Archive for the ‘Saints of 1930-1939’ Category

Feast of Ambrose Reeves (December 8)   2 comments

Above:  An Apartheid Sign

Image in the Public Domain

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RICHARD AMBROSE REEVES (DECEMBER 6, 1899-DECEMBER 23, 1980)

Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg, and Opponent of Apartheid

Bishop (Richard) Ambrose Reeves comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via historical accounts.  A standard rule (with exceptions) in provinces of the Anglican Communion is to wait about half a century after someone’s death before adding that person to an official calendar of saints.  I understand why this is a wise policy for ecclesiastical authorities to follow.  Given this policy, Bishop Reeves’s time for addition to some Anglican calendars of saints may arrive within a few years.  My Ecumenical Calendar, however, does not come with the fifty-year-rule.  So, I add Bishop Reeves to my Ecumenical Calendar today.

Ambrose Reeves, born in Norwich, England, on December 6, 1899, spent most of his life in ministry.  He, a veteran of World War I, studied at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University (B.A., 1924); the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, England; General Theological Seminary, New York, New York; and Cambridge University (M.A., 1943).  After completing seminary in the middle 1920s, our saint became a deacon in The Church of England (May 30, 1926), then a priest therein (June 12, 1927).  Reeves served first as the Curate of St. Albans, Golders Green (1926-1931).  During that time, he doubled as the secretary of the Christian Social Movement.

Reeves married Ada van Ryssan in 1931.  The couple raised four children.

Reeves continued to serve on the parish level and beyond from 1931 to 1949.  He was the Rector of St. Margaret’s, Leven (1931-1935).  Next, our saint served in the Diocese of Gibraltar and as the secretary of the World Student Christian Federation (1935-1937).  Reeves returned to England in 1937.  He served as the Vicar of St. James, Haydock (1937-1942); the Rector of the Church of Our Lady and St. Nicholas, Liverpool (1942-1949); and the Canon of Liverpool Cathedral (1942-1949).

Reeves spent 1949-1960 in South Africa, as the Bishop of Johannesburg.  He was outspoken in his opposition to Apartheid and condemnation of the repressive, unjust, national government.  Our saint’s uncompromising moral position led to his deportation on September 12, 1960.  Bishop Reeves, back in England, resigned, effective March 31, 1961.  His anti-Apartheid activism continued; our saint served as the President of the Anti-Apartheid Movement from 1970 to 1980.

Bishop Reeves hoped to serve as a bishop ordinary in England, yet did not.  He did, however, serve as the Assistant Bishop of London (1962-1966) then the Assistant Bishop of Chichester (1966-1980).  Our saint, the General Secretary of the Student Christian Movement (1962-1965), served also as the Priest-in-Charge (1966-1968) then the Rector (1968-1972) of St. Michael’s Church, East Sussex.

Bishop Reeves, aged 81 years, died at Shoreham-by-Sea on December 23, 1980.  He had lived well and courageously.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 4, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN BROWNLIE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CARROLL O’CONNOR, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC ACTOR AND SCREEN WRITER

THE FEAST OF FRÉDÉRIC JANSOONE, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND FRIAR

THE FEAST OF LAMBERT BEAUDUIN, BELGIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND PIONEER OF LITURGICAL RENEWAL

THE FEAST OF SARAH PLATT DOREMUS, FOUNDER OF THE WOMEN’S UNION MISSIONARY SOCIETY

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil

and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us [like your servant Ambrose Reeves]

to use our freedom to bring justice

among people and nations, to the glory of your name;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-14

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Blessed Narcyz Putz (December 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Poland, 1927-1980

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED NARCYZ PUTZ (OCTOBER 28, 1877-DECEMBER 5, 1942)

Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1942

Alternative feast day = June 12 (Polish Martyrs of World War II)

Blessed Narcyz Putz comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Putz was originally a subject of the Russian Empire.  He, born in Sieraków (near Warsaw), on October 28, 1877, was a son of Józefa Brodniewicz and her husband, innkeeper Wladyslaw Putz.  Our saint completed his local education in 1898 then studied theology in Poznan and Gniezno.

Putz, ordained to the priesthood on December 5, 1901, served in various parishes.  Our saint also became active in Polish patriotic organizations.  With the independence of Poland (1919), after World War I, Putz entered a new phase of his life.  He served at Bydzoscz (1920-1025) then at Poznan (1925-1939).  Our saint fulfilled the usual priestly duties, and was a capable youth pastor.  Putz was also active in civic life, especially in matters related to public libraries, public parks, public theaters, and local economic development.

German forces invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.  Nazi authorities arrested Putz twice.  They apprehended him on October 4, 1939, then released him two weeks later.  The second arrest–that of November 9, 1939–was permanent.  Nazi authorities eventually transferred Putz to the concentration camp at Dachau then to the concentration camp at Gusen then back to the concentration camp at Dachau.  During his incarceration, our saint suffered torments and ministered to his fellow prisoners.  Putz, suffering from heart disease and pneumonia, died at Dachau on December 5, 1942.  Our saint was 67 years old.

Pope John Paul II declared Putz a Venerable then beatified him in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 3, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOANNA, MARY, AND SALOME, WITNESSES TO THE RESURRECTION

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Narcyz Putz

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

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

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Feast of Venerable Jan Franciszek Macha (December 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Venerable Jan Franciszek Macha

Image in the Public Domain

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VENERABLE JAN FRANCISZEK MACHA (JANUARY 18, 1914-DECEMBER 3, 1942)

Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1942

Alternative feast day = June 12 (Polish Martyrs of World War II)

Venerable Jan Franciszek Macha comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Macha, born a Russian subject, grew up in independent Poland.  He debuted in what is now Chozrów, Poland, on January 18, 1914.  Our saint was one of four children of Pawel Macha and Anna Cofalka.  Young Jan grew up in a devout household.  He, having perceived his vocation to the priesthood, applied to the Silesian Theological College in 1933.  That application failed, so our saint briefly studied law.  However, the second application, in 1934, succeeded.  Macha joined the Sacred Order of Deacons on May 1, 1938, then became a priest on June 25, 1939.

Europe was descending into World War II, and Macha understood that his life and priesthood would be brief.  They were holy, however.  Our saint, assigned to St. Josef Parish, Ruda Slaska, in the summer of 1939, ministered to his flock faithfully under wartime conditions.  German forces invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.  Merely being a Roman Catholic priest was sufficient to receive a death sentence from Nazi officials.  Macha tended to his congregation spiritually and raised funds to help the poor.  He did this until his arrest by agents of the Gestapo, at Katowice, on September 5, 1941.

Macha spent the rest of his short life as a prisoner of the Third Reich.  Nazi officials interrogated, abused, and humiliated him.  They moved Macha from prison to prison.  Our saint prayed for God to forgive them.  Macha, sentenced to death on July 17, 1942, went to the guillotine, at Katowice, shortly after Midnight on December 3, 1942.  He was 28 years old.  Prison authorities refused requests for a proper burial.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized Macha.  Pope Francis declared him a Venerable in 2019.  The Vatican has approved our saint for advancement to the status of beatus.  However, the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed that ceremony.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 2, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORG WEISSEL, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ANNA BERNADINE DOROTHY HOPPE, U.S. LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEBHARD, GERMAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MUSIC EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM FOSTER, ENGLISH MORAVIAN BISHOP, LITURGIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF PETER JULIAN EYMARD, FOUNDER OF THE PRIESTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, THE SERVANTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, AND THE PRIESTS’ EUCHARISTIC LEAGUE; AND ORGANIZER OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

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Almighty and everlasting God,

who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr,

Venerable Jan Franciszek Macha;

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

that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example;

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 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

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

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Feast of Lucy Menzies (November 24)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Scotland

Image in the Public Domain

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LUCY MENZIES (1882-1954)

Scottish Presbyterian then Anglican Scholar and Mystic

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All mystics from whatever century or country have a conviction of the supreme value of their inner experience of God.  Vision and love are one act in which all blessedness is found.  They find all natural lovely things moving towards the expression of the inexpressible.

–Lucy Menzies, in the introduction to The Revelations or The Flowing Light of the Godhead (1953)

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Lucy Menzies comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Scottish Episcopal Church.  Her feast day in that denomination is November 24.

Lucy Menzies was a daughter of Allan Menzies (1845-1916) and Mary Elizabeth Honey Menzies (d. 1916), both Presbyterians.  Allan, a minister, translated philosophical and theological books from German.  He married Mary Elizabeth, a minister’s daughter, in 1878.  Iona, the Holy Isle, was one of the Menzies family’s favorite vacation spots.  Allan, from 1889 the Professor of Biblical Criticism at St Andrews University, sent his daughters, May and Lucy, to finishing school in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1897.

Lucy became a scholar, predictably.  She made her publishing debut with General Foch at the Marne (1918), translated from French.  Subsequent original works included St. Columba of Iona (1920), A Book of Saints for the Young (1923), The Saints of Italy (1924), and Mirrors of the Holy (1928).  A translation of Abbé de Turville’s Letters of Direction on the Spiritual Life followed in 1939.  Lucy, a longtime friend of Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), had a hand in The Letters of Evelyn Underhill (1943), edited by Charles Williams (1886-1945).  Lucy’s last completed work was The Revelations or The Flowing Light of the Godhead, Translated from the Manuscript in the Library of the Monastery of Einsiedeln (1953).  This was a translation of writings of Mechthild of Magdeburg (1210?-1282/1285).

Lucy, confirmed into The Church of England in 1924, grew deeper in her faith by the help of Underhill, her de facto spiritual director.  Both women conducted spiritual retreats together, starting in the late 1920s.  Lucy served as the warden of the retreat house at Pleshey, Essex (1928-1938).  By 1938, our saint’s health and eyesight were failing, so she left Pleshey.

Above:  All Saints’ Church, St Andrews, Scotland

Image Source = Google Earth

Lucy returned to St Andrews and lived across from All Saints’ Church, where she worshiped.  She, awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by the University of St Andrews in June 1954, died later that year, before completing her biography of Underhill.

Lucy Menzies loved God with all her heart, soul, and mind.  She devoted her intellect to the glorification of God.  And our saint grew into a mystical expression of Christian faith generally alien to the Reformed tradition and much more at home within Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 27, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF NEW JERSEY; AND HIS SON, WILLIAM CROSWELL DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ALBANY; HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANTONY AND THEODOSIUS OF KIEV, FOUNDERS OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONASTICISM; SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT; AND SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, ANGLICAN POET AND RELIGIOUS WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZITA OF TUSCANY, WORKER OF CHARITY

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Lucy Menzies and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Blessed Enrichetta Alfieri (November 23)   19 comments

Above:  Blessed Enrichetta Alfieri

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ENRICHETTA ALFIERI (FEBRUARY 23, 1891-NOVEMBER 23, 1951)

Italian Roman Catholic Nun and “Angel of San Vittore”

Born Maria Angela Domenica Alfieri

Blessed Enrichetta Alfieri comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Maria Angela Domenica Alfieri came from an Italian family with four children.  Our saint, born in Borgo Vercelli, Italy, on February 23, 1891, grew up on a farm.  She knew as a child, though, that she had a vocation to religious life.  Alfieri’s parents delayed the commencement of this vocation until she was 20 years old.

Alfieri joined the Sisters of Charity of Saint Jeanne-Antide Thouret on December 20, 1911.  She eventually became a kindergarten teacher.  In 1917, however, the diagnosis of Pott’s Disease ended our saint’s teaching job.  The disease of the spine caused her saint pain and frequently immobilized her.  Alfieri’s superiors sent her on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in May 1922, but she left the grotto there not healed.  Officially and medically deemed incurable in February 1923, our saint recovered on February 25, 1923.  She reported hearing a voice say,

Get up.

Alfieri got up.  And she got back to work.  In late May 1923, Alfieri began her ministry at the prison of San Vittore.  This work continued for decades.  She became known as the “Mother of San Vittore” and the “Angel of San Vittori.”

During the Nazi occupation of Italy, the prison population changed to priests, nuns, Jews, and resistance fighters.  Our saint and other nuns, active in the resistance, became targets of the Nazis.  Alfieri, arrested and charged with espionage on September 23, 1944, spent 11 days in detention before Cardinal Archbishop of Milan Alfredo Ildefenso Schuster could arrange for her to transfer to Brescia.  The Cardinal also wrote his old ally, Benito Mussolini, and requested a pardon for the nun.

Aside:  Schuster is Blessed Alfredo Ildefenso Schuster, on the Roman Catholic calendar.  I have no intention of adding him to this Ecumenical Calendar because of his overt fascism.  I know better than to expect perfection from human beings, but support for fascism–in this case, the Italian Fascist Party–gives me pause.  The prominence of Schuster’s fascist sympathies and his avid support for the Italian invasion of Ethiopia raise red flags in my mind.  

Alfieri returned to San Vittore prison in an official capacity in May 1945.  The new inmates were prisoners of war and former Axis jailers.  She continued to minister to inmates at San Vittore for most of her life.  Our saint fractured a femur.  She also developed a heart condition and came down with a liver problem.  She, aged 60 years, died on November 23, 1951.  Inmates paid their respects.

Pope Benedict XVI declared Alfieri a Venerable then beatified her in 2009.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 27, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF NEW JERSEY; AND HIS SON, WILLIAM CROSWELL DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ALBANY; HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANTONY AND THEODOSIUS OF KIEV, FOUNDERS OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONASTICISM; SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT; AND SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, ANGLICAN POET AND RELIGIOUS WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZITA OF TUSCANY, WORKER OF CHARITY

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O God, you have brought us near to an innumerable company of angels,

and to the spirits of just men made perfect:

Grant us during our earthly pilgrimage to abide in their fellowship,

and in our heavenly country to become partakers of their joy;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Wisdom 3:1-9

Psalm 34 or 34:15-22

Philippians 4:4-9

Luke 6:17-23

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 725

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Feast of Blessed Anna Kolesarova (November 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Anna Kolesárová

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ANNA KOLESÁROVÁ (JULY 14, 1928-NOVEMBER 22, 1944)

Slovak Roman Catholic Martyr, 1944

Blessed Anna Kolesáarová comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Blessed Anna was a native of Czechoslovakia.  She, born in the Michalovce District on July 14, 1928, received the sacrament of baptism on July 15, 1928.  She was the third of three children in the blended family of Ján “Hruška” Kolesár and Anka (Kušnirová) Kolesárová.  The family was devout; the farmers lived their faith and attended Mass frequently.

Blessed Anna was a dutiful, simple, and modest girl.  Her mother died when our saint was ten years old.  Blessed Anna, therefore, added more household duties and care of her older brother Michal to her responsibilities.  She and friends also attended Mass often.

Germany occupied and annexed Czechoslovakia in states, immediately prior to and during World War II.  Slovakia became a rump, puppet state of the Third Reich.  Furthermore, sections of the former Slovak section of the former Czechoslovakia wound up within the borders of occupied Hungary.  Therefore, on November 22, 1944, Blessed Anna lived in Hungary.

In late 1944, the Soviet invasion of Germany and German-occupied territory from the east was underway.  Soldiers of the Red Army came to Blessed Anna’s hometown on November 22, 1944.  Ján, his children, and his neighbors hid in the Kolesár family’s cellar.  An intoxicated Soviet soldier discovered the hiding locals.  Ján, hoping the soldier would leave if he believed the hiding civilians were no threat, asked Blessed Anna to go to the kitchen and give him something to eat.  The soldier tried to rape Blessed Anna in the kitchen.  She resisted, escaped, and fled to the basement.  He followed her.  He killed her in front of her father.  Blessed Anna was 16 years old.

The communist government of Czechoslovakia forbade any mention of this martyrdom.  It also forbade gatherings at Blessed Anna’s grave.

Pope Francis declared our saint a Venerable then beatified her in 2018.  He affirmed that Blessed Anna had died in defensum castitatis.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR, 68

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Anna Kolesárová

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember her in thanksgiving,

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

that we may receive with her 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

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Feast of St. Guido Maria Conforti (November 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Guido Maria Conforti

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT GUIDO MARIA CONFORTI (MARCH 30, 1865-NOVEMBER 5, 1931)

Founder of the Xavierian Missionaries

St. Guido Maria Conforti comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Conforti, born in Casalora di Ravadese, Parma, Italy, on March 30, 1865, came from a large and devout Roman Catholic family.  Rinaldo Conforti and Antonia Adorni Conforti had ten children; our saint was the eighth.  Conforti, as a Catholic elementary school boy, visited the parish church nearly every day, to converse with the crucified Jesus.  Our saint perceived his vocation, which entailed leaving the farm, against his father’s wishes.

Conforti matriculated at the seminary in Parma in November 1876.  Reading the works of St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) inspired our saint to want to serve as a missionary.  Our saint applied unsuccessfully to join the Society of Jesus and the Society of Saint Francis de Sales.  The rector of the seminary was Blessed Andrea Carlo Ferrari (1850-1921), Conforti’s mentor.  Ferrari went on to serve as the Bishop of Guastilla (1890-1891), the Bishop of Como (1891-1894), and the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan (1894-1921).  Conforti, the Vice-Rector of the seminary under Ferrari, joined the ranks of priests on September 22, 1888, at Fontanellato.  He also taught at the seminary and, starting on March 7, 1896, served as the Vicar-General of the Diocese of Parma.

Conforti founded the Xavierian Missionaries on December 3, 1895.  Pope Leo XIII granted his approval in 1898.  The first Xavierian Missionaries arrived in China the following year.  Our saint served as the Archbishop of Ravenna from June 11, 1902, to November 1904.  After resigning from that post due to ill health, he became the Bishop Coadjutor of Parma and the Titular Archbishop of Stauropolis (1904-1907) then the Bishop of Parma (1907-1931).  He tended to his episcopal duties faithfully and traveled to China in 1928.  Our saint also influenced Maximum Illud (1919), Pope Benedict XV’s signal Apostolic Letter on foreign missions.

Conforti died in Parma on November 5, 1931.  He was 66 years old.

Holy Mother Church has formally recognized this saint.  Pope John Paul II declared Conforti a Venerable in 1992 the beatified him in 1996.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized our saint in 2011.

The Xavierian Missionaries continue their good work.  The website of the Xavierian Missionaries U.S.A. proclaims:

SHARING CHRIST ACROSS FAITHS AND CULTURES.

That ethos is consistent with the approach Conforti and Pope Benedict XV shared.  The Holy Father properly objected to mixing nationalism and Western ethnocentrism into missionary work, especially outside of the Western world.  He encouraged raising up local, indigenous people into leadership because the perception that Christianity and the Church were foreign and alien worked against successful evangelism.  The approach of Conforti and Pope Benedict XV was revolutionary at the time.  However, as time passed, it became mainstream.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 24, 2021 COMMON ERA

GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE

THE FEAST OF SAINT EGBERT OF LINDISFARNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK; AND SAINT ADALBERT OF EGMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN, CAPUCHIN FRIAR AND MARTYR, 1622

THE FEAST OF JOHANN WALTER, “FIRST CANTOR OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF SAINT MELLITUS, BISHOP OF LONDON, AND ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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Almighty God, we praise you for the men and women you have sent

to call the Church to its tasks and renew its life

[such as your servant Saint Guido Maria Conforti].

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 kingdom;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Eugene Carson Blake (November 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  My Copies of the Presbyterian Books of Confessions, from 1967, 1985, and 2007

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The Book of Confessions (1967), of The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

The Book of Confessions (1985, 2007), of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

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EUGENE CARSON BLAKE (NOVEMBER 7, 1906-JULY 31, 1985)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Ecumenist, and Moral Critic

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Boasting about our heritage of freedom, we allied ourselves with some of the worst dictators all over the world, as long as they were, in our judgment, anti-communist.  We have justified all sorts of immoral political acts either because we thought they would weaken communism or (even a more immoral excuse) that since the communists were doing them, so must we….These, and other such actions, have been occasioned far more by fear of communism than by concern for justice.

–Eugene Carson Blake, quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 554

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Eugene Carson Blake comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Cady and Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Blake came from Midwestern Presbyterian stock.  He, born in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 7, 1906, was a son of Lulu Blake and Orville Prescott Blake.  Our saint graduated from Princeton University with a degree in philosophy in 1928.  Then he taught the Bible, English, and philosophy at Forman Christian College, Lahore (then in India; now in Pakistan), for a year (1928-1929).  Next, Blake studied theology at New College, Edinburgh (1929-1930).  He matriculated at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1930 and graduated two years later.

Our saint, ordained in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA) in 1932, embarked upon his ministerial career.  He was, in order:

  1. the assistant pastor (1932) then the senior pastor (1932-1935) of the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas (Reformed Church in America), New York, New York;
  2. the senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Albany, New York (1935-1940); and
  3. the senior pastor of the Pasadena Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Pasadena, California (1940-1951).

Blake left parish ministry in 1951.  He served as the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1951-1958).  As such, he helped to execute the merger of the PCUSA with The United Presbyterian Church of North America (UPCNA) to form The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA) in 1958.  Then he served as the President of the Stated Clerk of the UPCUSA (1958-1966).

Above:  The Logo of the UPCUSA

Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

On the ecumenical front, Blake also served as the President of the National Council of Churches (1954-1957) then as the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (1966-1972).

Blake’s ecumenism led to the founding of the Consultation on Church Union (1962-2002), the predecessor of Churches Uniting in Christ (2002-).  In 1960, at Grace Episcopal Cathedral, San Francisco, California, he preached a famous sermon.  Our saint advocated for the merger of The UPCUSA (1958-1983), The Methodist Church (1939-1968), The Episcopal Church (1789-), and the United Church of Christ (1957-) into one denomination truly both Catholic and Reformed.

The Consultation on Church Union included ten denominations in 1967:

  1. the African Methodist Episcopal Church,
  2. the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church,
  3. the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),
  4. the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church,
  5. The Episcopal Church,
  6. the Evangelical United Brethren Church (merged into The United Methodist Church, 1968),
  7. The Methodist Church (merged into The United Methodist Church, 1968),
  8. the Presbyterian Church in the United States (merged into the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 1983),
  9. the United Church of Christ, and
  10. The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (merged into the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 1983).

The successor organization, Churches Uniting in Christ, consciously confronts racism.  The members are:

  1. the African Methodist Episcopal Church,
  2. the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church,
  3. the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),
  4. the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church,
  5. The Episcopal Church,
  6. the International Council of Community Churches,
  7. the Moravian Church in America,
  8. the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),
  9. the United Church of Christ, and
  10. The United Methodist Church.

That anti-racism is consistent with our saint’s legacy.

Blake was active in the Civil Rights Movement.  On July 4, 1963, he went to jail for trying to integrate the Gwynn Oak Amusement Park, Baltimore, Maryland.  The following month, he was prominent at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which he had helped to organize.  Our saint was one of speakers at that great event.  And, at the World Council of Churches (1966-1972), Blake led a global anti-racism program.

Blake’s opposition to the Vietnam War earned the ire of two Presidents of the United States of America.  He became persona non grata with Lyndon Baines Johnson (in office 1963-1969).  Richard Nixon (in office 1969-1974) had a list of 576 enemies, subject to official harassment, such as tax audits and F.B.I. investigations.  “Enemies” included actor Paul Newman (1925-2008), journalists Daniel Schorr (1916-2010) and Mary McGrory (1918-2019), and U.S. Representatives John Conyers (1929-2019) and Ron Dellums (1935-2018).  That list also included Blake.  Newman described being on Nixon’s enemies list as a great honor.  Schorr, whom the F.B.I. investigated, spoke to Nixon at a social occasion years after Nixon left office.  The journalist referred to that investigation.  The former President, apparently not apologetic and repentant, replied:

I damn near hired you once.

Blake was in very good company on Nixon’s list of enemies.

Blake also helped to make the United Presbyterian Book of Confessions and Confession of 1967 possible.  The first edition of The Book of Confessions debuted in 1967.  The emphasis on reconciliation in Christ in the Confession of 1967 was consistent with our saint’s work.

In Jesus Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.  He is the eternal Son of the Father, who became man and lived among us to fulfill the work of reconciliation.  He is present in the church by the power of the Holy Spirit to continue and complete his mission.  This work of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the foundation of all confessional statements about God, man, and the world.  Therefore the church calls men to be reconciled to God and to one another.

–From the Confession of 1967, quoted in The Book of Confessions (1967), 9.07

In retirement, Blake worked for Bread for the World.  Feeding starving people was consistent with decreasing poverty, another social justice issue and long-time cause of our saint.  He had worked on economic and social development at the World Council of Churches, too.

Blake, aged 78 yeas, died in Stamford, Connecticut, on July 31, 1985.  By then The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church in the United States had merged to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in 1983.

Blake got more right than wrong–a daunting task and a great accomplishment.

I am an ecumenist.  Denominational structures exist because of human nature.  We in the Universal Church should, of course, strive to reduce the number of denominations via well-reasoned and feasible mergers.  And, when organic union is not feasible, perhaps cooperation is.  So be it.

I am also an Episcopalian.  I have definite Roman Catholic tendencies.  What passes for corporate worship in most of Protestantism leaves me uninspired.  I want to ask:

Do you call this a proper liturgy?

My denominational Plan B is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), in full communion with The Episcopal Church.  This is a good fit, given the historical relations between Anglicanism and Lutheranism.

Blake’s proposed United Presbyterian Church-United Church of Christ-Methodist Church-Episcopal Church union was not feasible.  For example, in 1993, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) published its most recent Book of Common Worship.  It was a vast improvement over The Worshipbook–Services (1970), incorporated into The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972).  Many Presbyterians objected to the new Book of Common Worship.  It was too Episcopalian, they said.

A denomination has a character.  Some denominations are better fits with other denominations than with others.

Blake issued his proposal at a different time.  Most Christian denominations in the United States of America were growing in membership, for example.  Also, The Episcopal Church had yet to bear the full fruits of liturgical renewal in 1960.  Nevertheless, his vision for a more united institutional church has become more relevant when, in the United States of America and the rest of the Western world, “none” has become the fastest-growing religious affiliation.

Sadly, Blake’s foci on reducing poverty and racism are more germane than ever.  Related to them is another one of his favorite themes.  We need reconciliation with each other and God more than ever.  Reconciliation is difficult to achieve when mutually hostile camps cannot even agree on what constitutes objective reality.

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Loving and righteous God, who transcends all religious denominations,

we thank you for the faithful ministry, social witness, and legacy of your servant, Eugene Carson Blake.

May we also seek to bring the world closer to the high calling of the fully-realized Kingdom of God,

and embrace our brother and sister Christians in other denominations;

for your glory and for the common good.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Leviticus 19:9-18

Psalm 133

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

John 17:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 24, 2021 COMMON ERA

GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE

THE FEAST OF SAINT EGBERT OF LINDISFARNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK; AND SAINT ADALBERT OF EGMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN, CAPUCHIN FRIAR AND MARTYR, 1622

THE FEAST OF JOHANN WALTER, “FIRST CANTOR OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF SAINT MELLITUS, BISHOP OF LONDON, AND ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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Feast of John Harris Burt (October 20)   1 comment

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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JOHN HARRIS BURT (APRIL 11, 1918-OCTOBER 20, 2009)

Episcopal Bishop of Ohio, and Civil Rights Activist

Bishop John Harris Burt comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via his connection to his father, Bates Gilbert Burt (1878-1948), already here.

John Harris Burt was a native of Michigan.  He, born in Marquette on April 11, 1918, was a son of Father Bates Gilbert Burt and Abigail Gilbert Bates Burt.  Burt, Sr., was the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Marquette (1904-1922).  Burt, Sr., was later the Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Pontiac, Michigan (1922-1947).  Our saint, after graduating from high school in Pontiac, matriculated at Amherst College (B.A., 1940).  Then he studied social work for a year at Columbia University, followed by further studies at Virginia Theological Seminary (Class of 1943).

Then Burt began ordained ministry.  He, ordained to the diaconate (1943) then the priesthood (1944), was the canon of the Cathedral chapter of Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral, St. Louis, Missouri, as well as the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, St. Louis (1943-1944).   He met Martha May Miller at St. Paul’s Church.  Next, Burt served as a chaplain in the United States Navy (1944-1946).  He married Martha on February 16, 1946.  Our saint was also the Episcopal chaplain at The University of Michigan (1946-1950).  He left that post to become the Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Youngstown, Ohio (1950-1957).  As the Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Pasadena, California (1957-1967), Burt made that parish a leader in social activism.  He was, for example, a prominent ally of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez.

Above:  The Flag of Ohio

Image in the Public Domain

Burt became a bishop.  He, elected in 1966, became the Bishop Coadjutor of Ohio on February 4, 1967.  He succeeded to become the Bishop of Ohio by the end of the year.  Burt served until he retired in 1983.  Our saint was outspoken and active.  He opposed the Vietnam War.  In 1967, Burt spoke at the International Inter-Religious Symposium of Peace in New Delhi, India.  Following the collapse of the steel industry in Youngstown, Ohio, our saint co-founded the Ecumenical Coalition of the Mahoning Valley.  This earned him the Thomas Merton Award, previously given to luminaries, such as Dorothy Day and Daniel Berrigan.  Burt, an early advocate for the ordination to women to the priesthood, promised to resign if the General Convention of 1976 did not approve such ordinations.  It did, much to the consternation of many a traditionalist Anglican.

Burt was active in Christian ecumenism and interfaith relations.  He was, for a time, the President of the Southern California Council of Churches, as well as a representative to the National Council of Churches at another time.  Our saint chaired the denominational Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations (1974-1979).  He worked on Jewish-Christian relations at The Episcopal Church, the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, the United States Holocaust Museum, and the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel.

Burt understood that loving one’s neighbors had practical applications.  Therefore, for example, he worked on energy independence, as well as solutions to economic problems in Ohio and seven nearby states.

Our saint, aged 91 years, died in Marquette, Michigan, on October 20, 2009.  Martha, their four daughters, six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren survived him.

Burt said:

The world alters us as we walk in it.

He worked to alter the world for the better as he walked through it.

May each of us do likewise.

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God of Shalom, we thank you for the ministry, international work,

and community development work of your servant, John Harris Burt.

May we also, in the Name of Jesus, pursue peace with our neighbors near and far away,

and build up each other spiritually, economically, and concretely.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Amos 8:1-10

Psalm 1

James 2:14-26

Luke 6:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 22, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GENE BRITTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF DONALD S. ARMENTROUT, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF HADEWIJCH OF BRABERT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF KATHE KOLLWITZ, GERMAN LUTHERAN ARTIST AND PACIFIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT VITALIS OF GAZA, MONK, HERMIT, AND MARTYR, CIRCA 625

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Feast of Blessed Alicja Maria Jadwiga Kotowska (November 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Alicja Maria Jadwiga Kotowska

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ALICJA MARIA JADWIGA KOTOWSKA (NOVEMBER 20, 1899-NOVEMBER 11, 1939)

Polish Roman Catholic Nun and Martyr, 1939

Born Maria Jadwiga Kotowska

June 12 = Feast of the 108 (Polish) Martyrs of World War II

Blessed Alicja Maria Jadwiga Kotowska comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Maria Jadwiga Kotowska grew up a subject of the Russian Empire.  She, born in Warsaw on November 20, 1889, was the third of seven children of Jan Kotowski and Zofia (Barka) Kotowska.  The family was devout and Roman Catholic, and Jan was an organist.  Nuns in Warsaw educated our saint.

With the restoration of Polish independence in 1919, Kotowska, a nursing student, served her new country proudly.  During the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921), Soviet forces approached Warsaw in 1920.  She, as a Red Cross nurse, went to the front lines.

Kotowska joined the Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection of Our Lord (the Resurrection Sisters) at Kety, near Bielsko, in 1922.  She had met some Resurrection Sisters while she was in nursing school.  Our saint, during her third year of nursing school, became Sister Alicja.  She made her first vows in 1924, returned to Warsaw, studied mathematics and natural sciences at the university, made her perpetual vows (1928), and defended her Master’s thesis in chemistry (1929).

Kotowska worked as a teacher and a nurse for most of the rest of her life.  She taught chemistry in Zoliborz, was a school nurse, and eventually ran the school.  In 1934, Kotowska became the director of a girls’ boarding school in Wejherowo.  She did this well, and won recognition for doing so.

After the Soviet-German partition of Poland (1939), Kotowska found herself in the German zone.  The Nazis closed the school at Wejherowo.  Agents of the Gestapo arrested our saint and took her to the prison in town.  The following November 11, Nazis shot many prisoners, including our saint.  In nine days, she would have been forty days old.

Pope John Paul II declared Kotowska a Venerable then beatified her in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 22, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GENE BRITTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF DONALD S. ARMENTROUT, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF HADEWIJCH OF BRABERT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF KATHE KOLLWITZ, GERMAN LUTHERAN ARTIST AND PACIFIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT VITALIS OF GAZA, MONK, HERMIT, AND MARTYR, CIRCA 625

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power

your holy martyr Blessed Alicja Maria Jadwiga Kotowska

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember her in thanksgiving,

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

that we may receive with her 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

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