Archive for the ‘May 11’ Category

Feast of Henry Knox Sherrill (May 11)   3 comments

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Image in the Public Domain

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HENRY KNOX SHERRILL (NOVEMBER 6, 1890-MAY 11, 1980)

Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and Witness for Civil Rights

Henry Knox Sherrill made his mark on The Episcopal Church, the United States of America, and the global church.

Our saint grew up in a devout family and became an Episcopal priest.  His parents were Henry Williams Sherrill (1853-1900) and Maria Knox Mills Sherrill (1855-1932).  His brother was Franklin Goldthwaite Sherrill (1883-1933).  Our saint, born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 6, 1890, graduated from Yale University with his Bachelor’s degree in 1911.  At Yale his mentor had been Henry Sloane Coffin (1877-1954).  Then he attended the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, from which he graduated in 1914.

The young priest opposed intolerance and favored progressive causes throughout his life.  He began his ministerial career as the Assistant Rector of Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts (1914-1917).  Next he served as a Red Cross chaplain, assigned first to a hospital in Boston (1917) then in Talence, France (1917-1919).  Our saint, discharged from the U.S. Army after World War I, served as the Rector of the Church of Our Saviour, Brookline, Massachusetts (1919-1923), then as the Rector of Trinity Church, Boston (1923-1930).  During his time in Boston in the 1920s Sherrill also taught pastoral care and homiletics at the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, and pastoral care at the Boston University School of University.

Sherrill became a bishop in 1930.  He, the Ninth Bishop of Massachusetts from October 14, 1930, to June 1, 1947, served as the chairman of The Episcopal Church’s Army/Navy Commission and the General Commission of Army/Navy Chaplains.  In the latter capacity our saint traveled widely in combat zones.  For this work he received the Medal of Merit, the U.S.A.’s highest award for a civilian.  Sherrill, Presiding Bishop from January 1, 1947, resigned as Bishop of Massachusetts on June 1, 1947, in accordance with national church canons.  As the Presiding Bishop our saint oversaw the organization of the Episcopal Church Foundation, the creation of the Seabury Press, and the progress of civil rights in the denomination.

That commitment to civil rights ran deeply with Sherrill.  In 1946 President Harry S Truman had appointed our saint to serve on the Civil Rights Advisory Committee, which produced the signal report “To Secure These Rights” (October 1947).  Sherrill also presided over the decision to change the location of the denominational General Convention of 1955 from Houston, Texas, where African-American delegates would not have received equal housing arrangements, to Honolulu, Hawai’i.  That was a controversial decision.  Under Sherrill’s leadership the General Convention of 1955 issued a strong statement decrying racial segregation and discrimination as being contrary to the will of God.  Our saint also supported ecclesiastical integration openly:

Integration in the whole church is inevitable; it is fundamental to the heart of the Gospel.

–Sherrill, September 18, 1956; quoted in David E. Summer, The Episcopal Church’s History:  1945-1985 (Wilton, CT:  Morehouse-Barlow, 1987), page 37

Sherrill was also an ecumenical leader.  He served as the first President of the National Council of Churches from 1950 to 1952 then as the President of the World Council of Churches from 1954 to 1961.

Our saint, who resigned as the Presiding Bishop on November 14, 1958, for health-related reasons, received 21 honorary degrees from universities such as Columbia, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton.  He retired to the Boston area, where he died on May 11, 1980, aged 89 years.  Arthur Carl Lichtenberger (in office 1958-1964) succeeded him.

Sherrill’s legacy has continued not only via institutions, but also via his family.  He married Barbara Harris.  The couple had four children, who had their own families and other direct and indirect influences.

Edmund K. Sherrill became a priest.  He was the Bishop of Central Brazil in 1975 and the Bishop of Northern Brazil five years later.

Barbara Prue Sherrill married Mason Wilson, Jr.

Henry Williams Sherrill (1922-2001) became an Episcopal priest.

Franklin Goldthwaite Sherrill II, or F. Goldthwaite Sherrill, served as the Rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Brooklyn, New York, New York, from 1967 until his retirement in 1993.  He died, aged 87 years, in late July 2017.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 14, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CALLIXTUS I, ANTERUS, AND PONTIAN, BISHOPS OF ROME; AND SAINT HIPPOLYTUS, ANTIPOPE

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL ISAAC JOSEPH SCHERESCHEWSKY, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF SHANGHAI

THE FEAST OF THOMAS HANSEN KINGO, DANISH LUTHERAN BISHOP, HYMN WRITER, AND “POET OF EASTERTIDE”

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Henry Knox Sherrill,

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

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Feast of St. Matthew Le Van Gam (May 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Indochina, 1842

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MATTHÊÔ LÊ VAN GAM (CIRCA 1813-MAY 11, 1847)

Vietnamese Roman Catholic Martyr

Alternative feast day = November 24 (as one of the Martyrs of Vietnam)

St. Matthêô Lê Van Gam found his vocation as a layman.  He, born circa 1813 in Gò Công, Biên Hòa, Vietnam, grew up in a Christian family.  Our saint studied at the seminary at Lai Thieu, but left to assume his responsibilities as the firstborn son in his family.  He married and became the father of four children, two of whom died because they were Christian.  After an incident of infidelity our saint rededicated himself to his faith and to the Church, especially to assisting missionaries.

Emperor Nguyen Phuoc Toan (Thiêu Tri, reigned 1841-1847) persecuted Christians.  In 1864 our saint came to the attention of authorities.  He, a skilled sailor, was smuggling Christians out of the country.  For example, in two separate trips, our saint smuggled a group of seminarians to Malaysia and a group of diocesan priests out of the kingdom.  In July 1846 authorities arrested our saint, who bribed some soldiers successfully yet failed to escape imprisonment and frequent torture after he refused to desecrate a cross.  On May 11, 1847, at Cho Ðui, Dong Nai, Vietnam, our saint died of beheading after three blows.

Pope Leo XIII declared our saint a Venerable in 1899 then a Blessed the following year.  Pope John Paul II canonized him in 1988.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 13, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWARD WHITE BENSON, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DAVID, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMNODIST

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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 Saint Matthêô Lê Van Gam,

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

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Feast of John James Moment (May 11)   1 comment

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Above:  The Reverend John James Moment

Image Sources = The Cyber Hymnal and HymnTime.com

(http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/m/o/m/moment_jj.htm and http://www.hymntime.com/tch/bio/m/o/m/moment_jj.htm)

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JOHN JAMES MOMENT (FEBRUARY 1, 1875-MAY 11, 1959)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

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Forceful and persuasive preacher, civic leader, trusted counsellor in affairs of Church and community, gracious interpreter of the things of the spirit through song and sermons; now completing his twenty-eighth year of service in his present parish, he has fulfilled all the desired qualifications of a faithful and devoted pastor.

Princeton Alumni Weekly (1946) on John James Moment

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John James Moment (1875-1959), son of a Canadian Methodist pastor, was born in Orono, Ontario, on February 1, 1875  He, having come to the United States at a young age, graduated from Princeton University in 1896 and taught at the Lawrenceville School, near Princeton, New Jersey, from 1898 to 1904.  Our saint, perceiving a call to ordained ministry, attended Hartford Theological Seminary next, graduating in 1906.  His ministerial career entailed him serving at the following congregations:

  1. First Presbyterian Church, East Orange, New Jersey (1906-1908), as Assistant Minister;
  2. Bergen Reformed Church, Jersey City, New Jersey (1908-1911), as Assistant Minister;
  3. High Street Presbyterian Church, Newark New Jersey (1911-1918); and finally,
  4. Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield, New Jersey (1918-retirement, meaning at least through 1946).

Mystery-2011-11-27-CornerstoneB

Above:  The Cornerstone of Cresecent Avenue Presbyterian Church

Image used with the gracious permission of Dan Damon, Plainfield, NJ

Moment wrote prose and poetry.  A book was Faith in Christ (1917).  And he, having composed hymn texts, served on the committee which produced The Hymnal (1933) for the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.  “God of Compassion, in Mercy Befriend Us”  is available at my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  Another hymn of his follows:

Men and children everywhere,

With sweet music fill the air!

Nations, come, your voices raise

To the Lord in hymns of praise!

Join the angel song,

All the worlds to Him belong!

Holy, holy,

To our God all glory be!

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Morning, evening, bless His name,

Skies with crimson clouds aflame,

Rainbow arch, His covenant sign,

Countless stars by night that shine!

Through His far domain,

Love is King where He doth reign!

Holy, holy,

To our God all glory be!

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Storm and food and ocean’s roar,

Breakers crashing on the shore,

Waterfalls that never sleep,

Towering mountain, canyon deep,

Tell ye forth His might,

Lord of life and truth and right!

Holy, holy,

To our God all glory be!

Moment cared actively for and about others.  Thus, in addition to what I have mentioned, he founded the Plainfield Community Forum in 1944.  This organization continues to meet needs of people by working with public and private-sector partners to make a variety of programs possible for a diverse population ranging from the young to elderly.  One program is Meals on Wheels, for example.

John James Moment made a great and positive impact where he was.  His legacy survives him, fortunately.  May each of us likewise love God and our neighbors actively and effectively.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTHONY CLARET, FOUNDER OF THE CLARETIANS

THE FEAST OF ROSA PARKS, MOTHER OF THE MODERN-DAY CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served.

Lead us by his love to serve all to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

Saints’ Days and Holy Days for May   Leave a comment

Rosa Chinensis

Image Source = Sakurai Midori

1 (PHILIP AND JAMES, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS)

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

  • Charles Silvester Horne, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • 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)

  • 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)

  • 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

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

  • 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)

  • Tobias Clausnitzer, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • 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
  • Clarence Dickinson, U.S. Presbyterian Organist and Composer

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

8 (Juliana of Norwich, Mystic and Spiritual Writer)

  • Acacius of Byzantium, Martyr, 303
  • 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
  • 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

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

  • John James Moment, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Matteo Ricci, Roman Catholic Missionary
  • Matthêô Lê Van Gam, Vietnamese Roman Catholic Martyr

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

  • Christian Friedrich Hasse, German-British Moravian Composer and Educator
  • Gregory of Ostia, Roman Catholic Abbot, Cardinal, and Legate; and Dominic of the Causeway, Roman Catholic Hermit
  • Roger Schütz, Founder of the Taizé Community

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
  • Sylvester II, Bishop of Rome

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
  • Victor the Martyr and Corona of Damascus, Martyrs in Syria, 165

15 (JUNIA AND ANDRONICUS, COWORERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE)

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
  • Martyrs of the Sudan
  • Ubaldo Baldassini, Roman Catholic Bishop of Gubbio

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

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

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

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

20 (Alcuin of York, Abbot of Tours)

  • Columba of Rieti and Osanna Andreasi, Dominican Mystics
  • John Eliot, “The Apostle to the Indians”
  • 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

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

  • Georg Gottfried Muller, German-American Moravian Minister and Composer
  • John Forest and Thomas Abel, English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1538 and 1540
  • Julia of Corsica, Martyr at Corsica, 620

23  (Ivo of Chartres, Roman Catholic Bishop)

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

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
  • 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

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
  • Lojze Grozde, Slovenian Roman Catholic Martyr

28 (John H. W. Stuckenberg, German-American 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

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
  • Joachim Neander, German Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer

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

  • Apolo Kivebulaya, Apostle to the Pygmies
  • Josephine Butler, English Feminist and Social Reformer
  • Luke Kirby, Thomas Cottam, William Filby, and Laurence Richardson, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs

31 (VISITATION OF MARY TO ELIZABETH)

Floating

  • Ascension
  • First Book of Common Prayer, 1549

 

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

 

Feast of St. Matteo Ricci (May 11)   2 comments

Image in the Public Domain

SAINT MATTEO RICCI (OCTOBER 7, 1552-MAY 11, 1610)

Roman Catholic Missionary to China

To say or write that we stand on the shoulders of giants has become cliched.  Yet often the sentiment is accurate.  Certainly it applies to many Chinese Christians and Christians of Chinese descent.  For, despite the best efforts of Chinese authorities from the 1700s forward to suppress Christianity, the faith has never died there.  And a giant of faith–St. Matteo Ricci–a saint on my Ecunemical Calendar–did much to establish the church there.

Ricci, born to Italian nobility in Macarata, studied law at Rome.  There, in 1571, our saint, against his father’s wishes, joined the Society of Jesus.  Ricci volunteered for missions in India in 1577.  He arrived in Goa the following year.

Ricci’s greatest work, however, was in China, where St. Francis Xavier had labored faithfully yet not successfully.  (As Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, God calls us to be faithful, not successful.)  Yet, in 1583, Ricci arrived at Chowkingfu (near Canton), from where he worked as a missionary for about six years.  From 1589 to 1595 our saint served as a missionary based at Chaochow.  His next stations were Nan-changfu (until 1598) then Nanjing then Beijing (fro 1601).

Ricci’s life as a missionary in China was challenging, for how does one adapt properly to a different culture?  How to dress was a major issue.  Our saint learned to adopt the wardrobe of a Confucian scholar.  He and his fellow Jesuits in China adapted to Chinese culture, becoming fluent in Mandarin, mastering Chinese classics,and speaking with Chinese scholars–working from the top of society down.  The fact that Ricci had prisms, clocks, and geographical, astronomical, and musical knowledge impressed many Chinese elites greatly, opening doors for his mission.

So, despite challenges, Ricci and his fellow Jesuits were able to make inroads at Beijing, with the emperor and the imperial court.  Jesuit knowledge of astronomy made members of that order useful to the Son of Heaven, whose duties included maintaining an accurate calendar showing the locations of heavenly bodies.  They were more skilled at that difficult task than were the people attempting it.  And the emperor, coming under Christian influence, did not convert, but some courtiers and members of the imperial family did.

The Jesuit mission in China, by working within Chinese culture–a tactic appropriate in the Middle Kingdom–opened up China to Catholic missionaries.  And the Jesuit mission created a cultural exchange.  Not only did Jesuits learn much about China, but Chinese elites gained knowledge about the West, learning Euclidian geometry and seeing an clavichord, for example.  Ricci’s detailed volume about Chinese geography expanded knowledge about that subject in Western Europe also.

The saint died at Beijing on May 11, 1610.

Unfortunately, political pressures sabotaged the Jesuit mission in China.  Had the Jesuits accommodated to Chinese culture too much?   Some Franciscans, Dominicans, and Augustinians thought so.  Their tactics of working among the common people instead alienated leading elements in China, making life more difficult for the Jesuits.  And Confucian opposition to Christianity, grounded in xenophobia, cultural misunderstanding, and doubts about major doctrines, encouraged the imperial suppression of Christianity which began in 1722.

I wonder what would have happened if more missionaries had done as Ricci did.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 4, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALL CHRISTIAN ENVIRONMENTALISTS

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, FOUNDER OF THE FRANCISCANS

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God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servant Saint Matteo Ricci,

who made the good news known in China.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love,

and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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