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Feast of Joseph Bernardin (April 2)   Leave a comment

#!dcdisplay fp\b0\i0\fs10Source~LOCAL/STAFF; Shoot_Date~20.10.1996; Type~COLOR; ÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐ fs12 <> fs10card 1 metro 10/20/96 cardinal joseph bernadin waces to well-wishers as he attends a 75th anniversary celebration at st. margaret mary church in chicago. cincinnati enquirer/michael e. keating mek fp\b0\i0\fs10ÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐÐ fp\i0\b\fs16Copyright 1996 The Cincinnati Enquirer fp\b0\i0\fs10Copyright=CINCINNATI_ENQUIRER; Person=BERNARDIN_JOSEPH; Aspect=LOCAL; Aspect=STAFF; Aspect=COLOR; Aspect=CINCINNATI_ENQUIRER; Aspect=BERNARDIN_JOSEPH;

Above:  Cardinal Bernardin

Fair Use Image

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JOSEPH LOUIS BERNARDIN (APRIL 2, 1928-NOVEMBER 14, 1996)

Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago

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It has been a great privilege to know a very great man.

–Retired Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, 1996

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Joseph Bernardin was a famous and respected cleric.  Shortly before he died, he spoke with the President of the United States.  The Governor of Illinois and the Vice President of the United States attended his funeral Mass.  Bernardin had made quite an impression.

Bernardin rose from humble origins.  His parents were poor Italian immigrants; his father earned a modest income working in a quarry.  Our saint, born at Columbia, South Carolina, on April 2, 1928, grew up in  a predominantly Protestant culture of that state.  In 1946 his family was still so poor that his mother made the suit he wore to apply to study for the priesthood.  Bernardin studied theology at Baltimore and at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.  Our saint, ordained to the priesthood in 1952, served as a priest in Charleston, South Carolina.  During 14 years he rose through the ranks in the diocese, serving in administrative posts.  In 1966, at the age of 38 years, Bernardin became the Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta and the youngest bishop in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States.

Bernardin’s rise through the ranks continued.  From 1968 to 1972 he served as the General Secretary of the National Council of Catholic Bishops.  Subsequently he was the Archbishop of Cincinnati (1972-1982), the President of the National Council of Catholic Bishops (1974-1977), Archbishop of Chicago (1982-1996), and a member of the College of Cardinals (1983-1996).  Our saint took his faith into the public square.  He, among other actions, opposed President Nixon’s bombing campaign in Vietnam, articulated the theology of the Seamless Garment of Life, and worked on The Challenge of Peace, the National Council of Catholic Bishop’s 1983 pastoral letter declaring  nuclear war morally unjustifiable.

Bernardin had to endure public humiliation and suffering in the 1990s.  In 1993 Steven J. Cook sued Bernardin for sexual molestation that allegedly occurred 17 years prior.  The following year Cook dropped the lawsuit, citing unreliable memories.  Bernardin, who had always insisted upon his innocence, stated publicly that the matter had proven humiliating but that he harbored no ill feelings toward Cook, who stated that he wished the Cardinal the best.  The following year Bernardin received the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.  He followed the advice of Pope John Paul II:

Offer your suffering to the world.

Bernardin ministered to other cancer patients and made himself vulnerable to the public.  He died on November 14, 1996, aged 68 years.

Bernardin was certainly a man of God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF ABSALOM JONES, RICHARD ALLEN, AND JARENA LEE, EVANGELISTS AND SOCIAL ACTIVISTS

THE FEAST OF CHARLES FREER ANDREWS, ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF CHRISTOPH CARL LUDWIG VON PFEIL, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF MICHAEL WEISSE, GERMAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR; AND JAN ROH, BOHEMIAN MORAVIAN BISHOP AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church,

including your servant Joseph Cardinal Bernardin.

May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith,

so that we may serve and confess your name before the world,

through 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), page 60

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Feast of St. Ludovico Pavoni (April 1)   Leave a comment

ludovico-pavoni

Above:  St. Ludovico Pavoni

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT LUDOVICO PAVONI (SEPTEMBER 11, 1784-APRIL 1, 1849)

Roman Catholic Priest and Educator

Also known as Saint Lodovico Pavoni

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Rigorism keeps Heaven empty.

–St. Ludovico Pavoni

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St. Ludovico Pavoni mentored thousands of boys and young men over a period of time measured in decades.  The native of Brescia, in the Duchy of Milan, entered the world on September 11, 1784.  During the Napoleonic period in Italy (1799-1814) the seminaries in at least part of the peninsula were closed, so our saint studied for the priesthood under the tutelage of Father Carlo Domenico Ferrari, who went on to serve as the Bishop of Brescia from 1834 to 1846.  Pavoni, ordained to the priesthood in 1807, opened an oratory for street boys the same year.  The purpose of this work was to help them make good decisions.  In 1812 our saint became the secretary to Bishop Gabrio Nava.  Six years later Pavoni became the pastor of the Church of St. Barnabas, and oratory transformed into a greater project.

In 1818 Pavoni founded an orphanage and an associated vocational school.  Three years later the school became the Institute of St. Barnabas.  He expanded the number of trades taught at the Institute over the years.  These trades included typography and book binding (via the publishing house), carpentry, blacksmithing, silversmithing, shoe making, dye making, and tool making.  He also added agricultural skills (via the farm  attached to the Institute).  In 1823 Pavoni expanded the student body to include deaf mutes.  Two years later he founded a religious institute of priests and brothers and brothers to continue the work of the Institute of St. Barnabas in Brescia.  Pope Gregory XVI granted papal approval for this religious institute in 1843.  Four years later Pavoni became one of the first members of the Congregation of the Sons of Mary Immaculate (the Pavoniani), dedicated to working in Brescia and beyond.

Pavoni died in 1849.  He had already ministered to residents of Brescia during an outbreak of cholera.  His final selfless deed was to lead his boys to safety away from Brescia, which was burning during a rebellion against Austria, on March 24.  They found shelter at the novitiate on the hill of Saviano, about 12 kilometers outside of town.  He died at Saviano on Palm Sunday, April 1, 1849.  Pavoni was 64 years old.

Pavoni is the patron saint of the Congregation of the Sons of Mary Immaculate, members of which work in six countries.

Pope Pius XII declared Pavoni a Venerable in 1947.  Pope John Paul II beatified him in 2002.  Pope Francis canonized our saint in 2016.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 11, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ONESIMUS, BISHOP OF BYZANTIUM

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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,

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

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of St. Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra (March 20)   Leave a comment

msanchodeguerra

Above:  St. Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MARIA JOSEFA SANCHO DE GUERRA (SEPTEMBER 7, 1842-MARCH 20, 1912)

Foundress of the Congregation of the Servants of Jesus

Also known as Saint Maria Josefa of the Heart of Mary and Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus

Piety seems natural for some people.  Consider, O reader, the case of St. Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra, born at Vitoria, in the Basque region of Spain, on September 7, 1842.

She spent most of her life helping children, elderly people, the sick, the elderly, and the abandoned.  Our saint, aware of their needs from her youth, lost her father to death when she was seven years old.  She spent the next eleven years with relatives in Madrid before joining the Institute of the Servants of Mary.  The new nun, was 18 years old.  The newly minted Maria Josefa of the Heart of Mary had joined a new order, one founded in 1851 and devoted to

the practice of charity through the diligent and gratuitous care of the sick, preferably in their own homes.

St. Maria Josefa, who had a devotion to the Eucharist and to St. Mary of Nazareth, entered into a process of spiritual discernment with St. Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870) and St. Maria Soledad (1826-1887), Mother Superior of the order.  Our saint discerned a vocation to found a new order, the Congregation of the Servants of Jesus, which she did at Bilbao in 1871, with four other Servants of Mary.  St. Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus, as she began to call herself, led the order.  When she died at age 69 on March 20, 1912, the order had 43 houses and more than 1000 sisters.

The order continues to serve Christ in the poor and the sick.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 1989.  He beatified her three years later and canonized her in 2000.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 21, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MIROCLES OF MILAN AND EPIPHANIUS OF PAVIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ALBAN ROE AND THOMAS REYNOLDS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT GASPAR DEL BUFALO, FOUNDER OF THE MISSIONARIES OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN YI YON-ON, ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR IN KOREA

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O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,

inspired by the devotion of your servant Saint Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722

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Feast of Blesseds Jan Adalbert Balicki and Ladislaus Findysz (March 15)   Leave a comment

poland-1935

Above:  Map of Poland, 1935

Image Scanned from Rand McNally World Atlas and International Gazetteer–Special Household Edition

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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BLESSED JAN ADALBERT BALICKI (JANUARY 25, 1869-MARCH 15, 1948)

Roman Catholic Priest in Poland

His feast day = March 15

mentor of 

BLESSED LADISLAUS FINDYSZ (NOVEMBER 13, 1907-AUGUST 21, 1964)

Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr in Poland

His feast transferred from August 21

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Among my purposes in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.  These two saints fit that bill well.

Jan Adalbert Balicki, born at Staromiescie, Poland, on January 25, 1869, came from a poor and devout family.  His education at Rzeszow instilled a love of Polish culture in him.  Balicki matriculated at the major seminary at Przemysl in September 1888.  He, ordained to the priesthood on July 20, 1892, served briefly as an assistant parish priest at Polna, where he developed a reputation as a skilled homilist and as a man of prayer.  From 1893 to 1897 he studied the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) at the Pontifical Gregorian Institute.

Balicki’s vocation was to work at the major seminary at Przemysl and to guide the spiritual formation of priests.  In 1897 he became Professor of Dogmatic Theology there.  Eventually he spent three years as the Prefect of Studies.  Then he became the Vice Rector in 1927 and the Rector the following year.  Balicki, citing health problems, resigned in 1934.  Yet he continued to live on the premises and to hear confessions and to offer spiritual direction to seminarians.

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Ladislaus Findysz was among those Balicki guided spiritually.  Findysz, born at Kroscienko Nizne, near Krosno, Poland, on December 13, 1907, also came from a poor and devout family.  The Felician Sisters educated the young saint, who joined the Marian Solidarity.  He matriculated at the major seminary at Przemysl in 1927.  Findysz, ordained to the priesthood on June 19, 1932, was an assistant parish priest at the following places:

  1. Boryslaw (now in the Ukraine), 1932-1935;
  2. Drohobycz (now in the Ukraine), 1935-1937;
  3. Strzyoro, 1937-1940; and
  4. Jaslo, 1940-1941.

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In 1939, as part of the partition of Poland, the boundary between German and Soviet zones passed through Przemysl.  Balicki remained in the Soviet zone and hoped to keep the major seminary operational.  He had to relocate the seminary and himself to the episcopal residence.  After World War II, in Soviet-dominated Poland, Balicki struggled with failing health.  He died of pneumonia and tuberculosis at Przemysl on March 15, 1948.  He was 79 years old.

poland-1945

Above:  Map of Poland, Post-World War II

Scanned from Your Post-World War II Supplement (no earlier than 1949) to Hammond’s New Era Atlas of the World (1945)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Balicki had written a study of mystical prayer, four stages of which he identified:

  1. Prayer of quiet,
  2. Prayer of simple union,
  3. Ecstatic union, and
  4. Perfect union.

He also identified seven steps for progress in the spiritual life:

  1. Serious approach to life,
  2. Readiness to be critical of oneself,
  3. Unshakable confidence in prayer,
  4. Joy of spirit,
  5. Love for suffering,
  6. Praise of divine mercy, and
  7. Continuous self-amendment.

Pope John Paul II declared Balicki a Venerable in 1994 and a Blessed in 2002.

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Findysz operated out of Nowy Zmigrod, Poland, from 1941 until his death, with a few exceptions.  In 1941 he became the parish administrator there.  Eventually he became the parish priest.  It was a tumultuous era, one defined by World War II and the Cold War.  In October 1944 the German Army, retreating westward, expelled the inhabitants of the town.  Findysz returned the following year; his purposes were to rebuild the parish and to minister to war refugees.  The secret police of the Soviet-dominated Polish government kept him under surveillance from 1946 to 1964, when he died.  Our saint, an honorary canon in 1946, received orders from the government to cease teaching the catechism in 1952.  That government, to make his ministry more difficult, forced Findysz to live outside his parish in 1952 and 1954.  In 1957 he became the Vice Dean of the deanery; his title changed to Dean five years later.

The final blow fell in 1963.  That year Findysz began Conciliar Works of Charity, a campaign of writing letters to encourage parishioners to return to the Church.  This led to his arrest (on November 25, 1963) on the charge of forcing religion on the parishioners.  The result of the show trial (December 16 and 17) was a sentence of 30 months in prison.  His health was already failing; our saint required surgery for cancer of the esophagus.  Authorities guaranteed that he did not receive that procedure.  Finally they released him in February 1964; his health had broken and his cancer had become inoperable.  Findysz died, aged 56 years, at Nowy Zmigrod, on August 21, 1964.

The Roman Catholic Church classifies him as a martyr.

Pope John Paul II declared Findysz a Venerable in 2004.  Pope Benedict XVI beatified him the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 20, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FABIAN, BISHOP OF ROME AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DEICOLA AND GALL, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS; AND OTHMAR, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AT SAINT GALLEN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS EUTHYMIUS THE GREAT AND THEOCRISTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF HARRIET AUBER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servants Blessed Jan Adalbert Balicki and Blessed Ladislaus Findysz,

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), page 60

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Feast of Yves Congar (March 13)   Leave a comment

yves-congar

Above:  Yves Congar

Image in the Public Domain

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YVES MARIE-JOSEPH CONGAR (MARCH 13, 1904-JUNE 22, 1995)

Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian

Father Yves Congar comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Robert Ellsberg, author of All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997).  Ellsberg lists Congar’s birth month as March and assigns his feast to March 13.  Some other sources, however, list Congar’s birth date as April 13.  Either way, his feast day on my Ecumenical Calendar is March 13.

To add Congar to an ecumenical calendar of saints is appropriate, for he was an ecumenist.  Our saint, the author of more than 15,000 articles and books, entered the world at Sedan, France, in 1904.  At the age of 17 years he decided to become a priest.  Congar went on to join the Order of Preachers, or the Dominicans.  He took holy orders in 1930.  From the 1930s forward he was an active ecumenist, presaging Vatican II’s definition of non-Roman Catholic Christians as “separated brethren,” not as heretics.  For his ecumenical activity Congar received much criticism from traditional Roman Catholics.

Congar, a military chaplain in 1939 and a prisoner of war for most of World War II, was ahead of his time theologically prior to Vatican II.  He respected tradition yet was not a traditionalist.  Tradition, for him, was living and flexible, but traditionalism was an inflexible commitment to the past.  Our saint favored returning to the sources of traditions and evaluating traditions in the context of these sources.  Thus he supported ecclesiastical reform, which he understood as both necessary and proper to allow the Church to resist the tendency toward institutionalism.  Congar also opposed hyper-clericism.  He understood the role of the laity not to be to obey, but to help to transform the world into something closer to the Kingdom of God.

The Holy Office (an ironically named institution) had been concerned about Congar since the 1930s.  Another red flag regarding our saint was his involvement in the worker-priest movement, in which priests worked in factories and led the lives of industrial workers.  In the 1950s it forbade him to teach and write.

Congar’s reputation vis-a-vis the Vatican improved in the 1960s.  Pope John XXIII invited him to serve on the committee that planned the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).  Congar did that and more.  He influenced the proceedings of Vatican II, shaping the documents on ecumenism, mission, revelation, the Church, and the Church in the world.  The definitions of the Church as “the people of God” and of non-Roman Catholic Christians not as heretics but as “separated brethren” owed much to him.  Furthermore, his influence was evident in the statement that the Church was “at once holy and always in need of reformation.”

Pope John Paul II elevated Congar to the College of Cardinals in 1985.

Congar died at Paris, France, on June 22, 1995.  He was 91 years old.  Our saint’s health had been failing since the 1980s.

One can recognize the influence of Congar in modern Roman Catholicism.  Whenever one finds “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” in a Roman Catholic hymnal or reads of Pope Francis making positive statements about Martin Luther, one encounters evidence of the thawing of old interdenominational tensions.  Other evidence includes ecumenical dialogues involving the Roman Catholic Church.

Congar helped to shape his times for the better.  His influence persists, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 14, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MACRINA THE ELDER, HER FAMILY, AND SAINT GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS THE YOUNGER

THE FEAST OF CIVIL RIGHTS MARTYRS AND ACTIVISTS

THE FEAST OF KRISTEN KVAMME, NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT SAVA I, FOUNDER OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH AND FIRST ARCHBISHOP OF SERBS

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Yves Congar,

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), page 60

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Feast of Blessed Ion Costist (March 5)   Leave a comment

northern-romania

Above:  Northern Romania, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

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BLESSED ION COSTIST (JUNE 29, 1556-MARCH 5, 1625)

Franciscan Lay Brother

Blessed Ion Costist entered the world at Zaxo, Moldavia (now Cornu Luncii, near Suceava, Romania), on June 29, 1556.  He also grew up in a pious family.  In 1574, at the age of 18 years, Costist went to Italy because he thought that the greatest Christians resided there.  Five years later he became Jeremiah, a Franciscan lay brother.  Starting in 1585 Costist worked as a medical assistant in Naples.  He cared for the crippled, the poor, and the lame.  Our saint also begged for alms, all of which he used to finance the care of that population.  Costist, who had the spiritual gift of encouragement and a reputation for charity, defined God as merciful love and people as the gift of divine love.  He died at Naples on March 5, 1625, aged 68 years.

Pope John XXIIII declared Costist a Venerable in 1959.  Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1983.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 5, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN NEPOMUCENE NEUMANN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PHILADELPHIA

THE FEAST OF ANTONIO LOTTI, ROMAN CATHOLIC MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GENOVEVA TORRES MORALES, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS AND THE HOLY ANGELS

THE FEAST OF MARGARET MACKAY, SCOTTISH HYMN WRITER

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O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Ion Costist,

kindled with the flame of your love,

became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 153 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

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Feast of Blesseds Antonio Francesco Marzorati, Johannes Laurentius Weiss, and Michele Pro Fasoli (March 3)   Leave a comment

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Above:  Flag of Ethiopia, 1700s

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ANTONIO FRANCESCO MARZORATI (SEPTEMBER 10, 1670-MARCH 3, 1716)

BLESSED JOHANNES LAURENTIUS WEISS (JANUARY 4, 1675-MARCH 3, 1716)

BLESSED MICHELE PRO FASOLI (MAY 3, 1676-MARCH 3, 1716)

Franciscan Missionary Priests and Martyrs in Ethiopia

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Religious persecution comes in two varieties:  that of adherents of a faith by people outside of it and that of adherents of a faith by other adherents of it.  This post concerns the latter variety.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church stands apart from much of the rest of Christianity in certain regards, perhaps most notably with regard to its canon of scripture, which includes the books of Enoch and Jubilees, the Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, 1 and 2 Esdras (as 3 and 4 Ezra), and 3 Maccabees.  The Ethiopian Orthodox canon also divides Proverbs into two books, with Proverbs 25-31 being Tasgas.  The Ethiopian Church also stands with certain other ancient denominations in its Monophysitism, the idea that Christ had only a divine nature. Although Vatican II changed the relationship of the Roman Catholic Church to the rest of Christianity, Holy Mother Church retains her definition of herself as the repository of the “fullness of faith” and the rest of us in Christianity have become “separated brethren.”  Although this is better than declaring that we are hellbound heretics, it is patronizing.  I, as an Episcopalian, do not lack the fullness of Christian faith.  Neither did I lack the fullness of Christian faith when I was a United Methodist, the context for the formation of my faith.

Monophysitism is a heresy, however.  Nevertheless, I have no reluctance in recognizing my Ethiopian Orthodox brethren as Christians.

In 1712 three Franciscan missionary priests–the Italian Antonio Francesco Marzorati and Michele Pro Fasoli, as well as the Bavarian Johannes Laurentius Weiss–arrived in Ethiopia.  Emperor Yostos (reigned 1711-1716) allowed them to teach, travel, and operate a small hospital, but not to preach.  The newly installed Emperor Dawit III (reigned 1716-1721) was openly hostile to the missionaries in his realm.  An ecclesiastical court declared our saints to be heretics and sentenced them to die by stoning at Gondar.  Marzorati, Fasoli, and Weiss could have saved their lives by renouncing their faith, but they chose not to do so.  They became martyrs, with a boy (whose name I have not found), who accompanied them, on March 3, 1716.

Pope John Paul II declared these three priests to be Venerables then Blesseds in 1988.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 2, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF JOHANN KONRAD WILHELM LOEHE, BAVARIAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND COORDINATOR OF DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN MISSIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS NARCISSUS, ARGEUS, AND MARCELLINUS OF TOMI, ROMAN MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ODILO OF CLUNY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SABINE BARING-GOULD, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, who gave to your servants

Blessed Antonio Francesco Marzorati,

Blessed Johannes Laurentius Weiss,

and Blessed Michele Pro Fasoli,

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ

before the rulers of this 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 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

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

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