Archive for the ‘Saints of 1940-1949’ Category

Feast of Marian Anderson (February 29)   3 comments

Above:  Marian Anderson Performing at the Lincoln Memorial, 1939

Image in the Public Domain

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MARIAN ANDERSON FISHER (FEBRUARY 27, 1897-APRIL 8, 1993)

African-American Singer and Civil Rights Activist

Marian Anderson comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Anderson grew up in a devout Christian home.  She, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 27, 1897, was one of three daughters of Annie Delilah Rucker (1874-1964) and John Berkeley Anderson (c. 1872-1910).  Annie, who did not have a college degree, had taught in Virginia.  She could not teach in Pennsylvania, however; a state law barred African Americans (yet not whites) without a college degree from teaching.  So Annie took care of children for a living.  John sold coal and ice at the Reading Terminal in Philadelphia.  Eventually, he added another source of revenue–selling liquor.  The Andersons were active in Union Baptist Church, South Philadelphia.  All three daughters sang.  Our saint joined the church’s junior choir when she was six years old.  She joined the People’s Chorus in the city four years later.  Marian performed solos in both choirs.

Church and family helped Anderson achieve her potential.  Her father died when she was 12 years old.  Annie and the three daughters moved in with John’s parents.  In 1912 our saint graduated from Stanton Grammar School, but her family could not afford to send her to high school and to take music lessons.  Anderson’s church eventually paid for her to take music lessons and to attend South Philadelphia High School.  Our saint graduated in 1921.

Racism proved to be a professional obstacle for Anderson in the United States.  She, rejected from the Philadelphia Music Academy because of her skin color, studied music privately.  In 1925 our saint won a contest in New York Philharmonic sponsored.  The prize was a concert, at which she performed with the orchestra.  The date of that concert was August 26, 1925.  Anderson continued to study music privately.  She performed at Carnegie Hall for the first time in 1928.  Our saint’s career outside her native country was more successful than in the United States.  In 1937 she was in Princeton, New Jersey, to perform in Princeton, New Jersey.  When a hotel turned Anderson away because of her race, Professor Albert Einstein invited her to be his guest.  This was not the last time Anderson spent time with the Einstein family.

Perhaps Anderson’s most famous concert was her performance at the Lincoln Memorial, in 1939.  The Daughters of the American Revolution had denied our saint the opportunity to sing at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C.  First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt arranged for a larger, better venue instead.  Anderson finally sang at Constitution Hall in 1943.

Anderson was a trailblazer.  She performed the role of Ulrica in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City.  In so doing, our saint became the first African American to perform for that opera company.  The intensely patriotic vocalist, who entertained military personnel during World War II and the Korean War, also performed at President Dwight Eisenhower’s second inauguration (1957) and President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration (1961).  Eisenhower appointed Anderson to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (1958f).  Furthermore, our saint, active in the Civil Rights Movement, received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963.

Anderson married architect Orpheus H. Fisher (1900-1986) on July 17, 1943.  She thereby became the stepmother of Fisher’s son, James.  Our saint, who lived on a farm near Danbury, Connecticut, from 1940 to 1992, retired on April 10, 1965, the date of her last performance at Carnegie Hall.

Anderson moved to Portland, Oregon, to reside with her nephew, James DePriest, a conductor in 1992.  She died in that city on April 8, 1993.  Our saint was 96 years old.

Anderson had a simple, non-judgmental faith she learned from her mother.  She trusted in God without condemning people whose theology differed from hers.  God, as our saint understood God, was loving and providential.

Marian Anderson’s life spanned decades of much cultural and legal change, especially regarding matters of race.  She helped to create some of that change; our saint did her part to leave the world and the United States of America better than they had been.  Events of the last few years have proven (as if anyone needed evidence) that any talk of the “death of racism” is ridiculous.

The work of fighting racism has fallen to those of us who still have pulses.  May we do our parts, so that those who follow us chronologically will have less work to do in this arena than they would otherwise.

I remember the casual racism around which I grew up.  My parents raised me to reject racism, but many people around me had a different attitude.  Seldom did any of these racists–classmates or some of my father’s parishioners, usually–bother to use code words in lieu of slurs.  I recall know that this language and the bias behind it were wrong.  Yet I also know that some of that racism rubbed off on me, as if by osmosis.  Some thoughts I know to be immoral occur sometimes.  Only God and I know when this happens, for I never express these thoughts.  No, I confess them to God and seek forgiveness.  I entertain the better angels of my nature.

The beginning of resisting racism in society, an institution, a community, et cetera, is choosing not to cave into it as it manifests withing oneself, unless one is a rare person who lacks any trace of racism.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 7, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILHELM WEXELS, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; HIS NIECE, MARIE WEXELSEN, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN NOVELIST AND HYMN WRITER; LUDWIG LINDEMAN, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN ORGANIST AND MUSICOLOGIST; AND MAGNUS LANDSTAD, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, FOLKLORIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNAL EDITOR

THE FEAST OF BRADFORD TORREY, U.S. ORNITHOLOGIST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHANN GOTTFRIED WEBER, GERMAN MORAVIAN MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, AND MINISTER

THE FEAST OF JOHN WOOLMAN, QUAKER ABOLITIONIST

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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 Marian Anderson,

to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Chris, 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

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Fred Rogers (February 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  Fred Rogers, July 9, 2002

Image in the Public Domain

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FRED MCFEELY ROGERS (MARCH 20, 1928-FEBRUARY 27, 2003)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

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…but kindness is like a garden of blessings….

–Sirach 40:17a, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

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Fred Rogers comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via his deep Christian piety and great decency.

For years, off and on, hosts of FOX and Friends have taken Rogers behind the woodshed verbally, as clips easily available on YouTube prove.  These television personalities have asked if he was

RUINING KIDS

for telling young people,

You’re special because you’re you.

These hosts have also accused Rogers of being

This evil, evil man….

As any historian knows, consider the source.  That source’s foolishness is obvious to anyone who knows what evil is.  When I think of evil people, my mind turns immediately to genocidal dictators:  Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot.  Personalities at FOX and Friends think of kindly hosts of children’s shows, apparently.

But kindness is a paradise in its blessings….

–Ecclesiasticus 40:17a, The Revised English Bible (1989)

Fred Rogers was a  paragon of gentleness and mere goodness.  Fred McNeely Rogers knew about childhood struggles firsthand.  He, son of Nancy Rogers and businessman James Rogers, debuted in LaTrobe, Pennsylvania, on March 20, 1928.  Our saint, as a youth, was overweight, shy, and a frequent target for bullies.  The introvert, played with puppets and stuffed animals at home.  He came out of his shell and slimmed down eventually.

Our saint made a career in television, mostly for children.  After graduating from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, with a degree in music composition, in 1951, Rogers worked for NBC in New York, New York, for two years.  He worked behind the cameras on positive programming.  In 1952 Rogers married Sara Joanne Byrd, a former classmate at Rollins College, and a fine pianist.  The couple raised two children and remained married until our saint died, in 2003.

But goodness, like eternity, will never be cut off….

–Wisdom of Ben Sira 40:17a, The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011)

Rogers made the transition to children’s programming in 1953, when he went to work behind the cameras at WQED, a public television station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He developed The Children’s Corner.  Our saint also studied child psychology and development at the University of Pittsburgh, where he met Margaret McFarland, a psychologist.  They collaborated professionally for decades.  Furthermore, Rogers studied at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  He became an ordained minister in The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1963.  Rogers served as a pastor in a congregation; television was his main ministry.  Writing books for children was another ministry.

Rogers worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in Toronto from 1963 to 1967.  He made his debut as a host on MisteRogers (1963-1967).  Our saint also worked on Butternut Square from 1964 to 1967.  Many characters on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood started during this period.

You made this day special just by being yourself.

–Fred Rogers

Rogers, back in Pittsburgh, produced and starred in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-1975, 1979-2001), for which he also composed most of the music.  He created 895 episodes rerun frequently.  The series focused on the moral, psychological, and emotional development of children.  Themes included tolerance and self-worth.  Topics included assassination (in 1968), divorce, civil rights, the death of a pet, and starting school.  Rogers affirmed that life is not cheap, that is a great wonder and something to affirm and celebrate.  He also said that television programs should make that point.

You know, you don’t have to look like everybody else to be acceptable and to feel acceptable.

–Fred Rogers

Rogers also made other television appearances, usually as himself.  In 1978, on hiatus from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, our saint hosted the 20 episodes of Old Friend…New Friends, an interview series for adults.  He also portrayed the Reverend Thomas in an episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman in 1996.

Rogers produced the final episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in December 2000.  Then he retired.  That retirement was brief, due to our saint’s failing health.  Rogers, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 27, 2003.  In less than a month, he would have been 75 years old.

Fred Rogers was a good neighbor to everyone.

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Loving God, in whom all goodness dwells and in whom is Heaven,

we thank you for the life, legacy, and faith of your servant, Fred Rogers,

a vehicle and conduit of your love for all people.

May your love define our lives and inform our work,

for the benefit of others and for your glory;

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

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-13a

Psalm 15

1 Corinthians 13

Matthew 18:1-5

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 6, 2019 COMMON ERA

PROPER 22:  THE SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF GEORGE EDWARD LYNCH COTTON, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CALCUTTA

THE FEAST OF HEINRICH ALBERT, GERMAN LUTHERAN COMPOSER AND POET

THE FEAST OF JOHN ERNEST BODE, ANGLICAN PRIEST, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM TYNDALE, ENGLISH REFORMER, BIBLE TRANSLATOR, AND MARTYR, 1536; AND MILES COVERDALE, ENGLISH REFORMER, BIBLE TRANSLATOR, AND BISHOP OF EXETER

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Feast of Pedro Arrupe (February 28)   2 comments

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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PEDRO ARRUPE GONDRA (NOVEMBER 14, 1907-FEBRUARY 5, 1991)

Advocate for the Poor and Marginalized

Superior General of the Society of Jesus

Pedro Arrupe comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Father Joe Nangle, OFM, writing in Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday, eds., Cloud of Witnesses (2005).

Pedro Arrupe Gondra, born in Bilbao, Spain, on November 14, 1907, was a Basque, like St. Ignatius (of) Loyola (1491-1556), the founder of the Society of Jesus.  Arrupe, who joined the Jesuits in 1927, studied medicine in Madrid.  He continued his studies overseas, starting in 1932, when the Spanish Republican government expelled members of the Society of Jesus.  Our saint arrived in Japan, as a missionary, in 1938.  He, ordained to the priesthood in St. Marys, Kansas, in 1936, held a doctorate in medical ethics.

Arrupe understood the relationship between the Gospel and societal responsibility; he absorbed the message of various Hebrew prophets regarding exploitation of the poor and the marginalized.  Our saint, arrested as an alleged spy in December 1941, spent 33 days in prison.  Then he returned to his duties as master of novices for the Jesuit mission to Japan.  He, living on the outskirts of Hiroshima, joined his colleagues in serving as first responders after the U.S. nuclear bombing of the city on August 6, 1945.  Of the 150 people to which Arrupe and company tended, 149 survived.  Arrupe, regardless of where he was, recognized Jesus in “the least of these.”  This attitude helped him in his work, regardless of his title and duties.  Our saint became the Superior of the Jesuit Japanese Province in 1958.  From 1965 to 1983, he served as the Superior General of the order.

Vatican II was reshaping the Roman Catholic Church.  That Council coincided within a movement within Roman Catholicism in Latin America to defend the poor and the exploited, not military dictatorships that preyed on civilians.  The teaching of the divine preference for the poor informed this shift.  Arrupe challenged Christians, including his brother Jesuits, to defend “the least of these,” as Jesus would have had them do.  In a revolutionary age in the Church, our saint supported Liberation Theology, but only to a point.  Arrupe insisted on the primacy of the Gospel over political revolution.  He also shielded the Society of Jesus from attacks from more conservative quarters of the Roman Catholic Church.  As Jesuit priests and bishops, including Father Rutilio Grande (1928-1977) and Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980), joined the ranks of martyrs at the hands of brutal dictatorships, Arrupe continued to support he cause for which they died.

Arrupe, being an intellectually and spiritually honest Christian, also defended the rights of refugees.  He, affected by the plight of Vietnamese boat people, founded the Jesuit Refugee Service in 1980.  Our saint insisted,

Saint Ignatius called us to go anywhere where we are most needed for the greater glory of God.  The spiritual as well as the material need of more than 16 million refugees throughout the world today could scarcely be greater.  God is calling us through these helpless people.

Arrupe, who said that

the love of God which does not issue in justice is a farce,

resigned as Superior General in 1983.  He had suffered a stroke in late 1981, and a Papal appointee had served as interim Superior General.  Our saint, forced to use a wheelchair, died in Rome on February 15, 1991.  He was 83 years old.

The cause for Arrupe’s beatification and canonization opened officially on February 5, 2019.

Attempting to read the minds of dead people can easily become an act of great folly.  In this case, however, I know what Arrupe would say about the global refugee crisis in 2019.  I do not have to guess what he would think about Donald Trump’s policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexican border.  Neither do I have to guess what our saint would say about Trump’s recommendation to shoot asylum seekers in the legs.  I do not have to guess what Arrupe would say about government policies that enrich the wealthy and keep the impoverished poor.

Pedro Arrupe was a prophet.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 5, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DAVID NITSCHMANN, SR., “FATHER NITSCHMANN,” MORAVIAN MISSIONARY; MELCHIOR NITSCHMANN, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR, 1729; JOHANN NITSCHMANN, JR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; ANNA NITSCHMANN, MORAVIAN ELDRESS; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, MISSIONARY AND FIRST BISHOP OF THE RENEWED MORAVIAN CHURCH

THE FEAST OF CYRIACUS SCHNEEGASS, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF BLESSED FRANCIS XAVIER SEELOS, GERMAN-AMERICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK, U.S. NORTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER AND OPPONENT OF FUNDAMENTALISM

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness in the care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may

do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer, who lives and reigns

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

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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Feast of Charles Sheldon (February 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  Charles Sheldon

Image in the Public Domain

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CHARLES MONROE SHELDON (FEBRUARY 26, 1857-FEBRUARY 24, 1946)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Author, Christian Socialist, and Social Gospel Theologian

The Reverend Charles Monroe Sheldon comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Sheldon took to heart Christ’s command to be salt and light in the world.  Some efforts were more successful than others, but all of them shared one point of origin:  Christian faith.

Sheldon grew up in a Congregationalist family.  His father was a minister.  Our saint moved with his family from church to church.  Sheldon, born in Wellsville, New York, on February 26, 1857, grew up mostly in the Dakotas.  The family was not wealthy; it struggled financially.  That background and the socially and theologically background of nineteenth-century Congregationalism influenced Sheldon.

Sheldon became a socially-conscious minister.  After graduating from Brown University and Andover Theological Seminary, he served as a pastor, uin Waterbury, Vermont (1887-1889).  Typhoid was a frequent problem in town.  Our saint suggested that the proximity of the water supply to pig pens was the cause of the unsafe water.  The town corrected the issue and solved the problem.

Sheldon served in one other church; he was pastor of Central Congregational Church, Topeka, Kansas,, from 1889 to his retirement in 1920.  Our saint left the congregation better off in every way after three decades of leadership.  Attendance and membership increased.  So did outreach in the community.  Sheldon, author of more than 30 Social Gospel novels, including In His Steps (1896), asked a crucial question:

What would Jesus do?

In 1893 the pastor, a Christian Socialist and a theologian of the Social Gospel, concluded that Jesus would approve of the Central Congregational Church sponsoring the first kindergarten for African Americans west of the Mississippi River.  The congregation did that.  Sheldon, who encouraged middle-class and upper-class Christians to sympathize and identify with the poor and the marginalized paired evangelism with faith-based activism.

Much less successful were Sheldon’s campaigns for the prohibition of alcohol (throughout his life) and for world peace (after the retired).  Prohibition proved to be a movement that perhaps only mobsters loved more than moralistic idealists did.  World peace has been elusive, of course.  In the aftermath of World War I, however, that quest was of its time, as well as admirable.

Sheldon, from 1920 to 1924 the editor of a periodical, Christian Herald, died in Topeka on February 24, 1946.  In two more days he would have celebrated his eighty-ninth birthday.

The question of what Jesus would do is always relevant in public and private life.  That issue, like the Law of Moses, requires one to consider the timeless principles and variable factors.  The Golden Rule is a constant factor, a timeless principle.  The proper application of it depends on variables, tough.  For example, who one is, how old one is, where one is, when one is, and other particulars of one’s context vary from person to person.  Variables add a degree of relativism to the mix.  We (individually and collectively) have a mandate to live according to the Golden Rule when and where we are.  May we succeed, by grace.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JEHU JONES, JR., AFRICAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH HOSKINS, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LORENZO RUIZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, 1637

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

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly with evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant Charles Sheldon,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

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

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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This is post #1800 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska (February 20)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED STANISLAWA RODZINSKA (MARCH 16, 1899-FEBRUARY 20, 1945)

Polish Roman Catholic Nun and Martyr, 1945

Also known as Giulia Rodzinska, the Mother of Orphans, Sister Maria Julia, and the Apostle of the Rosary

Alternative feast day (as one of the 108 Martyrs of World War II) = June 12

Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska, from humble origins, became a nun.  She, one of five children of Marianna Sekuly and Michael Rodzinska, entered the world in Nawojowa (now in Poland) on March 16, 1899.  [Note:  Poland existed as parts of the Austro-Hungarian, German, and Russian Empires in 1899.]  Michael, an employee of a bank, was also the parish organist and choir director.  The family was poor, and Marianna’s wealthy relatives refused to provide financial assistance.  Marianna died when our saint was eight years old.  About two years later, Michael died.  Stanislawa (ten years old) and her sister moved to an orphanage Dominican nuns operated.  Our saint joined that order, at Tarnobrzegu-Wielowsi, in 1916.  Sister Maria Julia, as Stanislawa became known, made her profession on August 5, 1924.

Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska/Sister Maria Julia taught in Dominican orphanages for 22 years.  In 1934 she became the Superior of the orphanage in Vilnius, Lithuania.  Eventually, the regime of President Antanas Smetona (in office 1918-1920 and 1926-1940), a dictator, starting in 1929, seized the orphanage and convent.  Local Vincentian nuns opened their convent to the Dominican sisters.

Matters became worse after the German invasion of Lithuania (June 1941).  Nazi persecution of religious institutions that did disobeyed Adolf Hitler began.  Agents of the Gestapo arrested Rodzinska on July 12, 1943.  She spent a year of solitary confinement in a cell so small she had no room to stretch out.  In July 1944, German authorities transferred our saint from her cell near Vilnius to the concentration camp at Sztutowo, Poland.  There she formed a prayer group, shared her food, and nursed female Jewish prisoners.  Rodzinska contracted typhus, which caused her death, by caring for her sister prisoners.  She died, aged 45 years, on February 20, 1945.

Pope John Paul II declared Rodzinska a Venerable and beatified her in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 27, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GENEVA; SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL, “THE APOSTLE OF CHARITY;” SAINT LOUISE DE MARILLAC, COFOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY OF SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL; AND SAINT CHARLES FUGE LOWDER, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF THE HOLY CROSS

THE FEAST OF ELIZA SCUDDER, U.S. UNITARIAN THEN EPISCOPALIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF MELANESIA, 1864-2003

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Stanislawa Rodzinska

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 Massey H. Shepherd, Jr. (February 19)   1 comment

Above:  The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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MASSEY HAMILTON SHEPHERD, JR. (MARCH 14, 1913-FEBRUARY 19, 1990)

Episcopal Priest, Ecumenist, and Liturgist

Dean of American Liturgists

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O God, whose son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people:  Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

–Massey H. Shepherd, Jr., Contemporary Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter; in The Book of Common Prayer (1979), 225

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Massey H. Shepherd, Jr., with his courtly Southern manners, big smile, and love of cats, was an engaging person.  He has come to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via his liturgical work, mainly.

Shepherd helped to revolutionize liturgy in The Episcopal Church, to much praise and condemnation.  He, born in Wilmington, North Carolina, on March 14, 1913, grew up primarily in Columbia, South Carolina.  Our saint eared his B.A. and M.A. at the University of South Carolina.  His Ph.D. (1937) from The University of Chicago followed.  Then our saint matriculated at Berkeley Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut.  There he became a protégé of William Palmer Ladd (1870-1941), Dean of the seminary and a proponent of liturgical renewal, especially with regard to increasing congregational participation in worship.  As early as 1956, Shepherd advocated having the celebrant face the congregation, not turn his back on it, during the Eucharistic prayers.

Shepherd was an ecclesiastical historian and a liturgist.  The two fields went hand-in-hand, for our saint found influences in ancient liturgies.  (Liturgical renewal was, to a great extent, a process of reviving older, abandoned traditions that predated Reformation-era practices.)  Our saint taught at the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1940-1954); and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California (1954-1981).  He also sat on the denomination’s Standing Liturgical Commission from 1947 to 1976 and served as its Vice-Chairman from 1964 to 1976.

Shepherd had a few goals, which became reality.  In 1946 he helped to found the Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission, one purpose of which was to make the Eucharist the central Sunday service in The Episcopal Church.  He also made Baptism a public (never private) rite in The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  Furthermore, our saint wrote The Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper (1967), which began the introduction of modern English into worship in The Episcopal Church.  He, as a member of the Standing Liturgical Commission, had a hand in subsequent trial-use volumes:

  1. Services for Trial Use (1971),
  2. Authorized Services 1973 (1973), and
  3. The Proposed Book of Common Prayer and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church (1976).

Shepherd, author of more than 30 books (mostly about liturgies), the General Article about the Post-Apostolic Church in Volume I (1952) of The Interpreter’s Bible, and the commentaries on the Gospel and three Epistles of John in The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible (1971), had a magnum opus:  The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  He translated the alternative (second) form of absolution (page 448) from Form One of the Reconciliation of a Penitent.  Shepherd wrote:

  1. the Litany of Penitence (pages 267-269) from the Ash Wednesday service,
  2. the postcommunion prayer (page 432) from the marriage ceremony,
  3. an alternative postcommunion prayer (page 457) from Ministration to the Sick,
  4. the postcommunion prayer (pages 482 and 498) from the Burial of the Dead,
  5. the Litany of Thanksgiving (pages 836-837),
  6. the collect for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany (pages 163 and 215),
  7. the collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (pages 173 and 225),
  8. the collect for Proper 6 (pages 178 and 230),
  9. the collect for the Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter (pages 187 and 238),
  10. the collect for the Feast of Saint Joseph (pages 188 and 239),
  11. the collect for the Feast of Saint Mark (pages 188 and 240),
  12. the collect for the Feast of Saint Barnabas (pages 189 and 241),
  13. the collect for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (pages 190 and 241),
  14. the collect for Holy Cross Day (pages 192 and 244),
  15. the collect for the Feast of Saint Matthew (pages 192-193 and 244),
  16. the collect for the Feast of Saint James of Jerusalem (pages 193 and 245), and
  17. the collect for the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude (pages 194 and 245).

If all that were not enough, Shepherd was also an ecumenist.  He was an observer from the Anglican Communion to the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).  Our saint, as a member of the worship committee of the Churches of Christ Uniting (COCU, founded as the Consultation on Church Union), wrote much of COCU’s liturgy.  (COCU has become Churches Uniting in Christ.)

Shepherd’s liturgical contribution was great.  It was also controversial. (Bile regarding him is easy to find on the Internet, not that I encourage anyone to read it.)  In the early 1970s, publishing the Lord’s Prayer without archaic pronouns upset many people, for example.  Many members of the Society for the Preservation of the Book of Common Prayer (the Prayer Book Society) have probably never forgiven Shepherd for his work in the revision of The Book of Common Prayer (1928).

C’est la vie.

Shepherd, aged 76 years, died in Sacramento, California, on February 19, 1990.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ANNA ELLISON BUTLER ALEXANDER, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EPISCOPAL DEACONESS IN GEORGIA, AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF HENRY HART MILMAN, ANGLICAN DEAN, TRANSLATOR, HISTORIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JUVENAL OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MARTYR IN ALASKA, AND FIRST ORTHODOX MARTYR IN THE AMERICAS, 1796

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER THE ALEUT, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MARTYR IN SAN FRANCISCO, 1815

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Massey H. Shepherd, Jr.)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of John Meyendorff (February 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Logo of The Orthodox Church in America

Fair Use

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IVAN FEOFILOVICH, BARON VON MEYENDORFF (FEBRUARY 17, 1926-JULY 22, 1992)

Russian-French-American Orthodox Priest, Scholar, and Ecumenist

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In America, both of their numbers and the quality of many among its clergy and laity, the Greek Orthodox community deserves a position of leadership….The mission of all Americans regardless of ethnic background (as required by the Gospel itself) cannot wait for changes occurring in Istanbul, Turkey.

–John Meyendorff; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 66

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A theme common to Old World immigrant Christian denominations in the United States of America is metaphorically redrawing the map of the Old World in the new country.  Therefore, one can read of long-lasting ethnic divisions that continue (or have continued) to define otherwise similar denominations after language has ceased to function as a barrier.  Cultural attachments, comforting to many, impede the Great Commission, though.

John Meyendorff understood this.

Ivan Feofilovich, Baron von Meyendorff came from a Russian family living in France.  He, born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, on February 17, 1926, remained in France until 1959.  He studied at the Sorbonne in the late 1940s and at the École Pratique des Hautes Études from 1948 to 1954.  Our saint earned his doctorate in Letters in Theology from the Sorbonne in 1958.  His dissertation became his first book, A Study of Gregory Palamas (French, 1959; English, 1964).  Meyendorff also taught at St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Seminary, Paris, and became a Fellow of the Centre National de la Rechereche Scientifique.

Meyendorff, ordained to the priesthood, moved with his family to the United States in 1959.  His primary academic home from 1959 to 1992 was St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary, Yonkers, New York.  Our saint was the Librarian, a professor, the Director of Studies, and the Dean (from March 19784 to June 1992), as well as the Editor of St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly.  Furthermore, Meyendorff held joint academic appointments to Harvard University, Fordham University, Union Theological Seminary (New York City), and Dumbarton Oaks.

Meyendorff’s books included the following:

  1. The Orthodox Church (1963),
  2. Orthodoxy and Catholicity (1966),
  3. Christ in Eastern Orthodox Thought (1969),
  4. Byzantine Theology (1973),
  5. Marriage, an Orthodox Perspective (1975),
  6. Living Tradition (1978),
  7. Byzantium and the Rise of Russia (1980),
  8. The Byzantine Legacy in the Orthodox Church (1981),
  9. Catholicity and the Church (1983), and
  10. Imperial Unity and Christian Divisions:  The Church, 450-680 A.D. (1989).

Meyendorff was an Eastern Orthodox ecumenist.  He represented his tradition in the World Council of Churches.  Our saint also encouraged Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions within the United States to merge across ethnic lines.  The Russian Orthodox groups that broke with the Moscow Patriarchate after 1917 did not heed our saint’s advice to lay aside their differences, but Meyendorff did play a role in the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America becoming independent of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1970 and becoming The Orthodox Church in America (OCA).  The OCA has expanded beyond its Russian roots to include Albanian, Bulgarian, and Romanian dioceses.

Meyendorff, Rector of Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, New York, New York, from 1977 to 1984, was also active on the denominational level.  He advised the OCA’s Holy Synod and edited The Orthodox Church, a monthly newspaper.

Meyendorff, recipient of the Order of St. Vladimir, Second Class, from Patriarch Alexei II in 1991, retired from St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary in June 1992.  His retirement was brief; pancreatic cancer claimed our saint’s life on July 22, 1992.  He was 66 years old.

The cause of transethnic unity of Eastern Orthodoxy in the United States remains unfinished work.

I compiled a list of the twenty-eight Eastern Orthodox congregations and chapels, as well as the one monastery, in Georgia, where I live.  I counted eight jurisdictions, with the following counts:

  1. Greek Orthodox–10,
  2. Orthodox Church in America–8,
  3. Antiochian Orthodox Christian–4,
  4. Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia–3,
  5. American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox–1,
  6. Serbian Orthodox–1,
  7. Romanian Orthodox–1, and.
  8. Ukrainian Orthodox–1

Not surprisingly, most of these are in the Atlanta metropolitan area, where the majority of Georgians reside.

Denominational inertia persists.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 21, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHEW THE EVANGELIST, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

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Almighty God, we praise your name for your servant John Meyendorff,

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 whom 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), 60

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