Archive for the ‘May 21’ Category

Feast of Blesseds Manuel Gomez Gonzalez and Adilo Daronch (May 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of Brazil

Image in the Public Domain



Spanish-Brazilian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1924



Brazilian Roman Catholic Altar Boy and Martyr, 1924

Political turmoil has been the context of many martyrdoms.  Being stuck between a repressive regime and an equally bad rebellious force has long been a familiar reality for many people.

Blessed Manuel Gómez González was a native of Spain.  He, born in San José de Ribouteme, Pontevedra, on May 29, 1877, grew up on a farm.  Our saint, ordained a priest in 1902, served in his native land until 1904.

Above:  Flag of Portugal, 1830-1910

Image in the Public Domain

González served in Portugal from 1904 to 1913. Between the abolition of the monarchy (1910) and the establishment of a right-wing military dictatorship (1926) the First Portuguese Republic existed.  Politics were unstable, presidents came and went in rapid succession, and the militantly secularist regime persecuted the Roman Catholic Church and harassed priests.

Above:  Flag of Portugal, 1910-Present

Image in the Public Domain

González left persecution and harassment in Portugal behind and arrived in Brazil in 1913.  He served in region of the Brazilian-Uruguayan border, in Soledade (1913-1915) and Nonoai (1915-1924), both in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, to be precise.  Our saint, active in building up his community, helped to decrease homelessness by increasing the supply of housing.

Above:  Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Image Source = Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957), 47

Brazil had serious troubles, too.  The country was a republic in name only.  People voted, but the results were foregone conclusions.  Institutionalized, ingrained poverty fueled rebellious tendencies in segments of the population; armed groups fought over land in the early 1920s.  Finally, in 1930, a right-wing military dictatorship replaced the old regime.  Brazil’s troubles continued.

Blessed Adilo Daronch was one of González’s altar boys in Nonoai.  Daronch, born in Dona Francisca, Cachoeira do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, on October 25, 1908, was a son of Italian immigrants Pietro Daronch (murdered in 1923) and Giuditta Segabinazzi (died in 1932).  Our young saint accompanied González on visits to chapels.

González and Daronch were on a diocesan mission to chapels in May 1924.  Revolutionaries captured the priest and the altar boy, both of whom they captured, tortured, then shot at Feljâo Mirido, Três Passos, Rio Grande do Sul, on May 21, 1924.  González was 46 years old.  Daronch was 15 years old.

Pope Benedict XVI declared our saints Venerables in 2006.  He beatified them the following year.










Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs

Blesseds Manuel Gómez González and Adilo Daronch

triumphed over suffering and were faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember them in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with them the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714


Feast of Blessed Franz Jagerstatter (May 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Poster of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter

Image in the Public Domain



Austrian Roman Catholic Conscientious Objector and Martyr


I can say from my own experience how painful life often is when one lives as a halfway Christian; it is more like vegetating than living.

–Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, writing to a god-child


Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, a man of lowly social origin, became a martyr because he insisted on obeying his principles.  His parents were Franz Bachmeier and Rosalia Huber, servants who did not marry because they could not afford to do so.  Our saint, born in Sankt Radegund, Austria, on May 20, 1907, lost his father at the age of ten years, during World War I.  Then Rosalia married farmer Heinrich Jägerstätter, who adopted young Franz.  Our saint’s stepfather and step-grandfather took great interest in him.  Franz, educated in a one-room school, learned much from these men.

Franz sowed some wild oats during his early twenties.  During that phase of his life he worked in the iron ore industry.  At the age of 23 years, however, he became serious about faith, married, and became a peasant farmer.  In 1936 Franz married Franziska, with whom he had three daughters.  He also worked as the sexton in his parish, to take the Holy Eucharist daily, to assist at funerals, and to minister to the grieving.

Everyone tells me, of course, that I should not do what I am doing because of the danger of death. I believe it is better to sacrifice one’s life right away than to place oneself in the grave danger of committing sin and then dying.

–Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, on resisting the military draft

The intersection of Nazism and Franz’s conscience led to his martyrdom.  In 1938 he openly opposed the Anschluss with Germany.  Our saint also answered “Heil Hitler” with “Pfui Hitler,” thereby becoming an outlier in his town.  Then military conscription became a problem.  Franz, drafted on June 17, 1940, served briefly before his mayor intervened.  Our saint returned to the farm.  Yet Franz was back in active service from October 1940 to June 1941.  The mayor intervened again, and our saint returned to the farm again.  Franz, who had once considered non-combatant service morally acceptable, changed his mind.  Any service in the cause of the Third Reich was immoral, he concluded.  When the Nazi regime called him to service again in February 1943, our saint refused to obey.  This led to incarceration and to a death sentence.

In prison our saint wrote:

Just as the man who thinks only of this world does everything possible to make life here easier and better, so must we, too, who believe in the eternal Kingdom, risk everything in order to receive a great reward there. Just as those who believe in National Socialism tell themselves that their struggle is for survival, so must we, too, convince ourselves that our struggle is for the eternal Kingdom. But with this difference: we need no rifles or pistols for our battle, but instead, spiritual weapons – and the foremost among these is prayer. Through prayer, we continually implore new grace from God, since without God’s help and grace it would be impossible for us to preserve the Faith and be true to His commandments. Let us love our enemies, bless those who curse us, pray for Those who persecute us. For love will conquer and will endure for all eternity. And happy are they who live and die in God’s love.

Franz, sentenced to die on July 6, 1943, went to the guillotine at Brandenburg on August 9 that year.  He was 36 years old.

Pope Benedict XVI declared our saint a Venerable then a Blessed in 2007.






Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr

Blessed Franz Jägerstätter triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adopted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 714


Feast of St. Eugene de Mazenod (May 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Eugène de Mazenod

Image in the Public Domain



Bishop of Marseille and Founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries, Oblates of Mary Immaculate


I am a priest, a priest of Jesus Christ.  That says it all.

–St. Eugène de Mazenod


St. Eugène de Mazenod, who hailed from minor nobility, experienced the political turmoil of the French Revolution and founded an order of missionary priests.  Our saint, born in Aix-en-Provence, on August 1, 1782, went into exile with his family when he was eight years old.  His father, Charles-Antoine de Mazenod, had been the President of the Court of Accounts, Aids and Finances in Aix-en-Provence.  Charles-Antoine, in exile in a series of Italian cities, proved to be an unsuccessful businessman, so the family’s financial condition declined precipitously.  As the family traveled from city to city, St. Eugène’s formal education ended prematurely.  In Venice a priest, Bartolo Zinelli, continued our saint’s education informally.  The family moved on to Naples then to Palermo.  There, thanks to the patronage of the Duke and Duchess of Cannizzaro, the de Mazenods’ fortunes improved greatly.  There St. Eugène assumed the title “Count.”

In 1802 “Count” Eugène de Mazenod returned to his homeland after an absence of 11 years.  In France he was merely Citizen de Mazenod.  His parents had separated.  St. Eugène’s mother, Marie-Rose Joannis de Mazenod, was struggling to recover the family’s property, seized in 1790.  She was also attempting to arrange the marriage of her son to the wealthiest heiress possible.  St. Eugène, suffering from depression, saw no good future for himself until he discerned a vocation to the Roman Catholic priesthood.  He matriculated at the seminary of St. Sulpice, Paris, in 1808, and joined the ranks of priests on December 21, 1811.

Learn who you are in the eyes of God.

–St. Eugène de Mazenod

St. Eugène returned to his hometown as a priest.  He, not seeking social status, served as a priest to villagers, youth, servants, prisoners, and the ill.  Like-minded priests joined our saint in this noble work.  These self-proclaimed Missionaries of Provence, the origin of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (as of 1826), heard many confessions.  They also preached not in French, but in Provencal, the language of the common people.  St. Eugène served as the first Superior General of the order, from 1826 until he died, in 1861.

Leave nothing undared for the Kingdom of God.

–St. Eugène de Mazenod

St. Eugène rose to the episcopate.  In 1802 the regime of Napoleon Bonaparte suppressed the Diocese of Marseille.  When the French government reversed that decision Canon Fortuné de Mazenod, our saint’s uncle, became the bishop.  Immediately, in 1823, Fortuné appointed his nephew the Vicar-General of the diocese.  Nine years later our saint became the Auxiliary Bishop of Marseille.  This consecration created a major diplomatic incident, for it happened in Rome and the French government (that of King Louis-Philippe at the time) had become accustomed to holding a prominent role in ecclesiastical affairs since the Concordat of 1802.  Diplomatic tensions died down eventually.  In 1837 Fortuné retired.  St. Eugène succeeded him.  As the Bishop of Marseille our saint oversaw the construction of the cathedral at Marseille and the founding of parishes.  He, appointed a senator in 1856, died of cancer on May 21, 1861.  St. Eugène was 78 years old.

He had, meanwhile, expanded the work of the Oblates into Ireland, Switzerland, England, Canada, the United States, Ceylon, South Africa, and Lesotho.

Pope Paul VI declared St. Eugène a Venerable in 1970 then a Blessed five years later.  Pope John Paul II canonized him in 1995.








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

and who raised up your servant Saint Eugène de Mazenod to be a light in the world:

Shine, we pray, in your 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), page 717


Feast of Christian de Cherge and His Companions (May 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Map of Northern Algeria

Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor from Rand McNally World Atlas–Imperial Edition (1968)

Tibhirine is northwest of Médéa, southeast of Cherchel, and southwest of Blida.



Prior of the Trappist Monastery of Our Lady of Atlas, Tibhirine, Algeria


If it should happen one day—and it could be today—that I become a victim of the terrorism which now seems ready to encompass all the foreigners living in Algeria, I would like my community, my Church, my family, to remember that my life was given to God and to this country. I ask them to accept that the One Master of all life was not a stranger to this brutal departure. I ask them to pray for me: for how could I be found worthy of such an offering? I ask them to be able to associate such a death with the many other deaths that were just as violent, but forgotten through indifference and anonymity.

–From the Last Testament of Christian de Chergé, translated by the Monks of Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, Leicester, England


The story of the monks of Tibhirine became the basis of the movie Of Gods and Men (2010).

In the early hours of March 27, 1996, twenty soldiers of the Armed Islamic Group (G.I.A.) burst into the Monastery of Our Lady of Atlas, Tibhirine, Algeria.  They abducted seven monks:

  1. Father Christian de Chergé, the Prior;
  2. Brother Luc (born Paul Bechier), a physician;
  3. Father Christophe Lebreton;
  4. Brother Michel Fleury;
  5. Father Bruno (born Christian LeMarchand);
  6. Father Célestin Ringeard; and
  7. Brother Paul Favre-Miville.

During a civil war in Algeria the G.I.A. wanted all foreigners to leave the country–or else.  The monks had remained, despite many warnings.  The Islamist group hoped to swap the monks for prisoners, but the French government refused to negotiate with terrorists.  The G.I.A. beheaded the monks on May 21.  Two monks–Father Jean-Pierre and Father Amédée, hid successfully from the terrorists on March 27.  These fortunate men told the story of the others.

The monks of Tibhirine understood the difference between Islam and Islamism.  They lived peaceably among Muslims, with whom they prayed and who came to the monastery for medical care.  The villagers certainly were not violent toward the monks.  Extremists were, unfortunately.

Christian de Chergé was a peaceful and tolerant man.  He, born in Colmar, France, on January 18, 1937, was the second of eight children born into a devout Roman Catholic family.  In 1959 our saint was a French soldier stationed in Algeria during the war for independence.  One of his friends was Mohammed, a police officer and a devout Muslim.  When a rebel attempted to ambush de Chergé, Mohammed, acting on his faith, saved our saint’s life.  The police officer became the victim of an assassination that day or the next one.  De Chergé never forgot his friend’s action and the high price he paid for it, and looked forward to meeting him again in the communion of saints.  De Chergé went on to become a priest in 1964 and a Trappist monk at Aiguebelle five years later.  He transferred to Tibhirine in 1971.  Our saint became an avid student of the Koran.  Villagers reciprocated his respect for them, Algeria, Islam, and Muslims.

Unfortunately, extremists, who did not know de Chergé and his fellow monks, acted out of a toxic stew of hatred, intolerance, and narrow nationalism.  The G.I.A., fighting a civil war against the less than warm-and-fuzzy military-controlled Algerian government, started killing foreigners who remained in the country after December 1, 1993.

The rest is history.

And you also, the friend of my final moment, who would not be aware of what you were doing. Yes, for you also I wish this “thank you”—and this <adieu>—to commend you to the God whose face I see in yours.

And may we find each other, happy “good thieves,” in Paradise, if it pleases God, the Father of us both. Amen.

–From the Last Testament of Christian de Chergé, translated by the Monks of Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, Leicester, England

To repay violence with violence, hatred with hatred, intolerance with intolerance, and evil with evil is tempting and morally incorrect.  Shall we consider the scriptures?

Never pay back evil for evil.  Let your aims be such as all count honourable.  If possible, so far as it lies with you, live at peace with all.  My dear friends, do not seek revenge, but leave a place for divine retribution; for there is a text which reads, “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay.”  But there is another text:  “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; by doing this you will heap live coals on his head.”  Do not let evil conquer you, but use good to conquer evil.

–Romans 12:17-21, The Revised English Bible (1989)


Do not repay wrong with wrong, or abuse with abuse; on the contrary, respond with blessing, for a blessing is what God intends you to receive.

–1 Peter 3:9a, The Revised English Bible (1989)

Besides, forgiveness is a better and more difficult path to trod.

De Chergé forgave his murderer in advance, for he wrote the first draft of his Last Testament on December 1, 1993, two and a half years before he died.

De Chergé puts me to shame.








Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of love in the hearts

of your holy Martyrs of Tibhirine, Algeria:

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

that we who rejoice in their triumph may profit by their examples;

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 31:1-15

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

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


Feast of Joseph Addison and Alexander Pope (May 21)   3 comments


Above:  The First Page of The Spectator, June 2, 1711

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-70444


JOSEPH ADDISON (MAY 1, 1672-JUNE 17, 1719)

English Poet and Literary Critic


ALEXANDER POPE (MAY 21, 1688-MAY 30, 1744)

English Poet, Moralist, and Satirist


Whoever writes to attain an English style familiar yet not coarse, and elegant yet not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison.

–Dr. Samuel Johnson


Joseph Addison (1672-1719) and Alexander Pope (1688-1744) were major literary figures whose paths crossed.  Scholars have written about them at great length and detail, understandably.  Thus I refer any reader of this post who desires such reading to those works.  I have, in fact, provided hyperlinks to two of them.  My purpose in this post is to cover some of the major points of these saints’ lives from a theological angle.

Joseph Addison was a son of Lancelot Addison, the Church of England clergyman at Milston, Wiltshire.  One might have assumed that Joseph would follow in his father’s footsteps; some did.  The younger Addison, who attended Queen’s College then Magdalen College, Oxford, distinguished himself in Latin poetry at university.  Thus his literary career, supplemented by a series of political appointments, began.  His early main patron, through whom employment came frequently, was Charles Montague, the Earl of Halifax.  And, since the political fortunes of the Whig Party varied over time, so did those of Halifax and Addison, both Whigs.

Addison wrote much original work and translated many Greek and Latin texts.  His first published work was Account of the Greatest English Poets (1693).  He also worked on two periodicals, The Tatler (1709-1711) and The Spectator (1711-1712, 1714).  The former contained essays on life, not politics.  The latter offered literary criticism, philosophy for the public, texts for men and women, and some of Addison’s hymns.  The purpose of The Spectator, according to Addison, was

to bring philosophy out of the closets and libraries, schools and colleges; to dwell in the clubs and assemblies, at tea tables and in coffee houses.

He labored on these periodicals while serving as a Member of Parliament, a body to which he belonged from 1708 until his death.

Among the texts Addison published in The Spectator was The Messiah, by Alexander Pope (1688-1744).  Five hymns have come from that poem.  Among them is this one.

Pope, born in London to a Roman Catholic family, was the son of a wealthy and retired linen merchant who retired to Windsor Forest in 1700.  Addison’s father, although well-to-do, was of a lower social status than the great poet’s mother.  The father died in 1817.  The poet, who had never married, remained devoted to his mother until she died in 1733, aged 91 years.  He suffered from poor health–a curved spine, severe headaches, and Pott’s Disease, a tubercular condition.  Thus Pope focused more on poetry than he might have done otherwise.  And he excelled at it, creating an impressive body of work, to which I have provided a link.

Pope, mainly self-educated, benefited from the encouragement of neighbors, who included writers and retired statesmen.  By age thirteen he had translated much Latin poetry and written a tragedy about St. Genevieve.  At age sixteen he was familiar with Greek, Latin, Italian, and French.

Details of the difficult professional relationship between Addison and Pope are not as plentiful as a careful student of history might like.  Yet we do know that the trigger was the reality of rival translations of Homer’s Iliad; Pope had published the first part of his version in 1715 yet Addison preferred a rival translation.  This seems to have offended Pope, who wrote a scathing criticism of Addison then sent a copy to him.  Addison chose not to respond.  Pope, however, published that text in 1735, after Addison had been dead for sixteen years.  And the younger poet praised Addison in print in 1721 and 1737.

Addison married Charlotte, Countess of Warwick, in 1716.  It was an unhappy marriage, one which his death ended three years later.  He was forty-seven years old.  One of Addison’s great regrets was that he had yet to reconcile with a friend, Richard Steele (founder of The Tatler), who had argued with him over a bill limiting the number of peers.

Among Addison’s hymns are “When All Thy Mercies, O My God” and this classic:

The spacious firmament on high,

With all the blue ethereal sky,

And spangled heavens, a shining frame,

Their great Original proclaim.

The unwearied sun, from day to day,

Does his Creator’s power display,

And publishes to every land,

The work of an almighty hand.


Soon as the evening shades prevail,

The moon takes up the wondrous tale,

And nightly to the listening earth

Repeats the story of her birth;

While all the stars that round her burn,

And all the planets in their turn,

Confirm the tidings, as they roll,

And spread the truth from pole to pole.


What though in solemn silence all

Move round the dark terrestrial ball?

What though no real voice nor sound

Amidst their radiant orbs be found?

In reason’s ear they all rejoice,

And utter forth a glorious voice.

Forever singing, as they shine,

“The hand that made us is divine.”

Addison, on his deathbed, told his wayward nephew, Lord Warwick,

See in what peace a Christian can die.

Pope, who had a mixed opinion of Addison, contributed much to the body of English literature and helped people in distress.  His legacy, like that of Addison, is impressive and edifying.





Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Joseph Addison, Alexander Pope, and all those who

with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–After Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728



Joseph Addison:

Collected Works:


Alexander Pope:

Complete Works:



Feast of the First Book of Common Prayer, 1549 (May-June)   Leave a comment

Above:  Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury


Effective on the Day of Pentecost, June 9, 1549, During the Reign of King Edward VI

The Episcopal Church specifies that one observes this feast properly on a weekday after the Day of Pentecost.

The 1549 Book of Common Prayer, which, along with many of its successors, is available at, was mainly the product of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury and poet extraordinaire.  He translated texts from various sources, ranging from Greek liturgies to German Lutheran rites to the Roman Catholic missal and the Liturgy of the Hours.  Along the way Cranmer quoted the Bible extensively.  Thus it is a common Anglican and Episcopal joke to say that the Bible quotes the Prayer Book.

My first encounter with the Book of Common Prayer was indirect, so indirect in fact that I was not aware of it.  I grew up United Methodist in the era of the 1966 Methodist Hymnal, which is far superior to the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal.  The ritual in the 1966 Hymnal was that of its 1935 and 1905 predecessors, that is, based on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.   So, when I saw the 1979 Prayer Book and read Holy Eucharist Rite I, I recognized it immediately, down to the Prayer of Humble Access.

Now I an Episcopalian.  As someone told me early this year, I left the church that John Wesley made and joined the church that made John Wesley.  The rhythms of the 1979 Prayer Book have sunk into my synapses and my soul.  I also use A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), of  The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, which breaks out from parts of tradition creatively and beautifully while standing within the Prayer Book tradition.

I have become a person of the Prayer Book, thankfully.





Almighty and everliving God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer, with others, restored the language of the people in the prayers of your Church:  Make us always thankful for this heritage; and help us to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding, that we may worthily magnify your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Kings 8:54-61

Psalm 33:1-5, 20-21

Acts 2:38-42

John 4:21-24

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

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
  • 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 Humaniarian and Social Reformer)

  • Elias Boudinot, IV, U.S. Stateman, Philanthropist, and Witness for Social Justice
  • Marie-Léonie Paradis, Foundress 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, Foundress 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, Foundress of the Institute of the Daughters of Saint Anne, Mother of Mary Immaculate)

  • Alexis Toth, Russian Orthodox Priest and Defender of Orthodoxy in America
  • Clarence Dickinson, U.S. Presbyterian Organist and Composer
  • Maria Catalina Troiani, Foundress 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)

  • Harriet Starr Cannon, Foundress of the Community of Saint Mary
  • Joseph Armitage Robinson, Anglican Dean, Scholar, and Hymn Writer
  • Rosa Venerini, Foundress of the Venerini Sisters; mentor of Lucia Filippini, Foundress 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, Foundress 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, Cofounders of the Catholic Worker Movement
  • Maria del Carmen Rendiles Martinez, Foundress 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 Mazarello, Cofounder 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, Cofounders 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, Foundress of the Servants of the Sacred Heart; Ludovico da Casoria, Founder of the Gray Friars of Charity and Cofounder of the Gray Sisters of Saint Elizabeth; and Giulia Salzano, Foundress 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
  • Ivo of Kermartin, Roman Catholic Attorney, Priest, and Advocate for the Poor
  • Georg Gottfried Muller, German-American Moravian Minister and Composer

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, Foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne

21 (Christian de Chargé 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)

  • Jackson Kemper, Episcopal Missionary Bishop
  • Edith Mary Mellish (a.k.a. Mother Edith), Foundress of the Community of the Sacred Name
  • Maria Gargani, Foundress 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 Saints and Martyrs, 1927
  • Madeleine-Sophie Barat, Foundress 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
  • 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
  • Ruby Middleton Forsythe, African-American Episcopal Educator
  • Mary Theresa Ledóchowska, Foundress of the Missionary Sisters of Saint Peter Claver, and “Mother of the African Missions;” and her sister, Ursula Ledóchowska, Foundress of the Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus (Gray Ursulines)

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.

Feast of the Ascension   Leave a comment

Jesus:  Gone, Yet Still Present

THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2020


Acts 1:1-11 (New Revised Standard Version):

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Psalm 47 (New Revised Standard Version):

Clap your hands, all you peoples;

shout to God with loud songs of joy.

For the LORD, the Most High, is awesome,

a great king over all the earth.

He subdued peoples under us,

and nations under our feet.

He chose our heritage for us,

the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout,

the LORD with the shout of a trumpet.

Sing praises to God, sing praises;

sing praises to our King, sing praises.

For God is the king of all the earth;

sing praises with a psalm.

God is king over the nations;

God sits on his holy throne.

The princes of the peoples gather

as the people of the God of Abraham.

For the shields of the earth belong to God;

he is highly exalted.

Ephesians 1:15-23 (New Revised Standard Version):

I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Luke 24:44-53 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus said to his disciples, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you– that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. See, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

The Collect:

Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.


I am convinced that words are inadequate to describe some Biblical events, and that the Ascension is among these.  Something happened, but I am not certain it was a literal ascension.  I believe, however, that, when it (whatever it was) was over, Jesus no longer physically present on the Earth.

In fiction and non-fiction narratives the teacher or mentor must exit before the students can come into their own.  Obi-Wan Kenobi had to die before Luke Skywalker could become a Jedi Knight in the original Star Wars trilogy.  And, in real life, Jesus had to leave the Earth before the Apostles could become leaders of the Christian movement and the figures we read about in Acts. Yet the Apostles were not alone; in about a week and a half they would receive the Holy Spirit, to which we have access today.

Jesus is present with us, although not in the historical sense.  Historical Jesus left the stage almost 2000 years ago.  Yet the Christ of faith has been with Christians for nearly two millennia.  And we have a call to be Jesus to each other.  I have had this experience when I have needed it the most.  You might have known divine love in this form, also.  So, Jesus is still with us.  Thanks be to God!


Posted April 6, 2010 by neatnik2009 in May 21, Saints of the Bible

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