Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1940s’ Category

Feast of Blessed Marin Shkurti (December 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Marin Shkurti

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIN SHKURTI (OCTOBER 1, 1933-APRIL 1, 1969)

Albanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1969

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You shoot me because I am a priest.  I am innocent.  Long live the faith in Christ.  Long live Albania.

–Blessed Marin Shkurti, April 1, 1969

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Albania, for most of the Cold War, was a Communist state that remained apart from the Soviet Bloc.  The Soviet Union and its satellites were hardly paradise, but Albania was worse.  Persecution of religion was a long-standing policy, but, starting in 1967, the country was officially atheistic.  The government closed all houses of worship and imposed a decade-long sentence for preaching.

Blessed Marin Shkurti, born in Samrish, Shkodrë, Albania, on October 1, 1933, became a priest and celebrated his first Mass on December 8, 1961.  He ministered openly until 1967.  Then he became an underground priest.  In 1968 he fled to Yugoslavia, but authorities extradited him.  The following year, courts convicted many of his relatives and sentenced them to either hard labor or long prison terms.  Our saint, convicted to treason, received the crown of martyrdom on April 1, 1969.  He was 37 years old.

Pope Francis declared Shkurti a Venerable then beatified him in 2016.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 25, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT JOHN OF MATERA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMINGO HENARES DE ZAFIRA CUBERO, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PHUNHAY, VIETNAM, AND MARTYR; SAINT PHANXICÔ DO VAN CHIEU, VIETNAMESE ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR; AND SAINT CLEMENTE IGNACIO DELGADO CEBRIÁN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP AND MARTYR IN VIETNAM

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love

in the heart of your holy martyr Blessed Marin Shkurti:

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 Emma Francis (December 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of the United States Virgin Islands

Image in the Public Domain

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EMMA FRANCIS (DECEMBER 7, 1875-APRIL 8, 1945)

Lutheran Deaconess in the United States Virgin Islands and Harlem

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God is God.  He alone is All-wise.  On Him we must trust for the future although it appears dark to us.

–G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 389

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Emma Francis devoted her life to serving God and being a positive influence in society.  She, born on St. Kitts (in the West Indies) on December 7, 1875, was a daughter of Mary H. Francis and the Reverend Joseph Francis.  After a Moravian education on Antigua, our saint trained in Germany to become a missionary.  She was originally supposed to go to Africa, but the leaders of the missionary training school became concerned that white missionaries would discriminate against her.  So, in 1906, Frances began to train in Friendenshort to become a deaconess.  She, consecrated in 1907, transferred in 1908 to the Ebenezer Home for Girls, Frederikstad, St. Croix, Danish territory until 1917.  She taught in the orphanage for all but six years of the remainder of her life.

Frances spent 1921-1927 in Harlem, New York, New York.  In 1922 she became the first African-American deaconess in North American Lutheranism–in the United Lutheran Church in America (extant 1918-1962), a predecessor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  While in Harlem, she helped to found the Lutheran Church of the Transfiguration, now the Christ Center at Transfiguration.

Francis, a stickler about observing the Sabbath, worked well with at-risk youth for decades.  She also learned German and Spanish so she could expand her ministry.

Deaconess Emma Francis, 69 years old, died on April 8, 1945.

In 2019 the Queen Louise Home campus of Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands has a special unit for children and young adults with severe physical and developmental disabilities.  The name for that unit is the Sister Emma Cottage, appropriately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 25, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT JOHN OF MATERA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMINGO HENARES DE ZAFIRA CUBERO, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PHUNHAY, VIETNAM, AND MARTYR; SAINT PHANXICÔ DO VAN CHIEU, VIETNAMESE ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR; AND SAINT CLEMENTE IGNACIO DELGADO CEBRIÁN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP AND MARTYR IN VIETNAM

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

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Sophie Koulomzin (December 3)   2 comments

Above:  Russian Orthodox Cross

Image in the Public Domain

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SOPHIE SCHIDLOVSKY KOULOMZIN (DECEMBER 3, 1903-SEPTEMBER 29, 2000)

Russian-American Orthodox Christian Educator

Sophie Koulomzin served God most effectively in Christian education.

Our saint, born Sophie Schidlovsky in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire, on December 3, 1903, knew the life of a Russian elite and the life of struggling émigré.  Her father, Sergei Schidlovsky, was the last vice president of the old Duma.  The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 forced the family to flee, ultimately to Paris.  Sophie studied (on scholarships) at the University of Berlin then at Columbia University, New York, New York, from which she earned her M.A. in Religious Education in 1926.  She became the first woman from the Eastern Orthodox tradition to earn that degree there.

Our saint, back in Paris, put her degree to work.  She taught émigré children and edited My First Book about the Orthodox Faith and My Second Book about the Orthodox Faith.  She also worked with St. Maria Skobtsova (1891-1945), a nun who sheltered Jews during the German occupation and died for doing so.

Sophie Schidlovsky became Sophie Koulomzin in 1932, when she married engineer Nikita Koulomzin.  The couple had three daughters and one nun.

The family resided in the United States, starting in 1949, when they settled in Nyack, New York.  Sophie taught in her parish and joined the Metropolitan Council Church School Committee.  She encouraged Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States to cooperate and to conduct Christian education of the young in English–to leave the Old World psychologically and emotionally.  In 1957 she helped to create the ecumenical Orthodox Christian Education Commission, in which she was prominent.

NOTE:  I have read histories of immigrant, minority denominations–Lutheran and Reformed, mainly–in the United States.  Regardless of the denomination, some patterns have been consistent.  The denominations have, most strongly at first, functioned as means of preserving a culture and handing it down from one generation to the next.  This has restricted the appeal of the denomination to a particular ethnicity for a long time.  Meanwhile, cultural and linguistic transitions have occurred as the first-generation immigrants have died and the generations born in the United States have begun to assimilate.  This transition has been psychologically difficult for many of those who left the Old World only physically.  During these long transitions these immigrant denominations have lost many younger, culturally-assimilated members.  As English has become the dominant or only language in a particular denomination, mergers have occurred.

I have a mixed opinion about this.  I do not consider myself ethnic; I descend mainly from Anglo-Saxons who moved to North America in the 1600s.  I have a sprinkling of other cultures–French (Huguenot, to be precise), German, and Cherokee, for example–in my family tree.  Furthermore, people stop me occasionally and ask if I am Greek or Italian.  As I was writing, I do not consider myself ethnic, especially in the United States.  However, I like many of the old Danish and Swedish Lutheran hymns that have fallen out of favor with Lutheran hymnal committees since cultural assimilation and denominational mergers.  Different cultures add to the collective life of the United States; variety is indeed the spice of life.  Members of different cultures can learn much from each other.

Koulomzin taught future priests and bishops at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, New York, form 1956 to 1970, when she retired.  The seminary awarded her an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree as she entered retirement.

In the 1990s our saint was active in efforts related to the Christian education of children in the former Soviet Union, as the Russian Orthodox Church emerged from decades of persecution.  Patriarch of Moscow Alexis II awarded her the Order of Saint Olga in 1999.

Koulomzin, a member of what became the Orthodox Church in America in 1970, lived to the age of 96 years.  She died on September 29, 2000.

Christian education is one of the elements of parish life that many adherents take lightly, unfortunately.  The life and work of Sophie Koulomzin should remind us of the importance of Christian education–certainly, for children, but also for adults.

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Loving God, in whom we find the path to salvation and shalom,

we thank you for the life and work of Sophie Koulomzin in Christian education.

May we take Christian education seriously, deepen our faith, and lead others on the right paths,

for your glory and the common good.  In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Nehemiah 8:1-12

Psalm 119:105-112

Acts 8:26-40

Matthew 13:1-17

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 23, 2019 COMMON ERA

PROPER 7:  THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF JOHN JOHNS, PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HEINRICH GOTTLOB GUTTER, GERMAN-AMERICAN INSTRUMENT MAKER, REPAIRMAN, AND MERCHANT

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICETAS OF REMESIANA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF WILHELM HEINRICH WAUER, GERMAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MUSICIAN

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Feast of Maura Clarke and Her Companions (December 2)   4 comments

Above:  Flag of El Salvador

Image in the Public Domain

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MARY ELIZABETH CLARKE (JANUARY 3, 1931-DECEMBER 2, 1980)

ITA FORD (APRIL 23, 1940-DECEMBER 2, 1980)

DOROTHY LU KAZEL (JUNE 30, 1939-DECEMBER 2, 1980)

JEAN DONOVAN (APRIL 10, 1953-DECEMBER 2, 1980)

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U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS IN EL SALVADOR, DECEMBER 2, 1980

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What do you do when even to help the poor, to take care of the orphans, is considered an act of subversion by the government?

–Jean Donovan, December 1, 1980

One becomes a martyr.

These four women served God faithfully, especially among poor people, and followed Jesus to death.  Each one took up her cross and followed Christ.

The Cold War made for morally untenable compromises.  During U.S. presidential administrations of both major parties, the federal government supported brutal military dictatorships that targeted those who worked among the desperately poor.  The rationale for supporting such repressive regimes was that at least they were not communists.  One of these governments ran El Salvador.  Military death squads executed many, who in the name of Christ, worked with the poor, as well as many of those poor civilians, all in the name of fighting communism.

Dorothy Lu Kazel (1939-1980) had been Sister Laurentine of the Ursulline Sisters of Cleveland, Ohio, since 1960.  The native of Cleveland had taught at the Sacred Heart Academy in East Cleveland (starting in 1965) and taught catechism to deaf students at the St. Martin de Porres Center, Glennville, Ohio.  After serving as a missionary to the Papago tribe in Arizona in 1969, Kazel returned to Cleveland and earned her M.A. in counseling (1974).  That year she worked briefly at the Beaumont School for Girls, Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  In 1974 she joined a mission of the Diocese of Cleveland to El Salvador.  In that country Kazel, workin with the poor in dangerous circumstances, became “Madre Dorthea.”

Jean Donovan was a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in El Salvador.  She, born in Westport, Connecticut, on April 10, 1953, had been a business consultant in Cleveland, Ohio.  Donovan, having earned her M.A. in Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University, had gone to work for the firm of Arthur Andersen.  She had also begun to  volunteer with poor people in Cleveland.  The call to serve God in the poor took precedence.  Donovan quit her job, joined the Maryknolls, and trained to become a missionary.  She arrived in El Salvador in July 1979.

Donovan and Kazel worked together in El Salvador.  They were some of those who kept vigil with the casket of St. Oscar Romero (1917-1980) in March 1980.  They witnesses the military attack on the large crowd at his funeral on March 30, 1980.  Hundreds suffered injuries and forty-four died.  Donovan and Kazel knew the risks they took daily, and that each day could be their last.

Donovan was no fool, especially about U.S. military helicopters.  Her father build them for a living.  One day in November 1980, Donovan, 27 years old, riding her motorbike, noticed a U.S. military helicopter following her.  She recognized its name and model.  When Donovan asked the U.S. Ambassador about the helicopter, he denied the presence of any such equipment in the country.

Maura Clarke and Ita Ford were Maryknoll Sisters.

Clarke, born in Queens, New York, New York, on January 13, 1931, was a daughter of Irish immigrants.  She joined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1950 and made her vows in 1953.  After graduating from the Maryknoll Teachers College in 1954, she taught at St. Antony’s Parish School, in the Bronx.  Then Clarke spent 1959-1977 working with poor people in Nicaragua.  She spent 1977-1980 in the United States as part of a Maryknoll Sisters World Awareness Team.  She worked mostly on the East Coast.  Our saint returned to Nicaragua in 1980.  There she remained consistently until August.

Ita Ford, born in Brooklyn, New York, New York, on April 23, 1940, joined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1961, having graduated from Marymount College.  Failing health forced Ford out of the order in 1964, but she returned seven years later.  She worked as an editor at Sadlier publishers from 1964 to 1971.  She rejoined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1971.  The order sent Ford to Chile in 1973, shortly after the CIA-sponsored coup d’état that over threw the Allende government and installed Augusto Pinochet, who terrorized the civilian population for 18 years.  She left Chile for El Salvador in 1980, shortly after the assassination of Archbishop Romero.  In El Salvador Ford worked with Sister Carol Piette (September 29, 1939-August 23, 1980).  Piette and Ford were escorting a recently released prisoner to his home when they became caught up in a flood.  Piette gave her life to save those of Ford and the former prisoner.

Ford joined with Clarke in Nicaragua later that month.  Ford returned to Chalatango, El Salvador, with Clarke replacing Piette.  Later the women returned to Nicaragua briefly.  They returned to El Salvador on December 2, 1980.  Kazel and Donovan met them at the airport.

Soldiers abducted the women, beat all of them, raped Kazel and Donovan, and shot each woman in the back of her head.

The U.S. Government’s response was inconsistent.  The Carter Administration, set to expire in just over a month, suspended military aid to El Salvador.  Its policy toward brutal governments in El Salvador had been inconsistent, despite Carter’s pronouncements about the importance of human rights in foreign policy.  The Carter Administration had long been aware of the El Salvadoran death squads.  Archbishop Romero’s martyrdom in March 1980 had prompted international outrage.  The Reagan Administration, which did not link human rights to foreign policy in Latin America, restored military assistance and never pressured the government of El Salvador to respect the human rights of its citizens or those of the United States.  At least the government of El Salvador, with its death squads, was fighting communists, right?  The Carter Administration’s hypocrisy and the Reagan Administration’s indifference regarding human rights in Central America were both objectionable, but the former was preferable to the latter.

Clarke reflected,

One cries out, “Lord, how long?  And then too what creeps into my mind is the little fear or big, that when it touches me very personally, will I be faithful?”

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 526

All four women were faithful to the end.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 22, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALBAN, FIRST BRITISH MARTYR

THE FEAST OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, DUTCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, BIBLICAL AND CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, AND CONTROVERSIALIST; SAINT JOHN FISHER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, BISHOP OF ROCHESTER, CARDINAL, AND MARTYR; AND SAINT THOMAS MORE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, JURIST, THEOLOGIAN, CONTROVERSIALIST, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF GERHARD GIESCHEN, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULINUS OF YORK, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF NOLA

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Almighty God, who gave to your servants Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and Jean Donovan

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of the world, and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 122

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713

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Feast of Albert George Butzer (November 28)   7 comments

Above:  Westminster Presbyterian Church, Buffalo, New York

Image in the Public Domain

Photographer = Fortunate4now

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ALBERT GEORGE BUTZER, SR. (JULY 19, 1893-NOVEMBER 28, 1967)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Educator

The Reverend Doctor Albert George Butzer, Sr., comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume II (1953), for which he wrote the profound and sometimes humorous exposition on the Book of Hebrews.

What strange names are listed in this passage!  Elizur the son of Shedeur, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, etc.  These names and others are all Greek to us, or more precisely, Hebrew.  The Exeg. reminds us, however, that almost every one of these names in the Hebrew embodies some reference to God….Though the name of God may not be in our names, we can make our names stand for God.

–143-144, 147

At the height of church attendance in the United States, Butzer wrote:

Is it not one of our deepest needs to put the church back again at the center of the community’s life?  But it will avail little to do that unless the church itself puts God at the center of its own life, unless the church will be again be the church, the tent of meeting, “the Dwelling of the Presence” (1:30 Moffatt), the one place where men can be sure to meet God, not only the God of Israel but “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Cor. 11:31).

–149, 152

One wonders what he would write in the age during which “none” is the fastest-growing religious affiliation, atheism and antitheism are chic, and many people claim to be “spiritual but not religious” without any hint of irony.

Butzer, a child of Louis Butzer and Minnie Betz Butzer, became a great minister.  He entered the world in Buffalo, New York, on July 19, 1893.  Our saint graduated from Northwestern College, Napierville, Illinois, in 1915, then matriculated at the Evangelical Theological Seminary, Napierville, that year.  He studied at the seminary until 1917.  In 1918 and 1919 Butzer was a chaplain in the U.S. Army.  After the war, he attended Union Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1920.  In subsequent years our saint received two Doctor of Divinity degrees (from Middlebury College and Hamilton College) and a Doctor of Laws degree (from McMaster University).

Butzer was a Presbyterian minister.  He served first in the old Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (-1958) then in its immediate successor, The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.  During the fundamentalist-modernist controversy in the PCUSA in the 1920s, our saint sided with the modernists.  He served as pastor of just two congregations in forty-one years of active ministry.  The first congregation was West Side Presbyterian Church, Ridgewood, New Jersey, from 1921 to 1932.  The other congregation was Westminster Presbyterian Church, Buffalo New York, from 1932 to 1962, when he retired.  At Westminster Butzer made sure the church had new stained glass windows and fine organ music.

Consistent with what he wrote in 1953, Butzer was active in the community.  He taught at two local private schools–Buffalo Seminary and the Nichols School.  He also sat on the Buffalo City Planning Board and the Executive Committee of the Community Chest of Buffalo.

Butzer was also a family man.  On September 6, 1921, the young Presbyterian minister married Katharine Coe.  The couple had three children:

  1. Albert Butzer, Jr.;
  2. Clayton Coe Butzer; and
  3. Marjorie Betty Butzer.

Our saint, 74 years old, died in Buffalo on November 28, 1967.

Much of the sacredness of life is evident in its mundane details.  Consider, O reader, the importance of teaching students, counseling parishioners, raising a family, tending to a marriage, maintaining the quality of church music, and building up one’s community.  God is present in the details.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 7, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMITIAN OF HUY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

THE FEAST OF HARRIET STARR CANNON, FOUNDRESS OF THE COMMUNITY OF SAINT MARY

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH ARMITAGE ROBINSON, ANGLICAN DEAN, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROSA VENERINI, FOUNDRESS OF THE VENERINI SISTERS; MENTOR OF SAINT LUCIA FILIPPINI, FOUNDRESS OF THE RELIGIOUS TEACHERS FILIPPINI

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Albert George Butzer, Sr.,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock.

We pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ;

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of H. Baxter Liebler (November 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  Episcopal Flag

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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HAROLD BAXTER LIEBER (NOVEMBER 26, 1889-NOVEMBER 21, 1982)

Episcopal Priest and Missionary to the Navajo Nation

H. Baxter Liebler comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

The Brooklyn-born Liebler spent nearly half of his long life ministering to members of the Navajo nation in Utah.

Liebler, born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 26, 1889, was a son of Mildred Walther Liebler and theater producer Theodore Liebler.  Our saint became a businessman then a second-career priest.  He married his first wife, Frances F. Marks (d. 1978) in 1913.  Liebler, ordained to the priesthood in 1978, served first as Curate of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, New York, New York.  In 1918 he founded St. Saviour’s Church, Old Greenwich, Connecticut.  In 1942 Liebler was the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Riverside, Connecticut, when he was on vacation in southwestern Utah.  He noticed the poverty of the Navajo there; they lacked even schools and clinics.  He had had a fascination with Native Americans since childhood.  The combination of factors led to Liebler becoming a missionary.

Liebler did something about that poverty; he returned the following year and remained for the rest of his life.  Our saint founded St. Christopher’s Mission, Bluff, Utah, as well as a school and a clinic.  He respected the Navajo culture, mastered the language, and integrated Navajo prayers and tunes into the liturgy.  He rejected culturally destructive assimilation, by which many folkways and languages have gone extinct, and many indigenous people have fallen into a host of severe woes and ills.  Liebler was glad when the State of Utah assumed responsibility for the school and the clinic, for he preferred to focus on evangelism.  He excelled in that; he baptized about 2,000 Navajos.

Liebler remained active in retirement (1962-1982).  He moved to Oljato and founded the St. Mary-of-the-Moonlight Mission, as well as the Hat Creek Retreat Center.  Our saint, a widower, also remarried.  His second wife was Joan Warburton Eskell (1915-2009).  He died in Oljato on November 21, 1982, five days prior to what would have been his ninety-third birthday.

One legacy of Liebler’s work is The Episcopal Church’s Navajoland Area Mission (a.k.a. the Episcopal Church in Navajoland), carved out of the Dioceses of Arizona, Utah, and the Rio Grande (encompassing New Mexico and much of western Texas) in 1977.  Navajoland has three regions and nine congregations in 2019.  Bishop David Bailey emphasizes ordaining indigenous priests and deacons as the mission area nears the presumptive election of its fourth indigenous bishop.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 23, 2019 COMMON ERA

TUESDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF TOYOHIKO KAGAWA, RENEWER OF SOCIETY AND PROPHETIC WITNESS IN JAPAN

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

THE FEAST OF WALTER RUSSELL BOWIE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, SEMINARY PROFESSOR, AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant H. Baxter Liebler,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the Navajo people.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 716

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Feast of Theodore P. Ferris (November 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  Trinity Episcopal Church, Boston, Massachusetts

Image Source = Library of Congress

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THEODORE PARKER FERRIS (DECEMBER 23, 1908-NOVEMBER 26, 1972)

Episcopal Priest and Author

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Preaching on the Ascension encounters certain obstacles which may in turn be used as opportunities.  The first obstacle is the resistance of the average layman to Christian doctrine.  In spite of the rising tide of “neo-orthodoxy” among the clergy, there are still a great many laymen who are interested in Christianity as a way of life, but are not at all interested in its framework of faith.  They believe that they can keep the Christian standards of moral conduct and give up the Christian articles of faith.  The Ascension, being one of those articles, does not concern them.  They want to know the things Jesus said, not the the things that were said about him….

A doctrine begins with a significant event from which people draw a general conclusion.  Just as people cannot escape the impact of events, so they cannot escape drawing conclusions  which attempt to explain the experience, relate it to the rest of experience, and communicate it to future generations by expressing it in an intelligible form.

–Theodore P. Ferris, in The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 9 (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1954), 24-25

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Theodore P. Ferris comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the ninth volume (1954) of The Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the exposition on the Acts of the Apostles.

Ferris, a priest, taught preaching in seminaries.  He, born to Walter Andrew Ferris and Eva Parker (Ferris) in Port Chester, New York, on December 23, 1908, graduated from Harvard University in 1929 then from the General Theological Seminary in 1933.  He became a deacon in 1933 then a priest the following year.  Our saint served in three congregations in thirty-nine years.  He was:

  1. Assistant Rector, Grace Episcopal Church, New York, New York (1933-1937), doubling as a tutor a the General Theological Seminary;
  2. Rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Baltimore, Maryland (1937-1942); and
  3. Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Boston, Massachusetts (1942-1972), doubling as adjunct instructor of homiletics at the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1943-1964).

Ferris, a bachelor, also found time to write.  Aside from his work for The Interpreter’s Bible, his published works included:

  1. This Created World (1944),
  2. When I Became a Man (1957),
  3. The New Life (1961),
  4. Book of Prayer for Every Man (1962),
  5. What Jesus Did (1963), and
  6. The Image of God (1965).

Ferris, a trustee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, left a fine legacy in other ways.  He, a recipient of at least six honorary doctorates, served as a delegate to the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches in 1948.  He also composed the hymn tune “Weymouth” (1941) for The Hymnal 1940 (1943).

Ferris, aged 63 years, died in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 26, 1972.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2019 COMMON ERA

HOLY SATURDAY

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN, MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND “PASTOR OF THE REFORMATION”

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN X, KING OF DENMARK; AND HIS BROTHER, HAAKON VII, KING OF NORWAY

THE FEAST OF MARION MACDONALD KELLERAN, EPISCOPAL SEMINARY PROFESSOR AND LAY LEADER

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Theodore Parker Ferris 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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