Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1960s’ Category

Feast of John Leary (August 30)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Boston, Massachusetts

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN TIMOTHY LEARY (FEBRUARY 22, 1958-AUGUST 31, 1982)

U.S. Roman Catholic Social Activist and Advocate for the Marginalized

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All his spiritual efforts, and there were many, were not however primarily focused on himself, on his own righteousness, on his own salvation, etc.  His life was intensely ordered toward others.  The prayers, the choices, the daily Masses and Communions, the repentance, the study, the retreats, etc., had one aim, namely to make possible the deeds of Christ-like love, mercy, service and kindness here and now, in the particular concrete moment.  John believed he could not genuinely serve people except by loving them in the way God revealed they should be served in the person of Jesus.

Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, on John Leary, September 4, 1982

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John had a sensitivity, an awareness of the pain of others that was relentless.  Compassion for others had become the dominant experience of his life.

–Sister Evelyn Ronan on John Leary; quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 375

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The difference with John was that he discovered that life had no purpose, no meaning, no direction, and no focus apart from the purpose and focus on God….He became in his short life the complete and total man for others, and those who knew him and loved him testify to the face of Christ that shone in and through him.

–The Reverend Peter Gomes on John Leary; quoted in All Saints (1997), 376

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This feast comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints (1997).  Ellsberg’s assigned date is August 31, but, given that I have reserved that date for St. Nicodemus, a Biblical figure, I transfer Leary’s feast to August 30.

John Timothy Leary, born into a New England Roman Catholic working class family with Irish roots on February 22, 1958, spent his 24 years well.  He, inspired by Thomas Merton (1915-1968) and Dorothy Day (1897-1980), took his Catholicism seriously.  Leary was a pacifist–a member of Pax Christi.  He also affiliated with the Catholic Worker Movement.  Leary’s eulogist, Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, described our saint as a “Magna Cum Laude Harvard Graduate” and “Summa Cum Laude Catholic Worker.”  Leary, committed to the “seamless garment” doctrine of life, protested against the death penalty, abortion, and the military draft.  He allowed street people to live in his apartment.  Leary worked with the elderly, the homeless, and the incarcerated.  The major in religious studies (Harvard University Class of 1980) attended Mass daily, usually at Our Lady of the Annunciation Melkite Greek Catholic Cathedral, Boston, Massachusetts.  Leary also read the Bible, prayed the rosary, and attended retreats at a Trappist monastery.

Leary, who enjoyed running, died in Boston on August 31, 1982.  That afternoon he was running from work to his room at the Catholic Worker house when he had a heart attack.

What might Leary have done for God and many of his fellow human beings–especially vulnerable ones–had he lived longer?

The answers to that question occupy the realm of the counterfactual, but the holy example of his life can and should inspire us to use our time wisely, to the glory of God and the benefit of others.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 6, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN WYCLIFFE AND JAN HUS, REFORMERS OF THE CHURCH

THE FEAST OF GEORGE DUFFIELD, JR., AND HIS SON, SAMUEL DUFFIELD, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTERS AND HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF HENRY THOMAS SMART, ENGLISH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF OLUF HANSON SMEBY, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth:

Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer,

and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy.

We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit,

and who lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 2:7-11

Psalm 1

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Matthew 25:1-13

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 726

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Feast of Blesseds Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini Beltrame Quattrocchi (August 26)   Leave a comment

 

Above:  Blesseds Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi

Images in the Public Domain

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BLESSED LUIGI BELTRAME QUATTROCCHI (JANUARY 12, 1880-NOVEMBER 8, 1951)

His feast transferred from November 9 and November 25

husband of 

BLESSED MARIA CORSINI BELTRAME QUATTROCCHI (JUNE 24, 1884-AUGUST 26, 1965)

Alternative feast day = November 25

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ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC HUMANITARIANS

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[They] made their family an authentic domestic church, open to life, prayer, witness to the Gospel, the social apostolate, and solidarity with the poor, and friendship.

–Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, on our saints

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Tony Hendra, in Father Joe, quoted Father Joe as telling him that the Roman Catholic Church had not canonized enough married couples. Holy Mother Church has not canonized Luigi and Maria Corsini Beltrame Quattrocchi yet, but it has beatified them–together.  Pope John Paul II declared them Venerables on July 7, 2001, and Blesseds on October 21, 2001.  The three surviving children–including a priest and a monk-priest–attended the beatification ceremony.

Luigi Beltrame, born in Catatania, Italy, on January 12, 1880, was a son of Carlo and Francesca Beltrame.  For most of his youth, however, his childless uncle Luigi and aunt Stefania Quattrocchi raised him.  Uncle Luigi worked for Royal Customs, a career path that took the family to Rome in 1890.  Our saint lived in the Eternal City for the rest of her life.  He graduated from law school in 1902 and went to work in the banking industry.

Maria Corsini, born in Florence, Italy, on June 24, 1884, was a daughter of Giulia Salvi and soldier Angiolo Corsini.  The family moved frequently because of military reassignments.  The pious family made sure that Maria received a fine education.  She met Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi in Rome in 1901.  On November 25, 1905, in the Chapel of St. Catherine, at the Basilica of St. Maria Maggiore, Rome, she married Luigi.  Maria became an educator–even a professor of education.

The couple had four children from 1906 to 1914.  Filippo (b. 1906) became a priest.  Stefania (b. 1908) became a nun.  Cesare (b. 1909) became a monk-priest.  Enrichietta (b. 1914) and her mother almost did not survive that difficult pregnancy.  Maria was more devout than Luigi during the early years of their marriage, but he became more religious by 1914.  Enrichietta, who remained a lay person and cared for her aging parents, helped to solidify Luigi’s faith.

The couple lived their faith.  Maria helped victims of the earthquake at Avezzano in 1914.  That year she became a catechist among women at St. Vitale parish, Rome.  She was a Red Cross nurse in 1915-1918, a Franciscan tertiary from 1917, a member of the female branch of Catholic Action from 1920, and a Red Cross nurse during World War II.  She and Luigi, active in scouting programs for youth in Rome, were once supporters of Benito Mussolini and the Fascist Party, but they renounced that position.  (Mussolini and his fellow fascists wanted to make Italy great again.)  During World War II they took refugees, including Jews, into their home, at great risk to themselves.

Luigi died of a heart attack in Rome on November 9, 1951.  He was 71 years old.

Maria died at Serravalle, Arezzo, Italy, on August 26, 1965.  She was 81 years old.

Pope John Paul II, when recognizing these saints, acknowledged their heroic virtue.  They had it in spades.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 3, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN AND ANATOLIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE, PATRIARCHS; AND SAINTS AGATHO, LEO II, AND BENEDICT II, BISHOPS OF ROME; DEFENDERS OF CHRISTOLOGICAL ORTHODOXY

THE FEAST OF CHARLES ALBERT DICKINSON, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF IMMANUEL NITSCHMANN, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND MUSICIAN; HIS BROTHER-IN-LAW, JACOB VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP, MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, AND EDUCATOR; HIS SON, WILLIAM HENRY VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP; HIS BROTHER, CARL ANTON VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, COMPOSER, AND EDUCATOR; HIS DAUGHTER. LISETTE (LIZETTA) MARIA VAN VLECK MEINUNG; AD HER SISTER, AMELIA ADELAIDE VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN CENNICK, BRITISH MORAVIAN EVANGELIST AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servants

Blessed Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Blessed Maria Corsini Beltrame Quattrocchi,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

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

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 724

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Feast of Blessed Maria Troncatti (August 25)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Maria Troncatti

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIA TRONCATTI (FEBRUARY 16, 1883-AUGUST 25, 1969)

Italian Roman Catholic Nun and Missionary in Ecuador

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A look at the crucifix gives me life and the courage to work.

–Blessed Maria Troncatti

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Blessed Maria Troncatti, born in Corteno Golgi, Brescia, Italy, on February 16, 1883, spent most of her life in Ecuador.  She, growing up in a devout family on a farm, discerned her religious vocation at an early age.  In 1908 she joined the Salesian Sisters of Saint John Bosco (in full the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians), founded by St. John Bosco (1815-1888) and St. Maria Domenica Mazzarello (1837-1881) in 1872 to teach young people, especially the poor, female, and at-risk.  Our saint, a Red Cross nurse in the military hospital in Varazza in 1915-1918, relocated to Ecuador in 1922.  That country remained her home for the rest of her life.  She filled a variety of roles, including evangelist, catechist, surgeon, nurse, anesthesiologist, and dentist, among the Shuar people of the Amazon Basin.  Our saint, a kind person and a practical problem-solver, joined with other Salesian missionaries in defending the cultural and land rights of the Shuar people against incursions by settlers in the 1960s.  Some of those settlers resorted to violence.  Troncatti, aged 86 years, died en route to a spiritual retreat when the airplane she was in crashed at Sueúa, Morona-Santiago, Ecuador, on August 25, 1969.

Pope Benedict XVI declared Troncatti a Venerable in 2008 and a Blessed in 2012.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 3, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN AND ANATOLIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE, PATRIARCHS; AND SAINTS AGATHO, LEO II, AND BENEDICT II, BISHOPS OF ROME; DEFENDERS OF CHRISTOLOGICAL ORTHODOXY

THE FEAST OF CHARLES ALBERT DICKINSON, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF IMMANUEL NITSCHMANN, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND MUSICIAN; HIS BROTHER-IN-LAW, JACOB VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP, MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, AND EDUCATOR; HIS SON, WILLIAM HENRY VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP; HIS BROTHER, CARL ANTON VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, COMPOSER, AND EDUCATOR; HIS DAUGHTER. LISETTE (LIZETTA) MARIA VAN VLECK MEINUNG; AD HER SISTER, AMELIA ADELAIDE VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN CENNICK, BRITISH MORAVIAN EVANGELIST AND HYMN WRITER

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God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servant Blessed Maria Troncatti,

who made the good news known in Ecuador.

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

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

and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 59

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Feast of Blessed Andrea Bordino (August 25)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Andrea Bordino

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ANDREA BORDINO (AUGUST 12, 1922-AUGUST 25, 1977)

Italian Roman Catholic Lay Brother

Also known as Luigi of the Consolata

Blessed Andrea Bordino spent much of his life serving Christ in the mentally ill and those needing and recovering from surgery in Turin, Italy.  Our saint, born in Castellinado, Alba, Italy, on August 12, 1922, grew up in a devout family.  He and his brother Risbaldo, conscripted into the Italian Army in 1942, became prisoners of war in Siberia.  They returned to Italy in 1945.  Risbaldo married, but Andrea entered a religious order.  He began to work at the hospital the Brothers of Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo operated in Turin.  (That order, founded in Turin in 1833, has devoted itself to serving Christ in the poor and the sick abandoned by society–those afflicted with incurable diseases, with physical handicaps, and those with intellectual and developmental deficiencies.)  Bordino applied to join the order on July 13, 1947.  He made his first vows on July 19, 1948, and renewed those vows annually until 1965.  In 1965 the order, with Vatican approval, became a Religious Institute of Pontifical Rite, and the members’ vows became permanent.  For thirty years Bordino worked as a nurse, mainly in the orthopedic and surgical units.  The diagosis of leukemia in 1975 forced Bordino to reduce his work schedule, but he retained his sense of duty.  Our saint died in Turin on August 25, 1977, aged 55 years.

Pope John Paul II declared Bordino a Venerable in 2003.  Pope Francis beatified our saint in 2015.

And the King will answer, “In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.

–Matthew 25:40, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

Blessed Andrea Bordino lived according to that rule, to the glory of God and the benefit of many people in Turin.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 3, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN AND ANATOLIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE, PATRIARCHS; AND SAINTS AGATHO, LEO II, AND BENEDICT II, BISHOPS OF ROME; DEFENDERS OF CHRISTOLOGICAL ORTHODOXY

THE FEAST OF CHARLES ALBERT DICKINSON, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF IMMANUEL NITSCHMANN, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND MUSICIAN; HIS BROTHER-IN-LAW, JACOB VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP, MUSICIAN, COMPOSER, AND EDUCATOR; HIS SON, WILLIAM HENRY VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP; HIS BROTHER, CARL ANTON VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, COMPOSER, AND EDUCATOR; HIS DAUGHTER. LISETTE (LIZETTA) MARIA VAN VLECK MEINUNG; AD HER SISTER, AMELIA ADELAIDE VAN VLECK, U.S. MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN CENNICK, BRITISH MORAVIAN EVANGELIST AND HYMN WRITER

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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 and serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved, peace to the troubled, and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Cynthia Clark Wedel (August 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Episcopal Flag

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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CYNTHIA CLARK WEDEL (AUGUST 26, 1908-AUGUST 24, 1986)

U.S. Psychologist and Episcopal Ecumenist

The appendix in A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016), of The Episcopal Church, contains a list of men and women deemed “worthy of commemoration” but who do not qualify yet because insufficient time has passed since they died.  Cynthia Clark Wedel is on that list.  The denomination has its reasons for usually (with few exceptions, including Martin Luther King, Jr.; and Jonathan Myrick Daniels) waiting at least four decades.  I have no such temporal rule, however.  Therefore Wedel joins my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days with this post.

Cynthia Clark Wedel was a trail blazer.  She, born Cynthia Clark in Dearborn, Michigan, on August 26, 1908, was a daughter of Elizabeth Snow Clark and civil engineer Arthur Pierson Clark.  She grew up in Dearborn, Michigan; Buffalo, New York; and Evanston, Illinois.  Our saint studied history at Northwestern University (B.A., 1929; M.A., 1930).  In 1931-1934 she served as the Director of Christian Education at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Evanston.  In 1934 she went to work at the denominational headquarters, first as a field worker.  In 1935 she became the Director of Youth Work.

In 1939 Clark married Episcopal priest Theodore O. Wedel (d. 1970), a widower sixteen years her senior.  Shortly after the wedding he became the warden of the College of Preachers at Washington National Cathedral.  Our saint continued to be quite active in church and society.  She taught religion at the National Cathedral School for Girls (1939-1948), sat on the national executive board of the Episcopal Women’s Auxiliary (1946-1952), was a member of the denominational National Council (1955-1962), and served as the President of United Church Women (1955-1958).  She also earned her doctorate in psychology (George Washington University, 1957) and worked as a lecturer at American University for several years.  As the 1960s marched on our saint was an observer (1962-1965) at Vatican II and the General Secretary for Christian Union (1965-1969) as well as, with her friend, Eleanor Roosevelt, a member of the federal Commission on the Status of Women (1961-1963).

Wedel, an ecumenist, continued her work into the 1980s.  In 1969 she became the first female President of the National Council of Churches.  After six years in that position she served as the President of the World Council of Churches (1975-1983).  She, a supporter of the ordination of women, was also one of the three female consultants at the Lambeth Conference of 1978.

Wedel died in Alexandria, Virginia, on August 24, 1986, two days prior to what would have been her seventy-eighth birthday.

As I write this post in June 2018, I note that nearly 32 years have passed since Wedel died.  If The Episcopal Church follows the 40-year rule in her case, it will add her to its calendar of saints in nine years, at the General Convention of 2027, at the earliest.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 27, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CORNELIUS HILL, ONEIDA CHIEF AND EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF HUGH THOMSON KERR, SR., U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST; AND HIS SON, HUGH THOMSON KERR, JR., U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, SCHOLAR, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF JAMES MOFFATT, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, SCHOLAR, AND BIBLE TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES THE GEORGIAN, ABBOT; AND SAINTS EUTHYMIUS OF ATHOS AND GEORGE OF THE BLACK MOUNTAIN, ABBOTS AND TRANSLATORS

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Cynthia Clark Wedel,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and reserved its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Blesseds Hryhorii Khomyshyn, Symeon Lukach, and Ivan Slezyuk (August 22)   Leave a comment

Above:  Ethnicity in the Former Austro-Hungarian Empire

Image in the Public Domain

Focus on Galicia.

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BLESSED HRYHORII KHOMYSHYN (MARCH 25, 1867-JANUARY 17, 1947)

His feast transferred from December 28

Alternative feast day = January 17

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BLESSED SYMEON LUKACH (JULY 7, 1893-AUGUST 22, 1964)

Also known as Blessed Simeon Lukach 

His feast = August 22

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BLESSED IVAN SLEZYUK (JANUARY 14, 1896-DECEMBER 2, 1973)

Also known as Blessed Ivan Sleziuk

His feast transferred from December 2

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Ukrainian Greek Catholic Bishops and Martyrs

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Alternative feast day (as three of the Martyrs Killed Under Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe) = June 27

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There are certain places in Europe where one could, without leaving home, live a long time and reside in a series of countries.  Consider the city of Stanislaviv, now Ivano-Frankivsk, O reader.  It used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until the defeat of the Central Powers in World War I led to the breaking up of that political entity.  In 1918-1919 the city was within the borders of the West Ukrainian People’s Republic.  After the dissolution of that state the city and environs passed to the reconstituted Poland.  In the German-Soviet partition of Poland (1939) the city and environs went to the Soviet Union.  The area changed hands, according to the positions of the Soviet and German armies during the war.

Above:  Parts of Europe, 1941

Scanned from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957), A-43

The green-and-white diagonal lines indicate areas the Soviet Union had annexed.

With the end of World War II the city and environs became part of the Ukraine, itself part of the Soviet Union.

Above:  Parts of the Soviet Union in 1945

Scanned from the Post-World War II Supplement to Hammond’s New Era Atlas of the World (1945)

The city and environs have been part of Ukraine since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Now that I have grounded this post in geography and shifting international frontiers, I am free to focus on the lives of these three saints.

Hryhorii Khomyshyn, born in Hadnykitsi, Austria-Hungary, on March 25, 1867, became a priest and bishop in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, in union with Rome.  He, ordained to the priesthood on November 18, 1893, studied theology in Vienna from 1894 to 1899.  In 1902 he became the rector of the seminary at Lviv.  On May 6, 1904, Khomyshyn began his tenure as the Bishop of Stanislaviv.  Our saint, a vocal opponent of anti-Semitism (rare in his neck of the Catholic woods at the time), helped to found the Ukrainian Catholic People’s Party in the 1930s.  Agents of the NKVD arrested Khomyshyn twice–in 1939 and 1945.  The second arrest (in April 1945) began our saint’s final stage of life, that of political prisoner.  Despite torture, he refused to renounce the union of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church with the Holy See.  He died in NKVD custody in Kiev on January 17, 1947.  He was 79 years old.

Before that second arrest, however, Khomyshyn had secretly consecrated two bishops–Symeon Lukach and Ivan Slezyuk–in April 1945.  The secrecy was necessary because of Soviet oppression and persecution.

Symeon Lukach, born in Starunya, Austria-Hungary, on July 7, 1893, grew up on a farm and became a priest.  He attended seminary from 1913 to 1919, with an interruption due to World War I.  Lukach, ordained to the priesthood i 1919, taught moral theology at the seminary in Stanislaviv.

Ivan Slezyuk, born in Zhyvachiv, Austria-Hungary, on January 14, 1896, had been a priest since 1923.  Agents of the NKVD arrested him on June 2, 1945.  A sentence of ten years of forced labor followed.  He served slightly less time than that though, for authorities released him on November 15, 1954.  Slezyuk returned to Stanislaviv.

The NKVD caught up with Lukach on October 26, 1949.  He was their prisoner until February 11, 1955.  For the next few years Lukach worked as a covert priest.

Agents of the KGB arrested Lukach and Slezyuk in July 1962.  Lukach, a political prisoner for the rest of his life, died of tuberculosis on August 22, 1964.  He was 71 years old.  Slezyuk remained a political prisoner until November 30, 1968, but KGB agents interrogated him frequently for the rest of his life.  He, aged 77 years, died on December 2, 1973.

Pope John Paul II declared these three men Venerables then Blesseds (as martyrs) in 2001.  They did, after all, put everything on the line for their faith and die as a result.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 26, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ISABEL FLORENCE HAPGOOD, U.S. JOURNALIST, TRANSLATOR, AND ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREA GIACINTO LONGHIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TREVISO

THE FEAST OF PHILIP DODDRIDGE, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINSTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VIRGIL MICHEL, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ACADEMIC, AND PIONEER OF LITURGICAL RENEWAL

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Almighty God, who gave to your servants

Blessed Hryhorii Khomyshyn, Blessed Symeon Lukach, and Blessed Ivan Slezyuk

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 faith 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 121

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 Francis J. McConnell (August 18)   Leave a comment

Above:  Bishop Francis John McConnell

Scanned from Orlo Strunk, Jr., In Faith and Love (1968), 120

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FRANCIS JOHN MCCONNELL (AUGUST 18, 1871-AUGUST 18, 1953)

U.S. Methodist Bishop and Social Reformer

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One effect of prophecy is to force the enemies of the moral ideal into the open, to make them declare themselves, if not in speech at least in action.  It is sometimes said that moral evils in a social community destroy themselves by their own follies.  This often comes about through the self-revelation of the forces of evil due to prophetic pressure.  Politics, we are told, makes strange bedfellows.  What drives the enemies of the truth into close union and fellowship is often their common hatred of the prophet.

This, then, is the duty of the prophet–to force moral issues into public attention and to keep them there.

–Bishop Francis John McConnell

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Bishop Francis John McConnell, a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939) and The Methodist Church (1939-1968), predecessors of The United Methodist Church (1968-), comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Orlo Strunk, Jr., In Faith and Love (1968), a Methodist resource for adult Sunday School.  The book contains biographies of eleven Christians of the twentieth century, from Dietrich Bonhoeffer to Pope St. John XXIII, whom it calls by his birth name, Angelo Roncalli.  This is a fine volume I purchased at a thrift store in 2014.

Christ calls people to be salt and light in the world.  Salt preserves and heightens flavor.  Light scatters the darkness.  Both transform.

Bishop McConnell understood this well.  He, born in Trinway, Ohio, on August 18, 1871, was a preacher’s kid.  His father, I. H. McConnell, was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939) and a preacher in the revivalistic, pietistic sort; the emphasis was on individual salvation.  Our saint learned doctrines and Bible stories from his mother, Nancy Chalfant McConnell, widowed during the year Francis spent at Andover Preparatory School.  She was a cautious, fair-minded woman to whom others turned to arbitrate their disputes.  Her preference was for reconciliation.

McConnell discerned the call to ordained ministry.  He, an 1894 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, continued his studies at the Boston University School of Theology, graduating in 1897, the year he married Eva Hemans Thomas (1871-1968), also a member of the Ohio Wesleyan University Class of 1894.  During the following years they had a daughter and two sons, and McConnell earned his Ph.D.  He transferred from the New England Conference to the New York Conference, serving in parish ministry until 1909.

For three years (1909-1912) McConnell was the President of DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana.  He expanded the institution’s curriculum and endowment.  McConnell also learned from idealistic students interested in the social applications of the Gospel, especially in realms such as economics, industrial relations, and race relations.  That outward focus–as McConnell later phrased it–“social cross-bearing”–was evident in his life.  He was, from 1912 to 1944, the President of the Methodist Federation for Social Service.  Good people who resigned themselves to injustice were the greatest threats to social progress, he argued.  The Church, he insisted, should function as an agent of liberation, not making people feel guilty for committing imaginary sins, such as attending plays.  Furthermore, McConnell wrote, the Church has been guilty of a lack of social imagination and therefore of supporting injustices, rather than confronting them.

McConnell was a bishop, starting in 1912.  He served in the Denver Area (1912-1920), the Pittsburgh Area (1920-1928), and the New York Area (1928-1944).  [Explanatory Note:  In the Methodist tradition an Episcopal area is a bishop’s territory.  It might consist of one conference, or perhaps of more than one.]  McConnell also served as the President of the Federal Council of Churches, a predecessor the National Council of Churches, from 1929 to 1933.  He retired from active service in 1944.

McConnell died in Lucasville, Ohio, on August 19, 1953, his eighty-second birthday.

One of McConnell’s quotes that is especially applicable in the context of the increased political tribalism in the United States in 2018, often to the point of mistaking the administration for the state, is this:

We need a type of patriotism that recognizes the virtues of those who are opposed to us.

The McConnells were a married couple for fifty-six years, five months, and seven days (March 11, 1897-August 18, 1953).  In 1952 the bishop wrote of his beloved Eva,

…after having known her for nearly sixty years, I have never seen any trait in her in which I would suggest improvement.

Eva, the Vice President of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Union of the Methodist Episcopal Church, often traveled with her husband.  She died in 1968, aged 97 years.

The McConnells were indeed salt and light.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 21, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, JESUIT

THE FEAST OF BERNARD ADAM GRUBE, GERMAN-AMERICAN MINISTER, MISSIONARY, COMPOSER, AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF CARL BERNHARD GARVE, GERMAN MORAVIAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN JONES AND JOHN RIGBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Francis J. McConnell,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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