied him.

En route, in the colony of New York, Makemie established a precedent for religious freedom.  He preached without a license valid in that colony.  Authorities arrested Hampton and our saint then released Hampton quickly.  Makemie spent six weeks in jail, however.  He, released on bail, went on trial.  The verdict was an acquittal, fortunately.  However, the court forced him to pay the prosecutor’s costs anyway.

Makemie, back in Maryland, died before the end of the summer of 1708.  He was about 50 years old.

His legacy has survived, however.  The Presbytery of Philadelphia, having grown, reorganized as the Synod of Philadelphia in 1716.  That institution, consisting of presbyteries, was a forebear of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, which held its first General Assembly in 1789.






Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Francis Makemie,

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), page 60


Saints’ Days and Holy Days for May   Leave a comment

Rosa Chinensis

Image Source = Sakurai Midori


2 (Alexander of Alexandria, Patriarch; and Athanasius of Alexandria, Patriarch and “Father of Orthodoxy”)

  • Charles Silvester Horne, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Christian Friedrich Hasse, German-British Moravian Composer and Educator
  • Elias Boudinot, IV, U.S. Stateman, Philanthropist, and Witness for Social Justice
  • Julia Bulkley Cady Cory, U.S. Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • Sigismund of Burgundy, King; Clotilda, Frankish Queen; and Clodoald, Frankish Prince and Abbot

3 (Caroline Chisholm, English Humanitarian and Social Reformer)

  • Marie-Léonie Paradis, Founder of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family
  • Maura and Timothy of Antinoe, Martyrs, 286
  • Tomasso Acerbis, Capuchin Friar

4 (Ceferino Jimenez Malla, Spanish Romani Martyr, 1936)

  • Angus Dun, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, and Ecumenist
  • Basil Martysz, Polish Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1945
  • Jean-Martin Moyë, Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary in China, and Founder of the Sisters of Divine Providence and the Christian Virgins
  • John Houghton, Robert Lawrence, Augustine Webster, Humphrey Middlemore, William Exmew, and Sebastian Newdigate, Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1535

5 (Charles William Schaeffer, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Historian, Theologian, and Liturgist)

  • Caterina Cittadini, Founder of the Ursuline Sisters of Somasco
  • Edmund Ignatius Rice, Founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Ireland and the Congregation of Presentation Brothers
  • Friedrich von Hügel, Roman Catholic Independent Scholar and Philosopher
  • Honoratus of Arles and Hilary of Arles, Roman Catholic Bishops; and Venantius of Modon and Caprasius of Lerins, Roman Catholic Hermits

6 (Anna Rosa Gattorno, Founder of the Institute of the Daughters of Saint Anne, Mother of Mary Immaculate)

  • Clarence Dickinson, U.S. Presbyterian Organist and Composer
  • Maria Catalina Troiani, Founder of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
  • Willibald of Eichstatt and Lullus of Mainz, Roman Catholic Bishops; Walburga of Heidenhelm, Roman Catholic Abbess; Petronax of Monte Cassino, Winnebald of Heidenhelm, Wigbert of Fritzlar, and Sturmius of Fulda, Roman Catholic Abbots; and Sebaldus of Vincenza, Roman Catholic Hermit and Missionary

7 (Domitian of Huy, Roman Catholic Archbishop)

  • Alexis Toth, Russian Orthodox Priest and Defender of Orthodoxy in America
  • Harriet Starr Cannon, Founder of the Community of Saint Mary
  • Joseph Armitage Robinson, Anglican Dean, Scholar, and Hymn Writer
  • Rosa Venerini, Founder of the Venerini Sisters; and her protégé, of Lucia Filippini, Founder of the Religious Teachers Filippini
  • Tobias Clausnitzer, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

8 (Juliana of Norwich, Mystic and Spiritual Writer)

  • Acacius of Byzantium, Martyr, 303
  • Henri Dumont, Roman Catholic Composer and Organist
  • Magdalena of Canossa, Founder of the Daughters of Charity and the Sons of Charity
  • Peter of Tarentaise, Roman Catholic Archbishop

9 (Stefan Grelewski and his brother, Kazimierz Grelewski, Polish Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1941 and 1942)

  • Dietrich Buxtehude, Lutheran Organist and Composer
  • Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, Co-Founders of the Catholic Worker Movement
  • Maria del Carmen Rendiles Martinez, Founder of the Servants of Jesus of Caracas
  • Thomas Toke Lynch, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

10 (Enrico Rebuschini, Roman Catholic Priest and Servant of the Sick; and his mentor, Luigi Guanella, Founder of the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence, the Servants of Charity, and the Confraternity of Saint Joseph)

  • Anna Laetitia Waring, Humanitarian and Hymn Writer; and her uncle, Samuel Miller Waring, Hymn Writer
  • Ivan Merz, Croatian Roman Catholic Intellectual
  • John Goss, Anglican Church Composer and Organist; and William Mercer, Anglican Priest and Hymn Translator
  • Vasile Aftenie, Romanian Roman Catholic Bishop and Martyr, 1950

11 (Henry Knox Sherrill, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church)

  • Barbara Andrews, First Female Minister in The American Lutheran Church, 1970
  • John James Moment, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Matteo Ricci, Roman Catholic Missionary
  • Matthêô Lê Van Gam, Vietnamese Roman Catholic Martyr, 1847

12 (Germanus I of Constantinople, Patriarch of Constantinople, and Defender of Icons)

  • Gregory of Ostia, Roman Catholic Abbot, Cardinal, and Legate; and Dominic of the Causeway, Roman Catholic Hermit
  • Paul Mazakute, First Sioux Episcopal Priest
  • Roger Schütz, Founder of the Taizé Community
  • Sylvester II, Bishop of Rome

13 (Henri Dominique Lacordaire, French Roman Catholic Priest, Dominican, and Advocate for the Separation of Church and State)

  • Frances Perkins, United States Secretary of Labor
  • Gemma of Goriano Sicoli, Italian Roman Catholic Anchoress
  • Glyceria of Heraclea, Martyr, Circa 177
  • Unita Blackwell, African-American Civil Rights Activist, Rural Community Development Specialist, and Mayor of Mayersville, Mississippi

14 (Francis Makemie, Father of American Presbyterianism and Advocate for Religious Toleration)

  • Carthage the Younger, Irish Abbot-Bishop
  • Maria Dominica Mazzarello, Co-Founder of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians
  • Theodore I, Bishop of Rome
  • Victor the Martyr and Corona of Damascus, Martyrs in Syria, 165


16 (Andrew Fournet and Elizabeth Bichier, Co-Founders of the Daughters of the Cross; and Michael Garicoits, Founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Betharram)

  • John Nepomucene, Bohemian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1393
  • Martyrs of the Sudan, 1983-2005
  • Ubaldo Baldassini, Roman Catholic Bishop of Gubbio
  • Vladimir Ghika, Romanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1954

17 (Thomas Bradbury Chandler, Anglican Priest; his son-in-law, John Henry Hobart, Episcopal Bishop of New York; and his grandson, William Hobart Hare, Apostle to the Sioux and Episcopal Missionary Bishop of Niobrara then South Dakota)

  • Caterina Volpicelli, Founder of the Servants of the Sacred Heart; Ludovico da Casoria, Founder of the Gray Friars of Charity and Co-Founder of the Gray Sisters of Saint Elizabeth; and Giulia Salzano, Founder of the Congregation of the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart
  • Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall, Attorneys and Civil Rights Activists
  • Donald Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Ivan Ziatyk, Polish Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1952

18 (Maltbie Davenport Babcock, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Writer)

  • Felix of Cantalice, Italian Roman Catholic Friar
  • John I, Bishop of Rome
  • Mary McLeod Bethune, African-American Educator and Social Activist
  • Stanislaw Kubski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945

19 (Jacques Ellul, French Reformed Theologian and Sociologist)

  • Celestine V, Bishop of Rome
  • Dunstan of Canterbury, Abbot of Glastonbury and Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Georg Gottfried Muller, German-American Moravian Minister and Composer
  • Ivo of Kermartin, Roman Catholic Attorney, Priest, and Advocate for the Poor

20 (Alcuin of York, Abbot of Tours)

  • Columba of Rieti and Osanna Andreasi, Dominican Mystics
  • John Eliot, “The Apostle to the Indians”
  • Mariá Angélica Pérez, Roman Catholic Nun
  • Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, Founder of the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne

21 (Christian de Chergé and His Companions, Martyrs of Tibhirine, Algeria, 1996)

  • Eugene de Mazenod, Bishop of Marseilles, and Founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries, Oblates of Mary Immaculate
  • Franz Jägerstätter, Austrian Roman Catholic Conscientious Objector and Martyr, 1943
  • Joseph Addison and Alexander Pope, English Poets
  • Manuel Gómez González, Spanish-Brazilian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1924; and Adilo Daronch, Brazilian Roman Catholic Altar Boy and Martyr, 1924

22 (Frederick Hermann Knubel, President of the United Lutheran Church in America)

  • Humility, Italian Roman Catholic Hermitess and Abbess
  • John Forest and Thomas Abel, English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1538 and 1540
  • Julia of Corsica, Martyr at Corsica, 620
  • Maria Rita Lópes Pontes de Souza Brito, Brazilian Roman Catholic Nun

23 (Ivo of Chartres, Roman Catholic Bishop)

  • Frederick Augustus Bennett, First Maori Anglican Bishop in Aotearoa/New Zealand
  • Józef Kurgawa and Wincenty Matuszewski, Polish Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1940
  • William of Perth, English Roman Catholic Baker and Martyr, 1201

24 (Nicolaus Selnecker, German Lutheran Minister, Theologian, and Hymn Writer)

  • Benjamin Carr, Anglo-American Composer and Organist
  • Jackson Kemper, Episcopal Missionary Bishop
  • Edith Mary Mellish (a.k.a. Mother Edith), Founder of the Community of the Sacred Name
  • Maria Gargani, Founder of the Sisters Apostles of the Sacred Heart
  • Mary Madeleva Wolff, U.S. Roman Catholic Nun, Poet, Scholar, and President of Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana

25 (Bede of Jarrow, Roman Catholic Abbot and Father of English History)

  • Aldhelm of Sherborne, Poet, Literary Scholar, Abbot of Malmesbury, and Bishop of Sherborne
  • Cristobal Magollanes Jara and Agustin Caloca Cortés, Mexican Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1927
  • Madeleine-Sophie Barat, Founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart; and Rose Philippine Duchesne, Roman Catholic Nun and Missionary
  • Mykola Tsehelskyi, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1951

26 (Augustine of Canterbury, Archbishop)

  • Lambert Péloguin of Vence, Roman Catholic Monk and Bishop
  • Philip Neri, the Apostle of Rome and the Founder of the Congregation of the Oratory
  • Quadratus the Apologist, Early Christian Apologist

27 (Paul Gerhardt, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer)

  • Alfred Rooker, English Congregationalist Philanthropist and Hymn Writer; and his sister, Elizabeth Rooker Parson, English Congregationalist Hymn Writer
  • Amelia Bloomer, U.S. Suffragette
  • John Charles Roper, Anglican Archbishop of Ottawa
  • Lojze Grozde, Slovenian Roman Catholic Martyr, 1943

28 (John H. W. Stuckenberg, German-American Lutheran Minister and Academic)

  • Bernard of Menthon, Roman Catholic Priest and Archdeacon of Aosta
  • Edwin Pond Parker, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Jeremias Dencke, Silesian-American Moravian Composer and Organist; and Simon Peter and Johann Friedrich Peter, German-American Composers, Educators, Musicians, and Ministers
  • Robert McAfee Brown, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Theologian, Activist, and Ecumenist

29 (Percy Dearmer, Anglican Canon and Translator and Author of Hymns)

  • Bona of Pisa, Roman Catholic Mystic and Pilgrim
  • Jiri Tranovsky, Luther of the Slavs and Father of Slovak Hymnody
  • Mary Theresa Ledóchowska, Founder of the Missionary Sisters of Saint Peter Claver, and “Mother of the African Missions;” and her sister, Ursula Ledóchowska, Founder of the Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus (Gray Ursulines)
  • Ruby Middleton Forsythe, African-American Episcopal Educator

30 (Joan of Arc, Roman Catholic Visionary and Martyr, 1430)

  • Apolo Kivebulaya, Apostle to the Pygmies
  • Joachim Neander, German Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Josephine Butler, English Feminist and Social Reformer
  • Luke Kirby, Thomas Cottam, William Filby, and Laurence Richardson, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1582




  • Ascension
  • First Book of Common Prayer, 1549


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

Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A   Leave a comment

Above:  A Depiction of the Holy Spirit as a Dove (from St. Charles’s Church, Vienna, Austria)

If You Love Jesus…

MAY 14, 2023


Acts 17:22-31 (New Revised Standard Version):

Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, `To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him– though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For `In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,

‘For we too are his offspring.’

Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Psalm 66:8-20 (New Revised Standard Version):

Bless our God, O peoples,

let the sound of his praise be heard,

who has kept us among the living,

and has not let our feet slip.

For you, O God, have tested us;

you have tried us as silver is tried.

You brought us into the net;

you laid burdens on our backs;

you let people ride over our heads;

we went through fire and through water;

yet you have brought us out of a spacious place.

I will come into your house with burnt offerings;

I will pay you my vows,

those that my lips uttered

and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.

I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings,

with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;

I will make an offering of bulls and goats.

Come and hear, all you who fear God,

and I will tell what he has done for me.

I cried aloud to him,

and he was extolled with my tongue.

If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,

the Lord would not have listened.

But truly God has listened;

he has given heed to the words of my prayer.

Blessed by God,

because he has not rejected my prayer

or removed his steadfast love from me.

1 Peter 3:13-22 (New Revised Standard Version):

Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil. For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you– not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

John 14:15-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus said to his disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

The Collect:

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


We cannot love God, whom we cannot see, unless first we love our fellow human beings, whom we can see.  This is an old standard, one I use to determine whether an action one commits in the name of God is consistent with God.

And what is the standard of love, which many older translations render as charity?  The answer to that question comes from the Apostle Paul, who wrote the following in 1 Corinthians 13, as the Confraternity Version (1941) renders it:

And I point out to you a yet more excellent way.  If I should speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have charity, I have become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.  And I have prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith as to remove mountains, yet do not have charity, I am nothing.  And if I distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, yet do not have charity, it profits me nothing.

Charity is patient, is kind; charity does not envy, is not pretentious, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, is not self-seeking, is not provoked; thinks no evil, does not rejoice over wickedness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Charity never fails, whereas prophecies will disappear, and tongues will cease, and knowledge will be disappeared.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect has come, that which is imperfect will be done away with.  When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child.  Now that I have become a man, I have put away the things of a child.  We now see through a mirror in an obscure manner, but then face to face.  Now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I have been known.  So there abide faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

So, when I read about people killing their daughters for become pregnant outside of wedlock or their sons for watching soccer matches on television then quoting back religion to justify murder, I believe these acts are inconsistent with God, who is love.  Such love, or charity, if you prefer that translation, can take the form of tough love sometimes.  I recognize this fact readily.  Yet it can never become manifest as an honor killing.

May we love each other actively, emphasizing the benefits to the others around us.

Note where we are in the Easter season with this post.  There are two weeks left the season, which ends with the Day of Pentecost.  The designers of the Revised Common Lectionary have placed this Gospel reading on this day to start the short countdown to Pentecost.  This example demonstrates one strength of a lectionary, for organization is an advantage in planning the Christian year.