Collect: Patrick, Bishop and Missionary of Ireland, 461 (Mar 17)

May we come at last to the light of everlasting life.


St. Patrick Icon

Patrick was born into a Christian family somewhere on the northwest coast of Britain in about 390. His grandfather had been a Christian priest and his father, Calpornius, a deacon. Calpornius was an important official in the late Roman imperial government of Britain. It was not unusual in this post-Constantinian period for such state officials to be in holy orders. When Patrick was about sixteen, he was captured by a band of Irish slave-raiders. He was carried off to Ireland and forced to serve as a shepherd. When he was about twenty-one, he escaped and returned to Britain, where he was educated as a Christian. He tells us that he took holy orders as both presbyter and bishop, although no particular see is known as his at this time. A vision then called him to return to Ireland. This he did about the year 431.

Tradition holds that Patrick landed not far from the place of his earlier captivity, near what is now known as Downpatrick (a “down” or “dun” is a fortified hill, the stronghold of a local Irish king). He then began a remarkable process of missionary conversion throughout the country that continued until his death, probably in 461.

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Holy Women, Holy Men

The Collect for the Commemoration

Almighty God, in your providence you chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of you: Grant us so to walk in that light that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

May we respond to God’s answer of our prayer and walk as children of the light.  ~Fr. Dan

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

The Antonine Plague and the Spread of Christianity

Did a plague influence the spread of Christianity?

This post originally appeared in the “Classical Corner” column of the Bible History Daily

Quote . . .The year was 166 C.E., and the Roman Empire was at the zenith of its power. The triumphant Roman legions, under the command of Emperor Lucius Verrus, returned to Rome victorious after having defeated their Parthian enemies on the eastern border of the Roman Empire. As they marched west toward Rome, they carried with them more than the spoils of plundered Parthian temples; they also carried an epidemic that would ravage the Roman Empire over the course of the next two decades, an event that would inexorably alter the landscape of the Roman world. The Antonine Plague, as it came to be known, would reach every corner of the empire and is what most likely claimed the life of Lucius Verrus himself in 169—and possibly that of his co-emperor Marcus Aurelius in 180. Read the entire post on Bible History Daily

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How would you portray the face of Jesus?

Once again we find the intersection of art and faith to be both interesting and challenging. Watch this short video of one priest’s quest over the years to seek the face of Jesus:

The video is part of a story on Religion News Service: The Many Faces of Jesus. What do you think?

The Last Supper by Giorgio Vasari

A 50 year work of love to restore art for generations to come,.

The Last Supper. Giorgio Vasari

This originally appeared in the March/April edition of Biblical Archeology Review, p. 12

Begin quoteAfter 50 years, The Last Supper is back on display at the Santa Croce Basilica in Florence.

In 1966, a massive flood filled Florence with water, mud, sewage and debris. The flood wreaked havoc on many of the city’s structures and works of art, including The Last Supper by the Italian Renaissance artist Giorgio Vasari. Measuring 21 by 8 feet, The Last Supper is composed of five panels and dates to 1546. It portrays Jesus’ final Passover meal with his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion. During the flood, the painting—then displayed at the Santa Croce Basilica— was covered with water and mud for more than 12 hours.

When rescuers were finally able to reach the painting, they did their best to stabilize and preserve it, but the damage had already been done. Without the proper technology to restore the painting at that time, they packed up its panels and put them in storage. The painting waited there for 44 years until finally the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (Workshop of Semi-precious Stones), a conservation laboratory in Florence, undertook the feat of restoring it in 2010. The cracked, broken and damaged painting was slowly returned to its original state with the help of a three-year grant from the Getty Foundation as well as with the aid of Prada and the Protezione Civile (Italy’s Department of Civil Protection).

After several years, their work is complete, and The Last Supper can be seen once again at Santa Croce Basilica. Further, to prevent damage from future flooding, a new safety system has been put in place. If the structure should flood again, two winches will lift the painting above the flood line. The system is activated by pushing a button and requires no electricity, so the painting will be secure even if there is a power outage.


Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep Learning.

Christ in the Desert

Wilderness. Temptations. Angels.

Christ in the desert by Ivan Kramskoi

Here is a link to our post of Christ in the Desert (Kramkoi) from March 3, 2014 (Lent 1A). The post features commentary by our Forum Member, Hovak Najarian.


First Sunday in Lent

Exploring our faith through the arts.

Christ in the desert by Ivan Kramskoi

Every year Loyola Press on the web offers Arts & Faith, “celebrating your creative expressions of faith.” Arts & Faith: Lent is among the offerings. Here is the introduction to the Year A presentations of Arts & Faith: Lent…

Enter into a visual prayer experience this Lent with Arts & Faith: Lent. Each week we’ll provide a video commentary about a work of art inspired by the Sunday Scriptures. Use these videos to take a new look at this season of spiritual renewal through the lens of sacred art.


Commentary is by Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, assistant professor of liturgy, catechesis, and evangelization at Loyola University New Orleans. She holds a bachelor’s degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s degree in liturgy from St. John’s University in Collegeville, a master’s degree in religion and the arts from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in theology and education from Boston College. Her unique background in faith and art brings to life a new way of observing Lent and understanding the season on a more personal level.

Christ in the desert by Ivan Kramkoi is the meditation for the First Sunday in Lent. I encourage you to use this internet resource during your Lenten Journey in 2017. ~Fr. Dan

Read the transcript of this video on Loyola Press.

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Image: Pinterst Page for the art of Ivan Kramkoi


Collect: John and Charles Wesley, Priests, 1791, 1788 (Mar 3)

“I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation….”


John and Charles Wesley

John was the fifteenth, and Charles the eighteenth, child of Samuel Wesley, Rector of Epworth, Lincolnshire. John was born June 17, 1703, and Charles, December 18, 1707.

The lives and fortunes of the brothers were closely intertwined. As founders and leaders of the “Methodist” or evangelical revival in eighteenth-century England, their continuing influence redounds throughout the world and is felt in many Churches.

Although their theological writings and sermons are still widely appreciated, it is through their hymns—especially those of Charles, who wrote over six thousand of them—that their religious experience, and their Christian faith and life, continue to affect the hearts of many.

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Holy Women, Holy Men

The Collect for the Commemoration

Lord God, you inspired your servants John and Charles Wesley with burning zeal for the sanctification of souls, and endowed them with eloquence in speech and song: Kindle in your Church, we entreat you, such fervor, that those whose faith has cooled may be warmed, and those who have not known Christ may turn to him and be saved; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Collect used in worship can be both a prayer of intercession and petition. In this Collect we are clearly praying for others (“Kindle in your Church”), it is a prayer of intercession. However, you and I are members of this Church, so we are praying for ourselves, it can be a prayer of petition. Recognizing this as a prayer for the whole church, I find it useful (almost always) to focus on the Collect as a prayer of petition. Here, I am asking this: “Kindle in me—a member of your Church, Lord God—such fervor, that those whose faith has cooled may be warmed, and those who have not known Christ may turn to him and be saved.” As I join other Church members in this prayer and this mission, I believe God will be glorified. And you? ~Fr. Dan

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Image: Holy Women, Holy Men