Friday, January 27, 2017

2017 “ProLifeCon” Twitcast and Transcript

Today it begins, our eighth annual “Twitcast” joining pro-life bloggers from near and far, who all had the good sense once again, to come in out of the cold during the annual March For Life, for this year's ProLifeCon, the “premiere conference for the online prolife community” hosted once again by the Family Research Council in Washington DC.

During the event, this video clip provides a live feed of the proceedings. With its conclusion, you are invited to view the full pre-recording (which begins at 8:37). You can learn more at the FRC website, follow the magic hashtag on Twitter: #prolifecon, or follow yours truly at:

The list of speakers announced two days prior to the event (not necessarily in order of appearance) are as follows:

Brandon Buell, Father of Jaxon "Strong" Buell, Co-Author, Don't Blink, and Co-Trustee for The Jaxon Strong Foundation
Rebekah Buell, Pro-Life Speaker & Abortion-Reversal Mother
Arina Grossu, Director, Center for Human Dignity, Family Research Council
Kelsey Harkness, Senior News Producer, The Daily Signal
Kristan Hawkins, President, Students for Life America
Anna Hoduski, Campaign Speaker & Runner, Project If Life
Rep Randy Hultgren (R-IL)
Bishop Vincent Mathews, Jr, President of the International Missions Department, The Church of God in Christ
Melissa Ohden, Author, “You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir”
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
Brandi Swindell, Founder and President, The Stanton Project
Rep Claudia Tenney (R-NY)

A transcript of the Twitter feed will appear below once the event is completed. Items may be edited slightly for correction, especially when we have to look up some of the big words.

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"Good morning to our online viewers ..." #prolifecon
8:30 AM

Vice President Pence will be appearing at the Rally of the #MarchForLife. This is unprecedented. #prolifecon
8:31 AM

Kristan Hawkins, President, Students for Life America. #prolifecon
8:32 AM

Learned of her son's serious illness. "How can I make sure that [his] life is a fulfilled life?" #prolifecon
8:33 AM

"You live an extraordinary life when you live to serve others." #prolifecon
8:33 AM

"This is a crazy life we have as #ProLife activists ... we need a new generation of heroes ... you can be that hero online." #prolifecon
8:35 AM

"We are called to witness to the truth, that we don't need Planned Parenthood anymore." #prolifecon
8:38 AM

Lauren Merz, LiveAction. #prolifecon
8:43 AM

Despite playing it down, Planned Parenthood performs 30 percent of the abortions in America. "They *are* an abortion business." #prolifecon
8:45 AM

"We contacted Planned Parenthood locations in search of prenatal care here." #prolifecon
8:46 AM

"We contacted 97 locations. Only 5 offered prenatal care." #prolifecon
8:48 AM

Rebekah Buell, Pro-Life Speaker & Abortion-Reversal Mother. #prolifecon
8:49 AM

"I became pregnant at 17. I was scared and I was shocked. I lived in a Baptist home where we never talked about sex." #prolifecon
8:50 AM

"I needed to get out of an abusive relationship. And then I found out that I was pregnant again. I considered an abortion." #prolifecon
8:51 AM

"I visited a clinic close to my university (in Sacramento)." #prolifecon
8:52 AM

"I was told: 'We don't give the abortion pill on Fridays.'" #prolifecon
8:53 AM

Went to Planned Parenthood, who kept putting her off for a couple of weeks. Finally got the RU-486 pill. #prolifecon
8:55 AM

Was given an additional pill, was not told of its full effects, or that it was normally given while in labor. #prolifecon
8:56 AM

Had a change of heart, sought out a #ProLife doctor for a procedure of reversing the process. #prolifecon
8:57 AM

PP kept calling, told her that the reversal would create health risks. #prolifecon
8:58 AM

The second child was born, now one of an estimated 300 reversed procedures. #prolifecon
8:59 AM

Brandi Swindle, Founder and President, The Stanton Project. #prolifecon
9:00 AM

"Could we possibly replace Planned Parenthood?" #prolifecon
9:01 AM

Congress is seriously considering defunding Planned Parenthood. #prolifecon
9:02 AM

Cosmopolitan ("Cosmo") did a feature piece on the The Stanton Project. It was a wonderful piece. #prolifecon
9:03 AM

"We have bought property on each side of one Planned Parenthood location in Idaho. A church is being built on the other plot." #prolifecon
9:05 AM

"Planned Parenthood is suing us, in part for parking our mobile clinic in front of our own property, next door to them." #prolifecon
9:07 AM

The "March for Women" on the 21st tried to kick them out. They marched anyway. #prolifecon
9:08 AM #prolifecon
9:11 AM

Congressman Randy Hultgren, Republican from Illinois. #prolifecon
9:15 AM

"Where I get so encouraged by the #MarchForLife, it's with the number of young people ..." #prolifecon
9:17 AM

Discussed a bill to ensure more transparency in how taxpayer funding will be used for health care services. #prolifecon
9:19 AM

President Trump will announce his next nominee for the Supreme Court at the upcoming National Prayer Breakfast. #prolifecon
9:24 AM

"We can have an impact [on doing the right thing] in the next four to six months, in the next four years." #prolifecon
9:27 AM

"I grew up in Wheaton, Illinois. Henry Hyde was my congressman. He was my hero." #prolifecon
9:31 AM

"We are now going now to the National Mall for a live report from Brent." #prolifecon
9:33 AM

Brandon Buell, Father of Jaxon "Strong" Buell, Co-Author, Don't Blink, and Co-Trustee for The Jaxon Strong Foundation. #prolifecon
9:34 AM

A short video clip of young Jaxon. #prolifecon
9:37 AM

"I come to you today as a father, because a *man* who stands up for these values is so rare." #prolifecon
9:39 AM

"Every day I strive to be a better husband, and a better father." #prolifecon
9:39 AM

There was so little information available on Jaxon's condition, many parents didn't make the decision to bring a child to term. #prolifecon
9:43 AM … #prolifecon
9:44 AM #prolifecon
9:44 AM

"We are called a hate group." ("Men will hate you because of me." - Jesus Christ) #prolifecon
9:52 AM

"I wanna talk for a second about my wife." #prolifecon
9:52 AM

Jaxon and Mom are introduced to the stage. #prolifecon
9:54 AM

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD." #prolifecon
9:55 AM

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, Republican from New York. #prolifecon
10:06 AM

The congresswoman is speaking by video stream from a bus en route to the #MarchforLife2017. "We're 20 minutes out." #prolifecon
10:08 AM

Melissa Ohden, Author, "You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir." #prolifecon
10:09 AM

Melissa is a survivor of a failed saline abortion. #prolifecon
10:10 AM

"We've got 109,000 views now (at #prolifecon)."
10:11 AM

Founder of the Abortion Survivors Network. #prolifecon
10:12 AM

"I would encourage you to continue to move beyond your comfort zone." #prolifecon
10:14 AM

CMP videos, defunding Planned Parenthood efforts and hearings, survivors testifying. #prolifecon
10:16 AM

"Post about where you are, add photos and video, as it's happening, tag others." #prolifecon
10:18 AM

"Videos and music make a strong impact and are shared frequently." #prolifecon
10:19 AM

"I often say the personal is political, the political is personal." #prolifecon
10:20 AM

"Live streaming of hearings and events such as FRC's lecture series popular with lots of initial viewers and shares." #prolifecon
10:21 AM

"Be relevant. Pick up what is happening or reflect upon a historical significance." #prolifecon
10:22 AM

"Be willing to go mainstream, look for opportunities. If you see a pro-life story, share it, comment on it, share information." #prolifecon
10:24 AM

"You Carried Me" is a book by Melissa Ohden. #prolifecon
10:25 AM

Kelsey Harkness, Senior News Producer, The Daily Signal. #prolifecon
10:28 AM

First, a video is shown featuring Kelsey talking about the March. #prolifecon
10:29 AM

"Organizers of the Women's March formed a very progressive platform" excluding some women's voices, including #prolife women. #prolifecon
10:32 AM

"We needed to get ahead of the narrative, so we had two days to produce that video." #prolifecon
10:34 AM

"The #prolife movement is far more diverse than I ever imagined growing up in Connecticut." #prolifecon
10:35 AM

Saw this clip. The reporter definitely got schooled! #prolifecon
10:37 AM

"Many people don't understand how far along in a pregnancy a woman can have an abortion." #prolifecon
10:47 AM

Congressman Jim Banks, Republican from Indiana. #prolifecon
10:48 AM

Thanks to @FRC as an important resource for freshman members of Congress. @prolifecon
10:49 AM

Governor Pence was the most #ProLife governors in Indiana history. #prolifecon
10:50 AM

Bishop Vincent Mathews, Jr, President of the International Missions Department, The Church of God in Christ. #prolifecon
10:52 AM

"There is a demonic spirit of deception about what the Bible teaches." #prolifecon
10:55 AM

"You’re going to have a lot of people coming on Friday.” #prolifecon
10:56 AM

"If you don't want these children, we will take them into our homes." #prolifecon
10:57 AM

"We [use mobile apps to] engage others in intercessory prayer. You can't hate someone you're praying for." #prolifecon
11:00 AM #prolifecon
11:01 AM

The notion of a "black church" and a "white church" is "oxymoronic." #prolifecon
11:03 AM

"It's up to the Church of Jesus Christ, not the government, to show the world what the real issues are." #prolifecon
11:06 AM

Catherine Szeltner, Host of EWTN ProLife Weekly. #prolifecon
11:08 AM

Communication is two way, not only in how a message is presented, but in how people can respond, as in a one-on-one encounter. #prolifecon
11:14 AM

"Be prepared to answer the question, why are you #ProLife?" #prolifecon
11:15 AM

Thomas Jacobson, Global Life Campaign, presents a summary of an "Abortion Worldwide Report." #prolifecon
11:19 AM

Anna Holduski, Campaign Speaker & Runner, Project If Life #prolifecon
11:27 AM #prolifecon
11:29 AM

"Thank you for joining and sharing your talents." #prolifecon
11:31 AM

.... and we're out! #prolifecon
11:31 AM

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This year's edition, as with those in the past, will be updated with additional content over the next 24 hours. While the general sentiment of this year's March is the most optimistic in many years, with the unqualified support of both President Trump and Vice President Pence, this year's ProLifeCon had a lower turnout than usual, which was most unfortunate. Not only that, but at least four of the speakers were not on the original schedule, which made it difficult to provide correct information for the Twitter feed in real time. And so, corrections to the original transcript have been made, and this writer's concerns were addressed to the management of the Family Research Council, which was most receptive. It is hoped that an updated list will be provided to participants prior to the event.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Agnus Dei

Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Agnes, a virgin and martyr of the early persecutions.

She was put to death after refusing both a marriage proposal from a prominent Roman family (having already consecrated herself to God), and the offering of tribute to the pagan Gods. Her name is mentioned with the other great martyrs of Rome in the Roman Canon.

It is on this occasion that the Holy Father appears at the Church of Saint Agnes in Rome. There, he blesses two lambs, decorated in red (for martyrdom) and white (for purity), traditionally provided by the Trappists of the Tre Fontane Monastery. Then the lambs are taken to the Convent of Saint Cecilia, where the Sisters care for them. The wool sheared from them is used to weave the palliums worn by the Pope and the Archbishops, and which are conferred on new recipients on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on the 29th of June. (Information courtesy of Image courtesy of Teresa Satola.)

The “Agnus Dei” (“Lamb of God”) is also the name of a popular traditional devotion, in the form of a small medallion, wherein is contained a small amount of wax taken from the previous year's Paschal Candle of the Church of Rome.

This practice has fallen into disuse in recent years. Perhaps now is a good time to revive it.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Plowing Through Monday

Today was the traditional start of the agricultural year in England, and so was known as “Plough Monday” or the day after “Plough Sunday” which was the Sunday following the traditional observance of Epiphany on the sixth of January. This was the Monday when everyone would end the Christmas revelry and get back to work.

John Brand, in his 1777 book Observations on Popular Antiquities, gives an account of the formalities:

The FOOL PLOUGH goes about: a pageant consisting of a number of sword dancers dragging a plough, with music; one, sometimes two, in very strange attire; the Bessy, in the grotesque habit of an old woman, and the Fool, almost covered with skins, a hairy cap on, and the tail of some animal hanging from his back. The office of one of these characters, in which he is very assiduous, is to go about rattling a box amongst the spectators of the dance, in which he receives their little donations.

Well, maybe not directly back to work. Personally, I'd rather be molly dancing. What is that, you ask?

“Molly dancing” traditionally only appeared during the depths of winter and is regarded by many people as the East Anglian form of Morris dancing. It is characterized by blackened faces, heavy boots (usually hobnailed) and the presence of a "Lord" and a "Lady", two of the men specially attired respectively as a gentleman and his consort, who lead the dances. Blackening faces was a form of disguise, since the dancers could not afford to be recognised. Some of those people from whom they had demanded money with menaces would have been their employers. Molly dancing is by nature robust and, some would say, aggressive. These qualities are emphasised by the sound of the hobnailed boots worn by the dancers, which were the normal form of footwear for farm workers in the East of England right up until the second half of the twentieth century. (Information courtesy alexandersanders.)

On a promising note, and according to the Olde Farmer's Almanac: “In the evening, each farmer provided a Plough Monday supper for his workers, with plentiful beef and ale for all.

They could do worse.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Christus Mansionem Benedicat!

VIDEO: A 2008 performance of "March of the Kings" ("Marche Des Rois") by Nowell Sing We Clear (Tony Barrand, Fred Breunig, Andy Davis and John Roberts) at Latchis Theater, Brattleboro, Vermont.

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The Blessing of the Entrance to the House (“Chalking the Door”)

At the Mass for the Day, the faithful are given chalk that has been blessed by the priest, as well as special holy water known as "Epiphany water." The blessing for it, which takes place only for this occasion, is to be found in the traditional Rituale Romanum, and includes a prayer of exorcism. The blessed chalk and the holy water are then taken home, to be used that evening.

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We begin with the Sign of the Cross, and the words of Psalm 71(72) "Deus, judicium":

Give the King your justice, O God,
    and your righteousness to the King's son;

That he may rule your people righteously
    and the poor with justice.

That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people,
    and the little hills bring righteousness.

He shall defend the needy among the people;
    he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.

He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure,
    from one generation to another.

He shall come down like rain upon the mown field,
    like showers that water the earth.

In his time shall the righteous flourish;
    there shall be abundance of peace
        till the moon shall be no more.

He shall rule from sea to sea,
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.

His foes shall bow down before him,
    and his enemies lick the dust.

The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute,
    and the kings of Arabia and Saba offer gifts.

All kings shall bow down before him,
    and all the nations do him service.

For he shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress,
    and the oppressed who has no helper.

He shall have pity on the lowly and poor;
    he shall preserve the lives of the needy.

He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence,
    and dear shall their blood be in his sight.

Long may he live!
    and may there be given to him gold from Arabia;
        may prayer be made for him always,
            and may they bless him all the day long.

May there be abundance of grain on the earth,
    growing thick even on the hilltops;
        may its fruit flourish like Lebanon,
            and its grain like grass upon the earth.

May his Name remain for ever
    and be established as long as the sun endures;
        may all the nations bless themselves in him
            and call him blessed.

Blessed be the Lord GOD, the God of Israel,
    who alone does wondrous deeds!

And blessed be his glorious Name for ever!
    and may all the earth be filled with his glory.


Then one who is the Officiant says the following prayer:

Lord God of Heaven and Earth, who hast revealed thine only-begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star: Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill them with the light of Christ, that their love for others may truly reflect thy love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

If necessary, the Officiant or another steps up onto a chair or stepladder, and with a piece of blessed chalk, writes over the entrance to the house.

“Christus ...” (“May Christ ...”)


“Mansionem ...” (“this dwelling ...”)

          C      M

“Benedicat.” (“... bless.”)

          C      M      B

“In the coming year ...”

20      C      M      B

“... and in the years to come.”

20      C      M      B      17

“In the name of the Father ...”

20  +  C      M      B      17

“and of the Son ...”

20  +  C  +  M      B      17

“... and of the Holy Spirit.”

20  +  C  +  M  +  B      17

Everyone responds: “Amen.”

20  +  C  +  M  +  B  +  17

The doorway is sprinkled with Holy Water blessed for the Epiphany. The inscription is to be removed on the Feast of Pentecost.

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For those who require "the short form," there is this one from the Church of Saint Mary in Clifton Heights, New York. On those nights when the weather is particularly inclement, one can simply read from the Gospel of John while inscribing over the door ...

In the beginning was the Word, (inscribe 2)

and the Word was with God, (inscribe 0)

and the Word was God. (inscribe +)

He was in the beginning with God. (inscribe C)

All things came to be through him, (inscribe +)

and without him nothing came to be. (inscribe M)

And the Word became flesh (inscribe +)

and made his dwelling among us, (inscribe B)

and we saw his glory, (inscribe +)

the glory as of the Father’s only Son, (inscribe 1)

full of grace and truth. (inscribe 7)

… then with the Holy Water, making the sign of the cross three times over the entrance, proclaiming “Christus ... Mansionem ... Benedicat” and calling it a night.

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This day is remembered throughout the world by various names. In many parts of Europe, Epiphany retains its distinction as "Little Christmas." Among the Greek Orthodox, the waters of the harbor are blessed by the local priest. In Spanish-speaking countries, it is known as “Dia de los Tres Reyes” (“Day of the Three Kings”). There are parades on the main street, such as this one in Madrid, Spain.

Although we know the "kings" were not actually royalty at all, but scholars in astronomy and other sciences who came from Persia, tradition has associated Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar (their names as rendered in the apocryphal gospel accounts) as representing the Orient, Arabia, and Africa, the three great land masses of the known world in the first millennium.

As with the eve of Saint Nicholas Day in parts of western Europe, children in the Hispanic world are known to leave their shoes out and receive candy and other treats by the next morning. In Spain, children traditionally received presents on this day, rather than on Christmas, although recent years have seen both Christmas and Epiphany as a time for gift-giving.

I just love parades.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Christ-Mass: Twelfth Night

When I was growing up back in Ohio, the village of Milford had their own way of disposing of old Christmas trees. They would be collected and taken to some field at the edge of town, stacked in a big pile, and "Twelfth Night" would be celebrated with the lighting of a bonfire dubbed the "yule log."

This is remarkable when you consider that Milford is a town first settled by (and more than two centuries later, is still more or less dominated by) Methodists and not "Catlickers." (Here we note that Protestants in the northern states did not celebrate Christmas until well into the 19th century. Indeed, it was outlawed by the northern colonies in the early years of European settlement. The southern states, on the other hand ...) Of course, my parents -- may God rest their souls -- didn't go for that sort of ribaldry, so I never actually saw it, but I would always read about it that week in the local rag known as The Milford Advertiser.

These days, I imagine people would have a hard time penciling it in between trips to soccer practice and PTA meetings. In fact, since leaving the Buckeye State to seek my fortune elsewhere, I learned that the town has yielded to other priorities, as in this little gem I read a few years ago, from the county's Office of Environmental Quality:

“Many recycled trees are sent through a wood chipper and are used as mulch.”

They have got to be kidding. That kills the holiday magic right there. Then again, why celebrate the glory of the season, when you can spend the rest of the year spreading it on your lawn and walking all over it?

Meanwhile, here at Chez Alexandre, we will celebrate Epiphany on the traditional day all along. Tomorrow the lights that are traditionally left on all during Christmastide, will finally be shut off in the evening and taken down. They will be put back in storage along with the decorations, waiting for the season to return.

Last of all, the dying tree is sent to its final resting place -- in the years that we actually have a live tree, which we didn't this year ... but that's another story.

Joy, health, love and peace
Be all here in this place
By your leave we will sing
Concerning our King.

Our King is well dressed
In silks of the best
In ribbons so rare
No King can compare.

We have traveled many miles
Over hedges and stiles
In search of our King
Unto you we bring.

We have powder and shot
To conquer the lot
We have cannon and ball
To conquer them all.

Old Christmas
    is past
    is the last

And we bid
    you adieu
Great joy
    to the new.

(H/T to Steeleye Span.)

Christ-Mass: Day 12 (St Telesphorus/St John Neumann)

“On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming ...”

It is ironic that the last day of Christmastide should be anti-clamatic, if only for the day itself. The highlight comes later in the day. Meanwhile ...

The reformed Roman calendar honors Saint John Nepomucene Neumann, a native of Bohemia and Redemptorist priest who was appointed Bishop of Philadelphia in the mid-19th century, and who was a key figure in spreading the Faith to an ever-expanding United States of America.

In the traditional Roman calendar, Mother Church remembers Pope Saint Telesphorus, elected Bishop of Rome in 126, and martyred ten years later. It is said that the tradition of celebrating Mass on Christmas at Midnight, the celebration of Easter on Sundays, the keeping of a seven-week Lent before Easter, and the singing of the Gloria, all are attributed to his pontificate, but the historical accuracy of these claims are in doubt.

Tonight, a season ends, and tomorrow, a new one begins. Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Christ-Mass: Day 11 (St Elizabeth Ann Seton)

“On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eleven pipers piping ...”

As the end of Christmastide draws near, life begins to turn to normal. The trees are taken down and are sitting on the curb, the usual workday routine begins again, and commercials for "holiday sales," having been extended just beyond the first day of the new year, are heard no longer. Meanwhile ...

Today is the feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the foundress of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph, the mother of the Nation's parochial school system, and patroness of Catholic schools. Canonized a saint by Pope Paul VI in 1975, she was the first native-born American to be raised to the altar.

From the original motherhouse in Emmitsburg, Maryland, a branch house was established out west, known today as the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, based at Mount Saint Joseph-on-the-Ohio, located on the city's once-predominantly Catholic west side. This order did much to build, not only the parochial school system in this part of the Midwest through their teaching apostolate, but the health care system as well, through the establishment of Good Samaritan Hospital in 1852.

Concerning the role of women Religious and the health care apostolate, much has changed in recent years, to say the least. In light of the current health care legislation signed into law in the United States, and the capitulation by "leaders" of women religious orders, in forcing others to cooperate in acts against the Gospel of Life, let us pause for a moment to consider the irony.

And the exception.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Christ-Mass: Day 10 (St Geneviève)

“On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, ten lords a-leaping ...”

It is also the day that both the Eastern and Western churches remember the French shepherd girl Saint Geneviève, who lived in the mid- and late- fifth century. Her sanctity was noted at a very early age by Saint Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, who consecrated her to God at the age of seven. Genevieve is patroness of the city of Paris, which has been saved through her intercession more than once, the first time from her contemporary, Attila the Hun.

Geneviève loved to pray in church alone at night. On one such occasion, a gust of wind came into the church and blew out her candle, leaving her in darkness. She attributed this act of nature to the Evil One himself, that he was trying to frighten her. Thus she is often pictured as she is here, holding a candle. Other images show an irritated devil standing nearby.

In more than a decade of this weblog's existence, her commemoration has been a popular one. Don't ask me why.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Christ-Mass: Day 9 (The Holy Name of Jesus)

“On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, nine ladies dancing ...”

The traditional Roman calendar associates this day with the Holy Name of Jesus. It used to be associated with the day before, with the Feast of the Circumcision. (In fact, the Gospel reading for both feasts is identical.) Then in 1913, Pope Pius X moved it to the Sunday between the second and the fifth January inclusive, and in years when no such Sunday existed, to be observed on the second of January. Don't ask me why.

Historically, the observance of this feast has been all over the place until nearly one hundred years ago. The circumcision of a newborn male under Jewish law must take place eight days after the child's birth, at which time he is given his name. Small wonder, then, that the Gospel readings for both feasts in the traditional Roman calendar are the same. Some Western traditions, such as Anglican and Lutheran, celebrate both on the first of January, as did the Roman for quite some time -- you know, being the eighth day and all.

And speaking of names ...

I once heard a comedian pose this important theological question: “If Jesus was Jewish, why did He have an Hispanic name?” That occasion aside, it gives us an occasion of our own, to consider that the name "Jesus" was not an uncommon one in His day. Brian Palmer writes for Slate:

Many people shared the name. Christ's given name, commonly Romanized as Yeshua, was quite common in first-century Galilee. (Jesus comes from the transliteration of Yeshua into Greek and then English.) Archaeologists have unearthed the tombs of 71 Yeshuas from the period of Jesus' death. The name also appears 30 times in the Old Testament in reference to four separate characters -- including a descendant of Aaron who helped to distribute offerings of grain (2 Chronicles 31:15) and a man who accompanied former captives of Nebuchadnezzar back to Jerusalem (Ezra 2:2) ...

How would Christ have been addressed by those around him?

Certainly not as "Mister Christ." In fact, "Christ" was not a name, but an honorific, a title if you will, from the Greek Khristós for "anointed one." The Hebrew word was Moshiach or "Messiah." He would have been known by His given name, and the name of His father -- “Yeshua bar Yehosef” or “Jesus Son of Joseph.” In later centuries (or in present-day Iceland), we might easily surmise His having been addressed as “Jesus Josephson.”

We also know that He eventually left Nazareth in Galilee, the town of His childhood, for other parts of that country, as well as Samaria and Judea. In those places, He would have been just as likely addressed as “Yeshua Nasraya” or “Jesus of Nazareth.” We know this from Scripture, as this was the inscription on the Cross, which gave both His name and His offense, in three languages: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” (actually, “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum” in Latin, “Ihsoûs ó Nazoraîos ó Basileùs tôn ’Ioudaìov” in Greek, and “Yeshua HaNazarei v Melech HaYehudim” in Hebrew). After all, a guy from a hick town like Nazareth would have been rather conspicuous in a high-falutin' place like Jerusalem, especially outside of the High Holydays.

The Scriptures also record him being addressed as “Jesus Son of David.” A man would also have been known for his extended family; that is, his tribe or house, as in “Yeshua ben David” or “Jesus of the House of David.” Or so I've read. But even though family lineage was everything in Jewish society, such an address was not as common in everyday use.

Or so I've read.

Devotion to the Holy Name has also been the inspiration for the National Association of the Holy Name Society. HNS chapters have been the basis for men's clubs in Catholic parishes for generations.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Christ-Mass: Day 8 (Circumcision/St Basil)

“On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eight maids a-milking ...”

The world knows it as New Year's Day. Our holy Mother Church knows it by many names.

First and foremost, it is the “Octave-day” or eighth day of Christmastide. Such was its name in the earliest liturgical books, thus remembered as the day of Circumcision, when a son of Israel was marked according to the Law. (It hurts just thinking about it.) In both forms of the Roman Rite, the brief account from Luke is proclaimed:

At that time, after eight days were accomplished, that the Child should be circumcised: His Name was called Jesus, which was called by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. (2:21)

In the reformed Missal, the day is primarily known as the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. While appearing as a break in tradition, it is a reminder of the Marian emphasis of the Feast, as found even in the orations of the pre-conciliar Missal. It was the tradition in Rome, that the Pope would go to one of the many churches in the city, whichever was the "Station" for that particular feast -- in the case of this one, the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.

But wait, there is one more...

In the East, today is known not only for the Circumcision, but as the Feast of Saint Basil the Great, bishop of Caesarea in the fourth century, and one of the great Fathers of the Eastern Church. Today is when the Greeks would traditionally exchange gifts. For many years, when I couldn't meet with Paul for Christmas (and as he was raised in the Byzantine Rite of his mother), I would make an occasion of this day.

With all that arcane information, you still have to admit that four names for one day is a lot. And to think the year is just getting started.