Monday, June 29, 2009

Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

My sermon about Peter and Paul

Today we celebrate the lives of two Saints, two Saints who were quite different from each other, two Saints who were very important to the fledgling Church, two Saints who were Apostles and Martyrs, two Saints who gave their all for their Lord. They are examples of two people who took up their cross and decided that Jesus was more important than their families. They came from different backgrounds, they had different methods of evangelism, and they didn’t always get along very well, but they were so important to the emerging Christian faith.

Simon Peter was a fisherman, a large, burly, solid guy who was nicknamed Cephas, which is Aramaic for Peter, or “Rocky.” He was inclined to open his mouth without thinking, and he would often say things which would come back on him. He was a down-to-earth person, not really given to mystic visions. Although he certainly received his share of visions he didn’t always understand what was going on; when he witnessed the Transfiguration of Christ, he wanted to build little huts for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah and he didn’t seem to really understand that Jesus was revealing his divinity. If the Twelve were the Inner Circle of Jesus’s disciples, Peter was in the “Inner Inner Circle;” he was present at all the events in which Jesus had just a few special persons with him. Peter was the one who confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the Promised One, and he claimed that he would follow Jesus anywhere. When Jesus was being arrested by the soldiers, Peter pulled out his sword and lopped off a servant’s ear, but not too long later he denied Christ three times; at the moment when Jesus really needed him, he, like the rest of the Twelve, was no where to be found. But Peter was the first of the men to see the empty tomb, and he was commanded by the Resurrected Christ to “feed my lambs.” When the Holy Spirit descended on Pentecost, Peter was the one to speak to the crowd. He became the leader of the Apostles, the leader of the Twelve, but he was not the leader of the Church; Jesus’ brother James was the leader of the Church in Jerusalem, but Peter was a leader of the Church. He may have been the bishop of the Church in Rome, but the Church in Jerusalem was considered THE Church in those days. Rome didn’t become such an influential and important Church until the third century. Peter was the greatest miracle worker of the Apostles, he was involved in many healing miracles. Jesus told Peter that “someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not want to go,” and Peter went to a lot of places that he didn’t want to go; I’m sure he didn’t want to be the one on the roof seeing a sheet full of un-clean animals being lowered and told “Kill and eat!” and I’m sure he didn’t want to be the one to feel Paul’s wrath regarding circumcision and other Jewish practices which were part of the earliest Church. I’m not sure that he particularly enjoyed being caught in the middle between Paul and his fights with the Hebrew faction of the Church But he willingly went to his martyrdom, crucified head down in the Colosseum in Rome according to tradition, and he was the Rock on which the Church was established, tradition stating that he started the church in Rome and was even the first Bishop of Rome.

Saint Paul was quite a different person than Peter; he was an educated man, a Pharisee educated by the great Rabbi Gamaliel, and a Roman citizen. He was not one of the Twelve, in fact, he persecuted the Twelve, as Saul he witnessed and may have even been the ring-leader at the stoning of Stephen the Deacon, but he became one of the greatest of the Apostles. He was very much given to mystic experiences, in fact, his conversion on the Damascus Road is the result of a vision of the Resurrected Christ, and he remained blinded for several days as a result of this vision. Paul also claimed to have visited some “higher heavens,” and he articulated many of the more mystical aspects of Christology. Paul was a persistent persecutor of the Church by his own admission, but once converted, once he “saw the light,” he was one of the most ardent devotees of Jesus, he traveled the so-called “known world” and brought the Good News to the Gentiles. He was chased out of town, he was arrested, and he would preach to anyone who would listen. He founded churches throughout the Greco-Roman world, and he may have traveled as far as Spain on his missionary journeys. He would fight with the Hebrew faction of the Church, and he always seemed to think that Peter was easily led by whatever faction he happened to be with at the time, but even though he was not always in good stead with the Home Office back in Jerusalem, he gladly raised money for the poor and the Jerusalem Church. He was a prolific letter writer, (just imagine what HE would have done with e-mail) and his letters, even when chiding, were so beloved by the churches that they were shared with the rest of the faithful, and Paul’s epistles became the very first Christian scriptures, before any gospels were written and before the letters attributed to John and Peter. Tradition tells us that Paul, like Peter, was martyred in Rome, and that he was be-headed. The relics of Peter and Paul became powerful symbols of the Church in Rome, and they were moved from their original resting places to a catacomb in Rome where a basilica was later erected over their remains. Paul’s teaching on grace, on salvation, and on the resurrection of the dead formed the earliest theology of the Church, and it is not too far off the mark to call him the founder of Christianity.

These two mighty Men of God are proof that God can work through anybody. The fact that someone like Simon Peter, a brash, thick-headed fisherman, inclined to say what ever popped into his mind with out thinking, and a well educated but irritable Pharisee, a persecutor of the Church and later its great champion, could both help spread the Good News of the forgiveness of sins and the coming of the Reign of God, that these two extremes could allow the Holy Spirit to work through them and help spread the message of Christ throughout the world is proof that God can work through each one of us here as long as we are willing to answer “yes” to God’s call. Jesus stood on a beach and asked Peter to follow him, later, the Resurrected Jesus stood on a beach and asked Peter to feed his sheep. Peter said “yes” both times. Jesus appeared to Saul in a blinding light and called him to end his persecutions. Saul answered yes to Jesus’ call and became Paul, a great missionary and the first theologian. Very few of us have such experiences, but Jesus calls all of us to follow him. Jesus calls each one of us to follow him, to care for the hungry and the sick and the poor and the prisoner and the stranger. Jesus calls each of us to love one another, and Jesus calls all of us to serve each other as we serve God. God worked through men like Peter and Paul, and God can work through each one of us; all we must do is answer “yes” to God’s call and then allow the Holy Spirit to move and work through us. May we all take the examples of Peter and Paul, and answer “yes.”

Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that your Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hi Kids!

Hello, everybody!
The Lovely Mona, Señorita Chompita Wiggletail, Padre and The Boyz are high in the Trinity Alps without telephone or internet or even television. Dat's why we've been so quiet. However, we are in Fresno today for a Memorial service for the Lovely Mona's Uncle Virgil. We head back to the hills tomorrow, after we attend Holy Eucharist at Holy Family Episcopal Church.

I apolgize for the presence of the Two Most Boring Guys Around in the comments. Perhaps they believe that their incredibly concise arguments have already caused dozens of Dance Party denizens to throw off the oppressive yoke of religion and join their Merry Band, or, as I believe, their comments have caused many to fall into a confused stupor. Waddaya gonna do?

Hasta luego, y'all!

Feast of Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop

Today is the Feast of Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria. I'll be honest from the start: I do not like Cyril of Alexandria. I think he was an arrogant jerk, but a genius when it came to explaining Trinitarian theology. Also, this is not going to be a scholarly article; it's a blog post, and full of Padre Mickey's opinions. You have been warned.

Cyril was of an Alexandrian family, and his uncle, Theophilus, was Partriarch of Alexandria. Cyril accompanied Uncle Theo to Constantinople for the Synod of the Oak, at which St. John Chrysostom was deposed as Partriarch of Constantinople, in a sham Synod run by Alexandrians in their constant battle against the theology of Antioch. While both groups agreed that Christ had two natures, the Alexandrians tended to emphasize the divinity of Christ, while the Antiocheans emphasized Christ's humanity. Both groups showed their Christian Love by making life miserable for each other's clergy. Alexandria had considered themselves Second to Rome in importance, and were very unhappy when Constantinople was named equal to Rome, and they tended to make a big stink anytime someone from Antioch became Partriarch of Constantinople (John Chrysostom's fate being a good example).

Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria

Theophilus died on October 15, 412, and Cyril was consecrated Patriarch on Oct. 18. He immediately went to war (and I MEAN war!) against the Novatians, the Neoplatonists, and the prefect Orestes. He ran the Jews out of Alexandria, and, while not personally responsible for the death of Hypatia, his followers were very much involved (Hypatia was a well-respected neo-Platonist teacher and philosopher. A mob, led by a lector named Peter, pulled her from her carriage, dragged her to a church and tore her flesh with potsherds until she died). In those days not everyone was inclined towards civil, scholarly debate; monks would come from the hills equipped with fuller's clubs to help drive home the theological point of their favorite bishop, and this was not limited to Alexandria, although the Alexandrians were ready to riot at the drop of a hat. The Prefect of Egypt, Orestes, was unhappy with Cyril and the expulsion of the Jews from Alexandria and expressed this fact. 500 monks from Nitria came to Alexandria to defend Cyril. One monk, Ammonius, threw a rock at Orestes which hit him in the head and left a wound. Orestes had Ammonius tortured to death, and Cyril treated his remains as the relics of a martyr. Rioting Alexandrians killed the prefect Callistus in the year 422. Cyril had a lot of power and he loved to wield it.

In the 428 Nestorius, an Antiochean priest known for his preaching, was appointed Patriarch of Constantinople by the emperor Theodosius II. On the way to Constantinople Nestorius visited with bishop Theodore, who advised Nestorius to be careful, be moderate, and respect the opinions of others. Unfortunately, Nestorius ignored this advice. At his consecration in April, 428, he shouted "Give me, O Emperor, the earth purged from heretics, and I will give you heaven!" He immediately went after the Arians, closing their only chapel and running them out of the city. However, it wasn't long before Nestorius himself was accused of heresy.

Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople

The people in Constantinople used a title for the Blessed Virgin which was popular in that city: Theotokus, or "God-bearer." This was not a title that was used in Antioch, but there were also people in Constantinople who questioned the use of the title. Nestorius decided to mediate the dispute and said things which wouldn't have raised an eyebrow back in Antioch, but really set-off his enemies, especially the Patriarch of Alexandria when he heard about it. Nestorius said, When I came here, I found a dispute among the members of the church, some of whom were calling the Blessed Virgin Mother of God (Theotokus), while others were calling her Mother of man. Gathering both parties together, I suggested that she should be called Mother of Christ (Kristotokus), a term which represented both God and man, as it is used in the gospels. This was just the opening Cyril was looking for; he was still angry that Constantinople was considered equal to Rome, and he didn't like Antioch. On Easter Sunday, 429, he publicly denounced Nestorius for heresy. He ignored the actual words of Nestorius and accused him of denying the deity of Christ. Nestorius' reaction was arrogant and he made some sloppy answers to Cyril's accusations, which was not a good idea as Cyril was a master at organizing support and destroying his enemies. Anathemas flew between Alexandria and Antioch, and finally the Third Ecumenical Council was called to meet at Ephesus in the year 431. It took a long time to travel in those days and not everyone arrived on time. The Patriarch of Antioch (a supporter of Nestorius) and his bishops were late, and instead of asking the Council to wait for their arrival, Cyril, who had brought fifty of his own bishops to the Council, opened the Council anyway. The imperial commissioner and about seventy other bishops protested this display of arrogance but were ignored. This was the most violent Ecumenical Council. Nestorius refused to attend, for fear of his life and guards were placed around the house in which he was staying to protect him. In the Bazaar of Heraclides described the atmosphere of the Council of Ephesus: They acted . . . as if it was a war they were conducting, and the followers of the Egyptian (Cyril) . . . went about in the city girt and armed with clubs . . . with the yells of barbarians, snorting fiercely . . . raging with extravagant arrogance against those whom they knew to be opposed to their doings, carrying bells about the city and lighting fires . . . They blocked up the streets so that everyone was obliged to flee and hide, while they acted as masters of the situation, lying about, drunk and besotted and shouting obscenities . . . Since John of Antioch and his bishops had yet to arrive, Cyril pushed through a vote and, 200 to 0, Nestorius was excommunicated. John and his bishops arrived too late; he declared the result illegal and held a counter-council which voted to excommunicate Cyril. These events threatened to tear apart of the unity of the Byzanine empire, so Theodosius II decided to accept the deposition of both patriarchs as a means of defusing the situation. Cyril and Nestorius were both arrested and imprisoned. Cyril bribed his way back into power with a gift to the grand chamberlain, the emperor's adviser; the gift consisted of fourteen oriental rugs, eight couches, six tablecloths, four tapestries, four ivory benches, six leather benches, and six ostriches. This "gift" put the Patriarchate of Alexandria some $3,000,000.00 in debt. Nestorius, who could be just as much of a jerk as Cyril, accepted the verdict of the emperor and went into exile, quietly protesting the injustice he experienced.

Cyril is not considered a saint because of the way he dealt with those with whom he disagreed; he was sainted because of abilities as a theologian. He was able to take the teachings of Athanasius, the Cappadocians, combined with classical Greek teachings on the Trinity, and create a systematic form of the Alexandrian theological tradition. While his writing style isn't exactly elegant, it is, according to The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church: precise in exposition, accurate in thought, and skilled in reasoning. I've been reading Cyril's On The Unity Of Christ, translated by John Anthony McGuckin, and, while I can't stand Cyril the person, I love reading Cyril the theologian.

I've been thinking lately about the similarities between Nestorius' situation and Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's situation. Nestorius' comment regarding Kristotokus wouldn't have raised an eyebrow back in Antioch, and Bishop Katarine's comment "We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box" certainly wouldn't raise eyebrows in the dioceses of Nevada or Oregon or California or at CDSP, but her enemies, much like Cyril, were simply waiting for a phrase they could use against her. Cyril took Nestorius' comments and twisted them and used them against him, just as the folks in the Network and GAFCON use ++Katharine's words against her. But we can make sure that the truth is up there for all to see right away, unlike poor Nestorius, whose words weren't really studied until long after his death.

So, I don't like Cyril, but I think he is another example of the fact that God uses whomsoever God wants to use to bring about the Reign of God. Cyril wasn't the first bishop to behave in a less than Christian manner, and he won't be the last to do so, God is willing to use a jerk like me to help bring about God's reign. All we can do is be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit and answer "yes" to God's call.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Feast of St. Alban, First Martyr of Britain

Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Alban triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death: Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today is the feast of St. Alban, the first martyr of Britain. As usual, we don't really know very much about Alban, and there is some disagreement between sources about what we do know. Some believe that Alban was a Roman born in England, while others believe that he was a Roman soldier stationed in England. He lived in Verulamium, a town which is now called St. Alban's, in Hertfordshire, which is about twenty miles northeast of London. He was a pagan, and probably not really aware of Christianity. However, a persecution of Christians in Briton had broken out. Tradition, and the Venerable Bede, early historian of the Church in England, teach that is was the Diocletian persecution of the year 305, but now scholars believe that this was the persecution during the reign of Septimus Severus, around the year 209. One day during the persecution, a Christian priest who was fleeing from his persecutors sought refuge at Alban's house. Alban sheltered him for several days. He heard the priest's story and was moved by his humility and piety. Alban was so influenced by the priest's prayers and teaching that he became a Christian and was baptized by the priest. A few days later the army discovered the priest at Alban's house. They came to take the priest away, but Alban changed clothing with the priest so that the priest could escape, and Alban was brought before the judge. (According to tradition, the priest met his martyrdom a few days later when he was captured and stoned to death).

The Christians of those days believed that the Roman gods were actually demons, so the Venerable Bede's account of the martyrdom of Alban has the judge "offering sacrifice to devils," which possibly means that he was offering incense to the Roman gods and most probably to the emperor. When the judge saw Alban, he was furious that Alban, a Roman, would put himself in such danger by trading places with a priest. He ordered the soldiers to drag Alban before the altar and said, "Since you have chosen to conceal a sacrilegious rebel rather than surrender him to my soldiers to pay the well-deserved penalty for his blasphemy against our gods, you shall undergo all the torture due to him if you dear to abandon the practice of our religion!" But Alban, who now freely confessed himself a Christian refused to obey this order. The judge demanded, "What is your family and race?" Alban answered, "How does my family concern you? If you wish to know the truth about my religion, know that I am a Christian and carry out Christian rites." The judge demanded to know his name. He answered the judge: "My parents named me Alban, and I worship and adore the living and true God who created all things." This really angered the judge, who said, "If you want to enjoy eternal life, sacrifice at once to the great gods." Alban responded, "You are offering these sacrifices to devils who cannot help their supplicants, nor answer their prayers and vows. On the contrary, whosoever offers sacrifice to idols is doomed to the pains of hell." This response, of course, did not help matters at all. The judge ordered Alban to be flogged, but when he noticed that no torture would break Alban or make him renounce Christ, the judge ordered Alban's immediate decapitation.

Alban was to be decapitated on a hill top. Many people came out to witness the decapitation, in fact, there were so many people there that the soldiers and Alban could not get across the bridge since all the people filled the bridge and prevented their passing. Alban walked up to the banks of the river, and since he desired a speedy martyrdom, raised his eyes to heaven and said a prayer. The water dried up and they were able to walk on dry land. When the executioner saw this miracle,
he was so moved that he ran to meet Alban at the place of execution. He threw down his sword and fell at Alban's feet, begging that he might be thought worthy to die with the martyr if he could not die in his place. The other executioners were unsure of what to do, and were reluctant to pick up the sword. Alban continued to the top of the hill, where, being thirsty, he asked God for some water. Immediately a spring bubbled up at his feet, a sign to all present that it was the martyr's prayer
that dried up the river and now produced a perennial spring. At the same time, the river began to flow again. One of the other executioners picked up the sword and struck the fatal blow and beheaded Alban. According to Bede, "the man whose impious hands struck off that pious head was not permitted to boast of his deed, for as the martyr's head fell, the executioner's eyes dropped out on the ground." Bede also writes: "The soldier who had been moved by divine intuition to refuse to slay God's confessor was beheaded at the same time as Alban. And although he had not received the purification of baptism, there was no doubt that he was cleansed by the shedding of his own blood, and rendered fit to enter the kingdom of heaven. Astonished by these many strange miracles the judge called a halt to the persecution, and whereas he had formerly fought to crush devotion to Christ, he now began to honor the death of his saints." Bede says that a church worthy of Alban's martyrdom was built on the spot and that many sick folks were healed there and that frequent miracles occur there. Since Alban was martyred on a hill, churches which bear his name are located on hills, just like St. Alban's in Paraíso.

Alban was only a Christian for a few days but he felt so strongly about his devotion to Christ that he was willing to suffer death on Christ's behalf. He was willing to take the place of the priest and face the tortures and punishments reserved for the Christians of that time. His witness brought about the conversion of both his executioner and the judge who sentenced him to death. His witness most probably helped spread Christianity throughout Britain and the British Isles. We are all called to serve Christ but we aren't all called to the same ministries. We aren't all called to celibacy, we aren't all called to poverty, and, thank God, we are not all called to martyrdom. All of us are called to work for the coming of the Kingdom of God and we are all called to tend the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner and welcome the stranger. We are all called to love one another as Christ loves us, and we are all called to proclaim the love of God for all, and to tell others of God's forgiveness and unconditional love for all of humanity. Alban's life is a powerful example of how devotion to Christ can make someone so completely selfless that they are willing to die for others. Jesus said that a true friend is willing to die for a friend, and just as Alban was willing to die in the place of the priest, Jesus was willing to die for all of us. Jesus calls all of us to such lives of selflessness, even through he does not call all of us to face a martyr's death. May the lives and witness of the martyrs continue to inspire the Church and may we all acknowledge Jesus before the world.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Feast of St. Bernard Mizeki, Martyr

Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: 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.

Mamiyeri Mitseka Gwambe was born in Inhambane, in Portuguese East Africa, which we now call Mozambique, in the year 1861. When he was twelve years old he decided to go into exile with some of his older cousins. They moved to Cape Town, South Africa. He worked as a laborer for ten years, working for white settlers, commuting to his home in the slums. Many of his neighbors used alcohol to treat their despair, which actually made things much worse, and he decided not to drink. This was one of the many ways in which he was different than his neighbors, along with his desire for education.

When he was about 20 years old, he enrolled in an Anglican night school run by the Cowley Fathers and administered by Baroness Paula Dorothea von Blomberg of Germany. He was a dedicated student with a gift for languages, and he learned English, High Dutch, French, and eight African languages. He was soon working as a translator, translating the Bible into indigenous African languages. He became a Christian and was baptized at St. Philip's Mission on Sir Lowry Road in Cape Town on March 7, 1886, with the Baroness serving as his godmother. He took on the name Bernard Mizeki at baptism. He worked as a houseboy at St. Bolumba's Hostel, a residential home for African men, and it was here that his talents in evangelism appeared. A few months later he was sent to Zonnebloem College where he was trained as a catechist.

In 1891, the Rt. Rev. George William Knight-Bruce, former Anglican Bishop of Bloemfontien was appointed missionary bishop of the new Diocese of Mashonaland. He needed volunteers who spoke the language to help with this pioneer missionary work, and Bernard Mizeki answered "yes" to this call. He travelled with the bishop into what was then called Rhodesia, but we now call Zimbabwe, a place very much in the news lately. Bernard served as the bishop's personal assistant and interpreter. Bernard eventually settled near the place where the chief of the vaNhowe people, Mungati, kept his cattle. He continued to travel to the city of Salisbury (now Harare) to work translating the Bible and Prayer Book liturgies into the seShona language. Mungati gave Bernard some land and he built his hut there. He built himself some furniture but then decided that he wanted to live as simply as his neighbors, so he took all his furniture and burned it. Bernard's daily routine involved prayer with his neighbors as a means of getting to know them, working in his garden, and studying local languages. He opened a school and opened his house so that his students could live with him. He later moved the school and mission station (with Mungati's permission) to a plateau near a grove of trees which supposedly housed the ancestral spirits of the Mashona poeple. The station prospered and the number of converts grew. Bernard respected the local religious beliefs, and, noticing that the Shona Spirit religion was monotheistic, he made connections between Christianity and the local religion, which increased his respect among the people. He was also respected by the Government official Llewellyn Meredith and a lay missionary, Douglas Pelly, although this connection to the white colonial government was not helpful to Bernard and probably had a part in his martyrdom.

Not everyone respected or liked Bernard Mizeki. The local witch-doctors saw him as a threat to their way of life, and Mchemwa, Mungati's son, despised Bernard. Bernard married Mutwa, granddaughter of Mungati and Mchemwa's niece, but this family tie did not help his relationship with Mchemwa. Although Bernard respected some aspects of the local religion, he didn't believe in the superstitious aspects, and he cut down some of the trees in the sacred grove, and carved crosses on some of the other trees. This angered the local witch-doctors, and they combined forces with Mchemwa. Mchemwa ordered Bernard's death, and one of the local religious leaders warned the Christians to stay away from the morning service on June 14. However, they all returned that evening. The Mashona rebellion was taking place, and Bernard was warned to flee, because Mchemwa had accused him of working as an agent of European imperialism. Bernard refused to leave, choosing to obey what he believed was his bishop's order to stay and work with the people there. On the evening of June 18, 1896, his enemies knocked on his door, dragged him outside, stabbed him with a spear, and left him for dead. His wife found him nearby, wounded but alive. He told Mutwa to flee, but she went to find him food and blankets to care for him. She saw a brilliant white light, which was seen by others as well. The light was shining all over the hillside where he lay dying. Witnesses claimed to have heard a great noise, like many wings of great birds. When Mutwa returned to where she had left Bernard, his body was gone. Mchemwa had taken his body and buried it in a secret place. He and his men then destroyed the mission station, leaving nothing but mud floors. Months later, Mutwa gave birth to their daughter and named her Masiwa, which means "fatherless one." At baptism her name became Bernadina.

Mchemwa and the witch-doctors thought that they had successfully ended Bernard Mizeki's ministry with the destruction of the mission station and his martyrdom. English missionaries had been working in the area for thirty years without even one baptism, but one month after Bernard's martyrdom, John Kupya, one of Bernard's students, was baptized, followed by Mutwa and many others. The hill on which Mungati’s kraal was located is now dominated by a large concrete cross.
The church is established in Zimbabwe and the place of Bernard's martyrdom is a site of pilgrimage in Africa, where large groups of people, Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and Protestants, come to pray and remember him on June 18, St. Bernard's Day. Next to his shrine stands Bernard Mizeki College. There are more than twenty memorials dedicated to Bernard Mizeki in South Africa alone, including many churches, and the altar in St. Cyprian’s Church in Langa, South Africa, is inscribed Bernard Mizeki si tandaza: Bernard Mizeki pray for us.

Bernard Mizeki was not afraid of those who would kill the body and he was willing to stand up and acknowledge Christ before others, even though his witness led to his death. His bravery, his faithfulness to the people whose lives were entrusted to his care, and his love for the Good News makes him an example of one who is a Witness, a martyr, a saint. May we all have the faith and courage of Bernard Mizeki.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Feast of St. Basil the Great

Almighty God, you have revealed to your Church your eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace that, like your bishop Basil of Caesarea, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; for you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

Basil was born in the year 329, just a few years after the first Ecumenical Council held in Nicea from which came the Nicene Creed. This is important because Basil would become one of the great defenders of orthodoxy against the Arian Heresy. His family was wealthy, well educated, and very devout Christians. His father was a lawyer and he was so devout that some people thought he was able to perform miracles. Basil's grandparents were converts and disciples of Gregory Thaumaturgus, the Wonder-worker, a disciple of Origen. They spent seven years in the woods of Pontus hiding during the Decian persecution, and their estate at Annesi on the Iris river had a chapel to forty martyrs. It must have been quite a household, for this family produced two bishops and the head of the first convent, and all three are considered saints by the Church.
Basil received a classical Greek education. He started in Caesarea, then studied under Libanius in Antioch, and, feeling restless, spent some time studying in Constantinople. Finally, he entered the University of Athens, studying under the best teachers of his time. He spent five years studying history, geometry, astronomy, poetics, and the classics. Athens was where he met his life-long friend Gregory of Nazianzus, another Cappadocian Father and future bishop. Another classmate was the future emperor, Julian. He returned to Cappadocia, having graduated from the best university in the world at that time, and took the seat of Rhetoric at the University of Caesarea. He enjoyed the academic life and oratory, and his sister, Macrina, accused him of being “puffed up beyond all measure with the pride of oratory” and complained that he thought he was better than anyone in town. He was always quoting the classics at her and showed absolutely no interest in following the Christian traditions of the family. Macrina was already preaching renunciation to the family, but Basil wasn't buying any of that! Then tragedy struck his family; his brother, Naucratius, who was the most handsome of the children, the most athletic, and the best scholar, and mom's favorite child, died suddenly. He was living at the family estate at Annesi, and had gone out fishing with a servant, and was brought home dead. Basil was overwhelmed by this event; he gave up his chair at the University and came to sit at his sister’s feet and learn of renunciation. Macrina was the source of solace in the family. She comforted her mother and brothers, and soon changed things around the house, having the slaves treated as equals and started talking about closing the house and moving to one of the other estates to found a religious community for women. This was the first monastery and the first monks were women, not men! Inspired by his sister’s example, Basil went to Egypt where he studied with the Anchorites. The Anchorites were hermits who lived lives of strict asceticism, living in the desert in caves and holes and little huts. They lived in communities but had no leader and tended to suffer from spiritual pride, believing that they were holier than everyone else. Basil spent a few months visiting Anchorites in Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Mesopotamia, but he decided that the life of an Anchorite was undisciplined and lacking in humility. When Basil returned to Cappadocia, he was fired-up and wanted to start a community for men similar to the community for women Macrina had started at Annesi. He decided to found his community in Ibora, across the Iris river and facing Annesi. He invited his friend Gregory to come join him. His description of the place and the life they would live there sounds more like a great camping adventure than the monastic life: There is a high mountain very thickly wooded, watered toward the north with cool and transparent streams. Below the mountain lies a plain, richly watered by the mountain streams, skirted by a tremendous growth of trees thick enough to form a fence; and so, as you see, we live on an island more beautiful than the island of Calypso, which Homer thought to be the most beautiful on earth. Indeed, this is truly an island, enclosed on all sides and the earth dips away at the frontiers of the island; and the river, which flows from a mountain precipice, runs along one side, and is impassable as a wall; while the mountain, extending itself behind, and meeting the hollows in a crescent, stops up the path at its roots. There is but one pass, and I am the master of it. Gregory thought the place was cold and dark and full of thorns and he hated the little hut that he and Basil stayed in, and he hated the poor food; he and Basil almost broke their teeth on the homemade bread. Gregory left, but Basil was now convinced that the life of renunciation was the life for him. Taking his sister’s group as a model, he decided that it was better for monks to live under a rule of discipline: when and how much one should eat, rules deciding when and how often monks should pray, even rules on how many blankets one could have on one's bed. He developed the “Rule of Basil” which is still the model for monasteries of the Eastern Church. According to Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil wanted to take the best from his sister's system and the Anchorite system, "so that the contemplative life might not be cut off from society, nor the active life be uninfluenced by contemplation."

In 359, Basil became a lector in the church, and five years later, Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, against Basil's will, had him ordained a presbyter. As a presbyter he dealt with the minor duties of the episcopate. Basil and Bishop Eusebius were both stubborn, opinionated guys, and there were many arguments. At one point Basil had enough; he left Caesarea and returned to Ibora. When Valens, an Arian, became emperor, Eusebius, being one of the few orthodox bishops around, needed Basil's help and he was recalled to Caesarea. It was a difficult time for Caesarea; in the year 368 there were hailstorms, then floods, then earthquakes, and all of this was followed by a terrible drought. The peasants lost their crops and starvation hit the area. Basil, a rich young man, saw starvation for the first time and the plight of the poor and hungry touched him deeply. He sold the property he had inherited and gave the money to the hungry. He went around Caesarea to all the rich people he knew and demanded that they collect money and bread and give it to the poor. He told them, "There would be neither rich or poor if everyone, after taking from his wealth enough for his personal needs gave to others what they lacked." (Let those with ears, hear!) But the rich were more selfish than he ever expected, and if you read his homilies from that time, they often have a protest against wealth. He loved the poor, and to them he wrote: "since you have nothing, lend what you have to God." He realized the truth (a truth that I myself have seen many times) that there is often more human charity and warmth among the poor than anywhere else.

Two years later Eusebius died, and, with an Arian Emperor in Constantinople and an Arian Patriarch at Hagia Sophia, two bishops fighting for the throne in Antioch and Rome far away and out of touch, Basil saw no choice but to become a Bishop. Nothing would stop him and he would be victorious against all enemies. Bishop Gregory Nazianzus, father of his dear friend, recognized that there was no alternative, and arranged in his old age to be carried to Caesarea in order to take part in the election. Gregory won the election by a narrow margin, and the Bishop of Nazianzus consecrated Basil with his own hands. Athanasius wrote from Alexandria that every diocese should have a bishop like Basil. Basil was now Bishop of Caesarea, Metropolitan of Cappadocia, and Exarch of Pontus. As bishop he fought the Arians constantly and required all his clergy to be orthodox. When the Emperor tried to reduce his power by cutting his See of Cappadocia, Basil forced his brother Gregory to become bishop of Nyssa, and, upon his father's death, his dear friend Gregory as bishop of Nanzianzus. His fight for orthodoxy prevailed, and the Nicene faith was affirmed at the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople in 381.

Basil was also considered a great Liturgist, and the Liturgy of St. Basil is used in the Eastern Church for special occasions when the Liturgy of St. John Chrysotom is not used. It seems proper to me that we celebrate the feast of Basil the Great a little after the Feast of Pentecost, the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit, as the third person of the Trinity was very important to Basil. In his treatise On the Holy Spirit, Basil stated that both scripture and the faith of the Church requires that the same honor, glory and worship is to be paid to the Holy Spirit as to the Father and the Son. There was a traditional formula for liturgical prayer at that time which used the words: “Glory to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit,” but Basil wrote that we should say: “Glory to the Father with the Son together with the Holy Spirit.” Of course, now we deal with the issue by saying "Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit" which works quite well. Basil was devoted to, and recognized, the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. Basil was also devoted to the poor, and this was illustrated in his will. When Basil died, he willed to the city of Caesarea a complete new town, built on his estate, with housing and a staff, a church for the poor, and a hospice for travelers. Basil was serious about the faith and he was also serious about the monastic life, that is why he developed his rule. But his concern for the poor also showed how seriously he took the commands of our Lord Jesus to care for the poor.

Let me share a story about Basil told by Robert Payne: One day when the saintly Ephraem Syrus was wandering through Cappadocia, he heard a voice saying: "Rise, Ephraem, and feed upon intellect." "Where shall I find it, Lord?" he asked. "Go toward My church, and there thou shalt find a royal vase full of the nourishment that is good for thee." He entered the church and saw a priest standing at the alar, a tall man with stooping shoulders; on one of those shoulders a snow-white dove sat, whispering in Basil's ear.

Friday, June 12, 2009

ANOTHER Blogging Slowdown

It's travel to the mountains day. We don't know the situation up there, but we do know that we don't have internet access. Heck, we don't even have a telephone up there, but, thanks to the wonderful Allie, Cathie, Paul (A), and Shelly, we have a celulár, so we won't be totally cut-off from the Modern World. We hope to get a land line and internet access as soon as possible. In the mean time, here are some kittehs.

It's Tara's Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday, Tara!

Here's a special song for you

Love from Mom and Dad

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging on a Thursday!

We're headed to our place in the Trinity Alps tomorrow, where I hope to do some writing and the Lovely Mona and Chompita will wile away the hours eating raw food bon-bons and doggy treats, respectively. We may not have any internet access for a while, so I'm posting Friday Red Mr. Peanut Bank and Gallito Mescalito Blogging on Thursday instead. And now, The Boys Visit Philadelphia, Birthplace of Liberty 'n Stuff.

Red Mr. Peanut Bank Here we are in Psuedopiskie's Prius, on our way to Philadelphia! Oh, what fun we will have!
Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriek!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank I know you're a bit uncomfortable, but these spaces are actually for cups, not Gallitos.
Gallito Mescalito ¿Shriek? ¡Shriek!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Oh, puhLEEZE! It can't be THAT bad!! Try shifting position.

Gallito Mescalito ¡¡SHRIEK!!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Your ankles hurt? I didn't even know gallitos had ankles. Let's just enjoy the sights now, please.

Red Mr. Peanut Bank Oh, calm down! That is NOT a real person; it is a statue, kind of like you are a statue. It is not a person missing an arm and torso.
Gallito Mescalito ¿Shriek?
Red Mr. Peanut Bank I'm not sure, but that face seems to be all over the place.

Gallito Mescalito ¡Shriek!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank You're right, it's that man's face again! Maybe that's Phil A. Delphia himself!
Gallito Mescalito ¡¡SHRIEK!!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Perhaps it IS a joke name, thank you!

Red Mr. Peanut Bank Oh my goodness! It's HIM!
Gallito Mescalito ¡¡SHRIEK!!
Cardboard Benjamin Franklin Hi boys! I hope you're enjoying Philadelphia!
Gallito Mescalito ¡¡SHRIEK!!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank We are! WE ARE! But, pardon my ignorance: who are you?
Cardboard Benjamin Franklin I'm Benjamin Franklin, the only President of the United States of America who was NEVER President of the United States of America!
Gallito Mescalito ¿Shriek?
Cardboard Benjamin Franklin Well of course! I'd LOVE to have my picture taken with you two!

Red Mr. Peanut Bank Well, here we are in front of Christ's Church.
Gallito Mescalito¡SHRIEK! ¡SHRIEK! ¡SHRIEK! ¡SHRIEK!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Your ankles are killing you? Maybe you should rest.

Red Mr. Peanut Bank Thank you, Lovely Mona, for allowing me to see the Liberty Bell! Poor Gallito Mescalito's ankles hurt so much that he had to rest in Padre's CREDO bag.
The Lovely Mona I can't believe I'm doing this! And I couldn't believe the look on that guard's face when she found you in Padre's CREDO bag.


Gallito Mescalito¡SHRIEK! ¡SHRIEK! ¡SHRIEK! ¡SHRIEK!
Red Mr. Peanut Bank I feel so bad! I thought he was being overly dramatic when he said his ankles hurt!
Miss Egyptian Hippo Of Love Well that can't feel very good! What shall we do?
Red Mr. Peanut Bank Poor Gallito! POOR GALLITO!!
Miss Egyptian Hippo Of Love We've got a big gathering tomorrow night and he needs to be there, too!


Gallito Mescalito ¿Shriek?
Buddy Christ Hey there, buddy! What's the problem?
Gallito Mescalito¡SHRIEK! ¡SHRIEK! ¡SHRIEK! ¡SHRIEK!
Buddy Christ Well, don't worry, fella. We can fix this!

Gallito Mescalito ¿Shriek? ¡Shriek!
Buddy Christ Just look at me. . .concentrate. . .focus. . .and THERE! FIXED!

Gallito Mescalito ¡¡SHRIEK!!
Buddy Christ No problem, buddy! I like healing folks. You be good now, ya hear?


Red Mr. Peanut Bank Thank God Gallito Mescalito experienced a miraculous healing so we could all be here tonight!
Miss Egyptian Hippo Of Love Praise the Lord! Now we can have fun and meet all these great people!
The Great Oogly Moogly Bug Thang, off camera OW!! MY EYE!!!
Eileen, the Episcopalifem, off camera Oops! My bad!
Elizabeth, The Evil Lesbian Priestess, off camera I've got it! Anyone have a fork? There shall be a HEALING!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Back in California!

The Lovely Mona and I are back in California after our whirl-wind tour of the East Coast. Well, actually, we were in New Jersey and we visited Philadelphia with Psuedopiskie. We also went to Boston to be with our daughter Anne and her kids. We had a great time, but she doesn't want us to post photos of the lil' darlins' on the innertoobes, so we won't; it's complicated. I didn't have internet access at Anne's, plus, them kids had me exhausted!! But a GOOD kinda exhausted.

I gots lotsa catching up to do, so I'll post a buncha photos later. However, here are a some highlights:

Red Mr. Peanut Bank visited the Liberty Bell with the Lovely Mona (you should have seen the look on the face of the security person when, checking my bag, she came across Red Mr. Peanut Bank! I wish I had the camera at that moment!)

We (the Lovely Mona, Red Mr. Peanut Bank, Gallito Mescalito, Miss Egyptian Hippo of Love, and Padre) attended a wild party of Crazed Episcopalian Bloggers and Other Important Folks. Here are just a few photos of the crazy hi-jinks which ensued.

Table 1

Table 2

Oh yeah, I saw this in Malden, MA. It appears that the Abuelita de Louisiana is into more than file gumbo

Much more tomorrow.

Feast of St. Columba, Abbot of Iona

Columba, son of Phelim, of the royal house of Niall of the Nine Hostages, was born in the year 521 at Gotten, in the wilds of Donegal in northern Ireland. He was given two names at his baptism: Crimthann, meaning wolf and Colum, which means dove. It is said that as a child he was in church so often that he was nicknamed Coumcille, meaning dove of the church. History knows him by the Latin form of his name, Columba. Bishop Moorman describes Columba as "Tall, broad, vigorous, tempestuous, with a voice of thunder, he could strike terror in to the heart of any who opposed him." R. H. Hodgkin describes him as "A typical Irishman, vehement, irresistible: hear him curse a niggardly rich man or bless the heifers of a poor peasant; see him follow a robber who had plundered a friend, cursing the wretch to his destruction, following him to the water's edge, wading up to the knees in the clear, green sea-water, with both hands raised to heaven." Not exactly a docile sounding fellow!

Being of royal blood, he could have been raised to be a chieftain, but his parents dedicated him to God and gave him to the priest Cruithnechan for his education. He was an industrious student and moved along quickly in his studies. He was ordained a deacon by St. Fingan of Cionard, and, at the age of 24, was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Echtam. He began his religious vocation as a monk at the monastery in Glasnevin, but the community was forced to disband by an epidemic, and he returned home. He then traveled all over Ireland and established monasteries and churches, including Durrow and Kells.

Columba may have been a priest, but that didn't prevent him from getting involved in tribal politics and feuds. Around the year 560 a dispute regarding a copy of the psalter of Finian of Moville which Columba had surreptitiously, devaluing the original. Finian brought the matter to High King Dermott for his judgment, and Dermott ruled in favour of Finian, saying "to every cow its calf; to every book its copy." Columba refused to hand over the copy and the dispute escalated. Another reason for the escalation of the issue was that High King Dermott had slain Prince Cuman, a kinsman of Columba who was under Columba's protection, and Columba desired revenge. The dispute developed into a quarrel and soon entire tribes were involved and a battle took place at Culdreihmne. Columba led his forces to victory, killing three thousand of the enemy. He was filled with remorse and turned to his confessor, St. Molaise, who advised that Columba go into exile in the "land of the heathen Picts." Columba was not to return to Ireland until he had won for Christ as many souls as he had slain on the battlefield of Culdreihmne.

In 563 Columba left Ireland with twelve companions in a curaich, a frail, open, leather boat. They crossed the sea to Kintyre where they met with Columba's cousin, Connail. The monks then headed north and on May 12, 563, the eve of Pentecost, they arrived at Port-na-Curaich on an island which would become known as Iona. The island was barren and the monks had to ferry materials such as twigs and branches from the island of Mull. They built their monastery in the Celtic style, of course, with a church and refectory of wood, bee-hive huts of mud-and-wattle, and a wall surrounding the entire enclosure. The branches and twigs were even scarce on the island of Mull, and Columba rewarded the peasant from whose fields the materials were gathered with several bushels of barely which produced an abundant crop in record time! The oak logs used to build the church and refectory had to be brought over from the mainland. The monks later built a stable, granary and a mill.

The routine of the monks was very much like that they had lived in Ireland: they tilled the soil, fished, copied manuscripts and followed the routine of prayer and praise of the Monastic Hours. Columba is credited with bringing the art of writing to Scotland. He is said to have written or copied some 300 books. He developed his own Rule of Life with was different than any in the Western or Eastern Church. The monks fasted strictly, but they also practiced hospitality as a missionary tool, and they welcomed many visitors to Iona. The monks were encouraged to make the sign of the cross often: over the pail before milking (this would cast demons out of the bottom of the pail and prevent the spilling of any milk), over a lantern before lighting it, and over tools before using them. Columba saw the sign of the cross as a particularly powerful tool. It is said that when he and two interpreters went to see King Brude and his foster-father and close advisor, the Arch Druid Broichan, they found the gates of the castle locked. Columba made the sign of the cross over the gate and it swung open on its own. Columba was unimpressed with the power of the Druids and he often beat them at their own game, crying "Christ is my Druid!" Broichan realized that he was facing a rival, so later, when Columba and the translators were on their way back to Iona, the Arch Druid conjured a great wind to frustrate their setting sail. Columba cried out "Christ is my Druid!" and sailed straight into the storm. The wind suddenly shifted and quickly propelled their craft on its way home. According to Columba's biographer, Adamnan, Columba was granted the gift of healing and prophecy. Water blessed by Columba had curative powers, and he also changed water into wine. When he celebrated the Holy Eucharist, an uncreated light was seen to shine down upon him. He went on many missionary journeys, to Northern Scotland and the Heathen Picts, to Aberdeen and the Orkneys and he even converted King Brude at Iverness. Columba divided his time between the communal life of the monastery and in the solitary life of a hermit. His bed and pillow were made of stone, and he often spent the night in prayer by himself in some solitary corner of the island.

One day in June, when he was 77 years old, an angel appeared to him while he was at the altar, celebrating the Holy Eucharist. The angel told him that he would soon be with the Lord. The next Saturday he went with his servant, Diarmid, to bless the winnowed corn in the barn. He told Diarmid that this would be his last Sabbath, and that he would be with the Lord on the Lord's Day. While on the path, he stopped to catch his breath and the old white horse of the community came to him, laid its head on his breast, and wept, knowing that they would soon part. He then climbed the hill above the monastery, looked down upon the island of Iona and the monastery and blessed it. He then prophesied that Iona would always be held in honor by kings and people, by the Scots and by churches across the sea. He then returned to his cell and resumed his work of copying the Psalter, stopping at the ninth verse of the thirty-fourth psalm Fear the Lord, you that are his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. At midnight he rose from his bed and hurried into the church and straight up to the altar. The brothers found him lying on the ground before the altar and the entire place filled with a heavenly light. Diarmid knelt and put Columba's heard on his breast, and then lifted Columba's hand to so that the Spiritual Father could bless his children. The monks were weeping, of course, but Columba's face was beaming with ineffable joy. The monks were convinced that he saw the angels coming to take him home. He gave them all his benediction and then breathed his last. It was the dawn of the Lord's Day, June 9th, 597.

O God, by the preaching of your blessed servant Columba you caused the light of the Gospel to shine in Scotland: Grant, we pray, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show our thankfulness to you by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Travel Day Blog Slowdown

I know: Blog slowdown AGAIN!?! Well, tomorrow the Lovely Mona and I are traveling to Beautiful Newark New Jersey for a meeting with the super secret cabal with a bunch of Episcopalian Bloggers and Other Wonderful People on Friday. Then we're heading to Boston for a few days with our daughter Anne and the Other Most Beautiful Granchillins™. Then back to the Bay Area for a couple of days and THEN off to our Mountain Hide-a-way, where Padre will do Manly Fixing Of The Place and writing, while the Lovely Mona and Señorita Chompita Wiggletail wile away the hours eating raw-food-vegan bon-bons n' stuff.

We'll be taking BART to SFO, a Super-fast Jet Plane(!) to Phoenix, then to Newark. Then a train to Boston. Then the T to Logan International, where, once again, we will board a Super-fast Jet Plane (!) to SFO, where we will catch BART again to Oakland, walking to Stately Grover-Roybal Mansion.

SO, very little blogging as we travel about, but perhaps some blogging from Newark and Boston, who knows? We will have photos once we return to the City of My Birth.

For those of you who never leave home, our means of transportation are illustrated below:

Lotsa Walking


Super-fast Jet Plane(!)

Train to Boston

The T

There is always this option which combines the comfort of modern air travel with the old-fashioned luxury of the Age of the Railroad

nicked from

And a BIG THANK YOU to all who contributed to the Fly-Dem-Dresbach-Peoples-To-Newark fund!

Tuesday Miss Bebé, The World's Most Beautiful Granchile™ Blogging

As I stated in the post below, after the Commencement the Lovely Mona and I headed for the hills; the Sierra Nevadas, Gold Rush Country, to be exact! My parents and my Aunt Sally and Uncle John Putica live up in Sonora and Twain Harte, and my mom and Aunt Sally have a reunion with their sisters Margie and Nona and brother Sam every year. This year they decided to have their youngins join the fun, so lots of my cousins and their kids showed up, too. It was a lot of fun! And Tara and Chris and Miss Bebé came, too!! We had a big picnic at Pinecrest Lake. We went out on the Party Boat, we ate lots of food and talked and talked and talked. Some of us had to leave that afternoon, but I'm glad we got to spend some time with everyone.

Here are some photos of Miss Bebé that day. She lost her hat on the lake but my cousin, Sharky, stopped the boat and his brother, my cousin Josh, fished the hat out of the lake to the cheers of the family. Miss Bebé was relieved, to say the least!

Miss Bebé lakeside with her faddah and Abuelo's flashy shorts

Miss Bebé on the Party Boat, looking a bit aprehensive

C.D.S.P. Commencement

We're trying to catch-up here, now that the mac mini is back in action, so today we will post photos of the 115th Commencement at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific on Friday, May 22, 2009. I know three people graduating: our own Kirstin Paisley, Vivian Lam, Kenneth Simon, and one person receiving an honorary degree: Nigel Renton, who received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. It was cold for the Lovely Mona and I, but everyone else called it a beautiful day; well, it WAS beautiful, but freakin' cold for we Tropical Types!

Bishop Sebastian Bakare of Harare preached and received the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, and his wife, Ruth Bakare, received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

We enjoyed seeing our friends receive their hoods, and it was great to see so many old friends, too. After the Commencement, we climbed in the car and headed for Mi Wuk Village in the Gold Country to attend a family reunion.


The Procession:

Vivian Lam

Kirsten Paisley

The Rev. Dr. Louis Weil in his fancy outfit

My friend Hector Mira, Crucifer

Bishop Bakare preaching

Dr. Donn Morgan, Dean and President of C.D.S.P.

Kenneth Simon receiving his Certificate of Anglican Studies

Vivian Lam receiving her hood

Kirsten Paisley receiving her hood

Nigel Renton receiving his hood

Kenneth Simon, M. Div.

Vivian Lam, M.Div. (with family and friends)

Kirstin Paisley, M.Div. (with friend)

Nigel Renton, L.H.D.

I See You!

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