Archive for the ‘May 21’ Category

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:



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
  • 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


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



  • 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 25, 2014

MAY 14, 2017


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.