Today is the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is also the Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr (died 754), and the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated Friday, June 5, 2015 as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Protection from Storms. Today is also the birthday of my Internet friend Jean in California (1968).
The First Friday of each month is dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Turning to today’s Saint, he was born about 673-680 at Crediton, Devonshire, and was educated at the Benedictine monastery at Exeter, England, where he became a Benedictine monk. Starting in 719 he became a missionary to Germany, assisted by Saint Albinus, Saint Abel, and Saint Agatha. They destroyed idols and pagan temples, and then built churches on the sites. In 723 Boniface encountered a tribe worshiping a Norse deity in the form of a huge oak tree. Boniface walked up to the tree, removed his shirt, took up an axe, and without a word he hacked down the six foot wide wooden god. Boniface stood on the trunk, and asked, “How stands your mighty god? My God is stronger than he.” The crowd’s reaction was mixed, but some conversions were begun. Boniface was made Bishop, and then Archbishop of Mainz. He reformed the churches in his see and built religious houses in Germany, along with founding or restoring the dioceses of Bavaria, Thuringia, and Franconia. He also made three trips to Rome to confer with the Pope. He had the support of Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne, in his evangelizing efforts in Germany. He then evangelized in Holland, but was set upon by a troop of pagans, and he and 52 of his new flock, including Saint Adaler and Saint Eoban, were martyred at Dokkum, Freisland (modern Netherlands). He is the Patron Saint of the city of Fulda, Germany, of the country of Germany, and co-Patron Saint of England with Saint Augustine of Canterbury and Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne. The Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated Friday, June 6, 2014 as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Protection from Storms. We thus note the following prayers, which are appropriate to say during this Hurricane Season:
Prayer for Protection against Storms and Hurricanes
O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of your children. The Sea of Galilee obeyed your order and returned to its former quietude; you are still the Master of land and sea. We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control. The Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land and spread chaos and disaster. During this hurricane season, we turn to You, O loving Father. Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with the passing of time. O Virgin, Star of the Sea, Our Beloved Mother, we ask you to plead with your Son in our behalf, so that spared from the calamities common to this area and animated with a true spirit of gratitude, we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son to reach the heavenly Jerusalem where a storm-less eternity awaits us. Amen.
Most Rev. Maurice Schexnayder (1895 – 1981) Second Bishop of Lafayette
Other Prayers for Hurricane Season
Our Father in Heaven, through the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, spare us during this Hurricane season from all harm. Protect us and our homes from all disasters of nature. Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer to Avert Storms and Hurricanes
Father, all the elements of nature obey your command. Calm the storms and hurricanes that threaten us and turn our fear of your power into praise of your goodness. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Today is also the birthday of my Internet friend Jean in California (1968).
Last night before I went to bed I double-checked, and I have enough of all of my medications (prescription, OTC vitamins, what have you) to cover me through Saturday of next week (not counting the one I needed to get on Friday).
When I woke up to get ready for work my contact lenses were bothering me, so I opted to wear my glasses today. I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Eighth Day of my Corpus Christi Novena. Once we clocked in at the casino, Richard was on Mini Baccarat. I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, except for one rotation when I changed Blackjack cards in our High Stakes pit. I filled out my United Health Care Survey on my breaks. I also reviewed my Ministry for the Dying information packet from St. Pius X Church in Lafayette. They have a phone line set up that anyone can call, if that someone knows of someone who is dying or in imminent danger of death within 24 hours. Once someone calls the line and gives information about the person who is dying (the first name, although one can say John (Doe) or Jane (Doe), if one sees an accident with fatalities and doesn’t know the person’s name), and the phone line will send a text message to all volunteers for the line to let them know that a volunteer needs to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet for that person. If a volunteer is available and can start saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet within the next ten minutes, that volunteer will send a text back saying “[my name] will pray for [the dying person’s name]”, so that the phone line knows that someone is covering praying for that person. It’s a great resource, but I don’t feel that I could be a volunteer, as I don’t do the Catholic prayers that I ought to do now. So, I will send the packet up to Liz Ellen, and let her decide if she is interested in being a volunteer to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the dying. I also called the Pharmacy to make sure that they had the Sodium Bicarbonate 650 mg tablets on hand (they did).
After work we went to the Pharmacy, and I got my Sodium Bicarbonate 650 mg tablets. On our way home I continued reading The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith. Once we got home I put the survey for UNC out in the mail, ate my lunch salad, and read the morning paper while Richard mowed the grass. Our Snail Mail brought me my National Parks Travelers Club Certificate for the National Parks I went to in 2014. I then took a nap until about 4:30 pm, when I got on the computer. Liz Ellen had sent me an Email needing to know how to get her birth certificate, so I researched that and sent the results of my research to her in a return Email. I also got our schedules for the week after next from the casino scheduling site. (I get the schedule for my co-worker Sue as well, and text it to her; I’ve been doing that since they used to post the schedule outside of the shift office, and I don’t mind continuing to do so, as every year before we go on vacation she gives us a $25.00 McDonald’s gift card.) Richard made me grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, and I did today’s Daily Update. And I did not do any First Friday devotions.
Tomorrow is the First Saturday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Optional Memorial of Saint Norbert, Bishop. It is also the date of the annual Belmont Stakes, the third and penultimate race in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown (and this year, we might just have a Triple Crown winner). On my breaks at work (and on my way home) I plan to finish reading The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith. Once home from work I will eat a lunch salad while reading the paper, then go to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. When I get home I will take a nap; when I wake up (perhaps in time to see the running of the Belmont) I will start packing my carry-on bag for our trip, do my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith, and doing my Daily Update. And tomorrow evening at the NCAA Baseball Tournament Super Regional in Baton Rouge, our #1 ranked LSU Tigers will play the Ragin Cajuns of UL-Lafayette, with a second game on Sunday and a third game (if necessary) on Monday. I will not be doing my First Saturday devotions or going to Mass.
Our Parting Quote this Friday afternoon comes to us from Ray Bradbury, American fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction writer. Born in 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois, through his ancestor Mary Bradbury (died 1700), who was sentenced to be hung during the 1692 Salem witch trials but whose sentence was never carried out, he was related to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Humphrey Bogart, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Millard Fillmore. Between 1926 and 1933 the Bradbury family moved back and forth between Waukegan and Tucson, Arizona. In 1931, at age eleven, young Bradbury began writing his own stories, sometimes on butcher paper. In 1934 the family settled in Los Angeles, when young Bradbury, who loved movies, was fourteen. He would sneak into the Uptown Theater to watch previews, and would roller-skate around town picking up autographs from film stars. Bradbury’s first pay as a writer was at the age of fourteen, when George Burns hired him to write for the Burns and Allen show. At this time he was writing stories based on Edgar Allen Poe and Edgar Rice Burroughs; after listening to the radio show Chandu the Magician every night, he would write out the entire script from memory. In high school Bradbury was active in both the Poetry Club and the Drama club, initially planning to become an actor but becoming serious about his writing as his high school years progressed. In 1936, at a secondhand bookstore in Hollywood, Bradbury discovered a handbill promoting meetings of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society. Thrilled to find there were others with his interests, at the age of sixteen Bradbury joined a weekly Thursday-night conclave. He graduated from high school, but did not attend college; he sold newspapers and went to the library three days a week. His first published story was “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma”, which appeared in the January 1938 number of Forrest J. Ackerman’s fanzine Imagination!. In 1939 Bradbury joined Laraine Day’s Wilshire Players Guild where for two years he wrote and acted in several plays, which were so bad he gave up playwriting for twenty years. Bradbury’s first paid piece, “Pendulum,” written with Henry Hasse, was published in the pulp magazine Super Science Stories in November 1941, for which he earned $15. His bad eyesight kept him out of the military during World War II. By late 1942 he was making a living selling stories to science fiction magazines. His first collection of short stories, Dark Carnival, was published in 1947 by Arkham House, a small press in Sauk City, Wisconsin, owned by writer August Derleth. In 1949 he collected several related stories into The Martian Chronicles (published 1950). Fahrenheit 451 came out in 1953. Bradbury was hired in 1953 by director John Huston to work on the screenplay for his film version of Melville’s Moby Dick (1956), which starred Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, Richard Basehart as Ishmael, and Orson Welles as Father Mapple. A significant result of the film was Bradbury’s 1992 book Green Shadows, White Whale, a semi-fictionalized account of the making of the film, including Bradbury’s dealings with Huston and his time in Ireland, where exterior scenes that were set in New Bedford, Massachusetts, were filmed. Something Wicked This Way Comes was published in 1962. Oskar Werner and Julie Christie starred in Fahrenheit 451 (1966), an adaptation of Bradbury’s novel directed by François Truffaut. Starting in January 1967 Fahrenheit 451 was subject to expurgation by its publisher, Ballantine Books with the release of the “Bal-Hi Edition” aimed at high school students. Among the changes made by the publisher were the censorship of the words “hell”, “damn”, and “abortion”; the modification of seventy-five passages; and the changing of two episodes. In the one case, a drunk man became a “sick man”, while in the other case cleaning fluff out of a human navel became “cleaning ears”. For a while both the censored and uncensored versions were available concurrently, but by 1973 Ballantine was publishing only the censored Bal-Hi edition. When Bradbury found out about the expurgated edition in 1979 (quite by accident), he demanded that Ballantine Books withdraw that version and replace it with the original, and in 1980 the original version once again became available. Considering that Fahrenheit 451 deals with censorship, Bradbury found the whole episode quite ironic. Bradbury received a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement at the 1977 World Fantasy Convention and was named Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy at the 1980 World Science Fiction Convention. In the 1980s Bradbury concentrated on detective fiction. From 1985 to 1992 Bradbury hosted a syndicated anthology television series, The Ray Bradbury Theater, for which he adapted 65 of his stories. Bradbury suffered a stroke in 1999 that left him partially dependent on a wheelchair for mobility. Despite this he continued to write. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Bradbury was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 1, 2002, and 0n November 17, 2004, Bradbury was the recipient of the National Medal of Arts, presented by President George W. Bush and Laura Bush. In 2005 it was reported that Bradbury was upset with filmmaker Michael Moore for using the title Fahrenheit 9/11, which is an allusion to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, for his documentary about the George W. Bush administration. Moore called Bradbury two weeks before the film’s release to apologize, saying that the film’s marketing had been set in motion a long time ago and it was too late to change the title. On April 16, 2007, Bradbury received a special citation from The Pulitzer Board, “for his distinguished, prolific, and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.” Bradbury made regular appearances at science fiction conventions until 2009, when he retired from the circuit. When the publishing rights for Fahrenheit 451 came up for renewal in December 2011, Bradbury conceded that the work could be published in an electronic form — provided that the publisher, Simon & Schuster, allowed the e-book to be digitally downloaded by any library patron. The title remains the only book in the Simon & Schuster catalog where this is possible (died 2012): “The problem in our country isn’t with books being banned, but with people no longer reading. Look at the magazines, the newspapers around us – it’s all junk, all trash, tidbits of news. The average TV ad has 120 images a minute. Everything just falls off your mind. […] You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”