Archive for the ‘William Howard Bishop’ Tag

Feast of William Howard Bishop (December 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Holy Family Catholic Church, Blakely, Georgia, June 2013

Image Via Google Earth

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WILLIAM HOWARD BISHOP (DECEMBER 19, 1886-JUNE 11, 1953)

Founder of the Glenmary Home Missioners and the Glenmary Sisters

William Howard Bishop 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).

William Howard Bishop, born in Washington, D.C., on December 19, 1886, was a domestic missionary.  He, a son of Eleanor Teresa Knowles and Dr. Francis Bessant Bishop (a physician), studied journalism at Harvard (1906-1908), but decided instead to study theology.  Our saint, ordained a Roman Catholic priest on March 27, 1915, served first in suburban Baltimore, Maryland.  In 1917, however, he transferred to a parish in rural Clarkesville, Maryland.  He remained there for two decades.  From 1937 to 1946 Bishop was a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, serving in St. Martin’s, Ohio.

Rural ministry became the work of Bishop’s life.  He identified 2000 of the nearly 3000 counties in the United States as lacking a resident Roman Catholic priest.  In 1939, with the support of the Bishop of Cincinnati, he founded the Home Missioners of America (the Glenmary Home Missioners) for priests and brothers.  He founded the Home Mission Sisters of America (the Glenmary Sisters) in 1941.  The mission of the Fathers, Brothers, and Sisters was to serve in the vast territory Bishop called “No Priest Land, U.S.A.”  Our saint established the orders to found missions in small towns, build up those missions, and turn pastoral care over to the local diocese.   Our saint, the Superior General of the Glenmary Home Missioners, starting in 1951, died on June 11, 1953.  He was 66 years old.

Above:  St. Luke Catholic Church, Cuthbert, Georgia

Image Via Google Earth

Members of the orders continue to minister in the South and Appalachia.

As of today, there is a Glenmary presence in two counties in Georgia, my state.  A priest and a brother serve at Holy Family Church, Blakely, and at St. Luke Church, Cuthbert, in the southwestern part of the state.  I know this area well.  Most of southwestern Georgia is economically stagnant and culturally reactionary.  Poverty rates are high and high school graduation rates are low.  Without much effort I can name a current two-county high school (Randolph-Clay, opened in 1980) and some former multi-county high schools opened in the 1970s and 1980s (Stewart-Webster, Mitchell-Baker, and Tri-County) yet broken up during the last few years.  Some of the counties in southwestern Georgia lack sufficient tax bases.  Some of these counties lack a hospital.  I know of one county with just one physician.   A few counties in the region even lack a grocery store.  Southwestern Georgia, like most of the rest of rural Georgia, is depopulating, as it has been for nearly a century, starting with the Great Migration and the Boll Weevil.  Historians of the Civil Rights Movement note that there was not much a movement in southwestern Georgia during the 1950s and 1960s.  I recall, during some of my formative years, hearing some of the older members of the United Methodist congregations my father served use racial slurs without apologies.  Much of the region resides in a cultural time warp.

The Glenmary Missioners (male and female) have their work cut out for them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 5, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTONIO MARY ZACCARIA, FOUNDER OF THE BARNABITES AND THE ANGELIC SISTERS OF SAINT PAUL

THE FEAST OF GEORGES BERNANOS, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC NOVELIST

THE FEAST OF HULDA NIEBUHR, CHRISTIAN EDUCATOR; HER BROTHERS, H. RICHARD NIEBUHR AND REINHOLD NIEBUHR, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST THEOLOGIANS; AND URSULA NIEBUHR, EPISCOPAL THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH BOISSEL, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIEST AND MARTYR IN LAOS, 1969

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant William Howard Bishop,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to “No Priest Land, U.S.A.”

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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