Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Happy Belated Birthday, Fr. Ray Blake
Last month when I was looking at Fr. Blake's archives, I came across a post where Father Blake lamented that his birthdate (so he thought) fell on a bad day - the death of Catholic England, when Mary Ist died (Nov. 17, 1588) and was succeeded by her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth the first. Father noted that he usually kept this day as a fast day, and also said that there was other unhappy news of that day because the Bolshevik party was also created on that day in 1903. I'm happy to report that the good Father can have his birthday back.
I've always been fascinated by various calendar systems, and it occurred to me then that Father forgot to take into account the fact that Mary I's death date was by the JULIAN calendar and Father's Birthday is dated on the GREGORIAN calendar, England changing to the Gregorian calendar in the 1750s. He also doesn't have to worry about his birthday coinciding with the birth date of Bolshevism -- the Russkies were still on the Julian calendar until 1918.
I'm sorry I was having one of those "but other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play" weeks last week, otherwise I'd have mentioned it on Saturday, and he could have had a piece of cake and reclaimed his birthday as a happy occasion. He deserves it, because he's an all around good guy. Remember that next year, okay Father? Instead of playing songs in minor keys, think of this one.
On a more serious note, Fr. Blake has a fine sensitivity in remembering those around the world who are persecuted and sometimes killed for practicing their faith. He frequently mentions them in his blog.
This past Sunday night, I was speaking with our two young altar servers after Mass, and was telling them that at times when it is hard for them to remain focused on the sermon (our priest gives rather long sermons, and not always ones that a 10 year old can follow) to please say a prayer for people who live in countries where people can be killed for going to Mass. This was news to them.
I'm afraid that in our western societies nowadays children (and often adults) don't stop to thank God they live in a place where they can worship God in peace. Is there a good prayer a young person can say specifically to pray for the persecuted? If Father Blake has one, or anyone else for that matter, I'd appreciated it. I'd sure like to pass it along. If Father would like to come up with one, I'd be grateful.