Daily Update: Saturday, June 13th, 2015

Immaculate Heart of Mary and Anthony of Padua and Coushatta Pow Wow 2015

Today is the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor, and the second day of the two-day annual Coushatta Pow Wow.

On this Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, always held the day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in reference to her interior life, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, for her virginal love for her God, her maternal love for her Son, Jesus, and her compassionate love for all people. The consideration of Mary’s interior life and the beauties of her soul is part of the traditional devotion, as is the consideration of the Heart of Mary as a part of her physical virginal body. The two elements are essential to the devotion, just as, according to Roman Catholic theology, soul and body are necessary to the constitution of man. Devotional practices towards the Immaculate Heart of Mary became common in the late eleventh or early twelfth century. In the 18th and 19th centuries the devotions grew, both jointly and individually; in 1855 the Mass of the Most Pure Heart formally became a part of Catholic practice. Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1944 to be celebrated on August 22, thus replacing the traditional octave day of the Assumption. In 1969 Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the day (Saturday) immediately after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This means in practice that it is now held on the day before the third Sunday after Pentecost, and is the last feast day of the church year that depends, ultimately, on the date of Easter (the moveable feast par excellence). Today’s Saint was born as  Fernando Martins de Bulhões in 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal; his wealthy family wanted him to be a great nobleman, but against the wishes of his family he entered the Augustinian Abbey of St. Vincent on the outskirts of Lisbon in 1211, when he was 16 years old. The Canons Regular of St. Augustine, of which he was a member, were famous for their dedication to scholarly pursuits; while there, he studied Scripture and the Latin classics. He became a priest; after his ordination, he was placed in charge of hospitality in his abbey. In this role, in 1219, he came in contact with five Franciscans who were on their way to Morocco to preach to the Muslims there. He was strongly attracted to the simple Gospel lifestyle of the Franciscan friars; in February 1220, when news arrived that the five Franciscans had been martyred in Morocco, he was moved to leave his order, enter the Friars Minor (taking the name of Anthony), and leave for Morocco to evangelize. Shipwrecked on the coast of Sicily, he made his way to Assisi and sought admission into a monastery in Italy, but met with difficulty on account of his sickly appearance. He joined a rural hospice at San Paolo and was assigned to work in the kitchen; he would leave only to attend Mass and sweep the nearby monastery. One day when a misunderstanding arose as to who was to be the speaker at an ordination, the head of the rural hermitage selected Anthony as being the least unqualified to speak. He impressed them so much that he was thereafter constantly traveling, evangelizing, preaching, and teaching theology for the Order through Italy and France. A gifted speaker, he attracted crowds everywhere he went, speaking in multiple tongues; legend says that even the fish loved to listen. A miracle worker, and one of the most beloved of saints, his images and statues are found everywhere. He was canonized by Pope Gregory IX less than one year after his death (very nearly the fastest canonization in history) and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1946. He is the Patron Saint of Portugal and of Brazil, of American Indians, and of swineherds, those in the travel industry, and amputees; his aid is invoked against shipwreck, and his aid is invoked to find lost articles (for many years, I thought the Trinity was Jesus, Mary, and St. Anthony, as my mother was always calling upon his aid). He is also the Patron Saint of my own Catholic parish. And the Twentieth Annual Coushatta Pow Wow, which began yesterday, ends today. The Pow Wow attracts participants from all over the United States, who come to compete, mingle, and have a good time. At one time the Pow Wow was held in October, but the date was changed so as not to conflict with other Pow Wows around the nation.

After the Pre-Shift Meeting (our Shift Manager had us draw names for the usual goodies, as brand new grandparents), we headed out to the casino floor to start our day. Richard first was on the second Pai Gow table, closed that table, was then on the Sit-Down Blackjack game, then was on Mini Baccarat for the rest of the shift. I was on Four Card Poker, then when that table closed I was the Relief Dealer for Sit-Down Blackjack, Blackjack, and Three Card Blackjack. On my breaks I did my Daily Update for yesterday, Friday, June 12th, 2015 via WordPress for Android, and worked on arranging my photos from our trip.

On our way home Richard was telling me about a problem he had had on his Pai Gow table regarding setting a straight incorrectly with the joker. In Pai Gow, the joker can be used to fill out a straight or flush; if it cannot be used to fill out a straight or flush, it is an ace. Richard said that the player had set his hand as 6, joker, 7, 8, 10, and that the hand could not be a straight because the joker was in the wrong place. He got upset with me, because that made no sense to me; to me, it does not matter where the joker is in the hand to fill out the straight. I then read the June 15th, 2015 issue of Sports illustrated. When we got home I set up my medications for next week (I have one prescription to renew on Monday), researched straights online, then read the morning paper. I then went to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. I started reading the June 8th – June 15th, 2015 issue of my Jesuit America magazine, but regrettably also did more research on straights (with and without the joker). When I got home, I told Richard that I was going to tell them at work that I cannot deal any more poker-based games, as I have been dealing for almost sixteen years with the given that a straight is a straight, so long as all the cards needed for a straight were in the hand (regardless of what order they are in on the table). Richard got mad at me for what he felt was me overreacting, but I really was spooked on the whole issue. He said that on further reflection that I was right and he was wrong, but I felt that he was just saying that to calm me down. I then took a nap for the rest of the day, and did not do my Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time; with no Saints to honor, we will note instead that tomorrow is Flag Day. Tomorrow is the last day of the pay period. On my breaks at work I will do my Daily Update via WordPress for Android, and continue arranging photos. In the afternoon I will catch up on stuff on the computer. And at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team will play TCU at 2:00 pm.

Our Parting Quote this Saturday afternoon comes from Tim Russert, American television journalist and lawyer. Born as Timothy Russert in 1950 in Buffalo, New York, he was educated at a Jesuit high school, received his B.A. in 1972 from John Carroll University (he claimed to have gone to the Woodstock music festival in 1969 “in a Buffalo Bills jersey with a case of beer”) and received a Juris Doctor with Honors degree from the Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1976. While in law school, an official from his undergraduate alma mater, John Carroll University, called Russert to ask if he could book some concerts for the school as he had done while a student. He agreed, but said he would need to be paid because he was running out of money to pay for law school. One concert that Russert booked was headlined by a then-unknown singer, Bruce Springsteen, who charged $2,500 for the concert appearance. Russert met journalist Maureen Orth at the 1976 Democratic National Convention. Upon graduation from law school he worked as a special counsel, and later as chief of staff, to U.S. Senator Daniel Moynihan, a Democrat from New York. In 1983 he became the counsel to New York Governor Mario Cuomo, also a Democrat, and married Orth in 1983 at the Basilica de San Miguel in Madrid, Spain. He was hired by NBC News’ Washington bureau the following year; in 1985 he made a promise to God to faithfully attend Sunday Mass if his son was born healthy (which he was). He became NBC New’s Washington bureau chief by 1989. Russert assumed the job of host of the Sunday morning program Meet the Press in 1991, and would become the longest serving host of the program. Its name was changed to Meet the Press with Tim Russert, and, at his suggestion, went to an hour-long format in 1992. The show also shifted to a greater focus on in-depth interviews with high profile guests, where Russert was known especially for his extensive preparatory research. One approach he developed was to find old quotes or video clips that were inconsistent with guests’ more recent statements, present them on-air to his guests and then ask them to clarify their positions. With Russert as host the show became increasingly popular, receiving more than four million viewers per week, and it was recognized as one of the most important sources of political news. Russert made a cameo appearance in 1995 on the critically acclaimed police dramaHomicide: Life on the Street. He played the cousin of fictional Baltimore homicide detective Megan Russert. He was mentioned by name again on the show in 1996, when it was said that he had introduced his “cousin” to a French diplomat, with whom she then went abroad. During NBC’s coverage of the 2000 presidential election, Russert calculated possible Electoral College outcomes using a whiteboard (now in the Smithsonian Institution) on the air and memorably summed up the outcome as dependent upon “Florida, Florida, Florida.” TV Guidedescribed the scene as “one of the 100 greatest moments in TV history.” Russert again accurately predicted the final battleground of the presidential elections of 2004: “Ohio, Ohio, Ohio.” Russert penned a best-selling autobiography, Big Russ and Me, in 2004, which chronicled his life growing up in the predominantly Irish American working-class neighborhood of South Buffalo and his education at Canisius High School. Russert’s father Timothy Joseph Russert, “Big Russ,” was a World War II veteran who held down two jobs after the war and emphasized the importance of maintaining strong family values, the reverence of faith, and never taking a short cut to reach a goal. Russert claimed to have received over 60,000 letters from people in response to the book, detailing their own experiences with their fathers. He released Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons in 2005, a collection of some of these letters. This book also became a best-seller. In the trial of Scooter Libby, the Chief of Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, over the Valerie Plame scandal, Russert was questioned in 2004 by prosecutors for only 12 minutes, but underwent more than five hours of pointed cross-examination over two days from defense attorney Theodore Wells Jr. Russert told prosecutors that he could not have told Libby about Plame because he had not heard of her until she was publicly revealed by journalist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003 as being a covert CIA officer, four days after Russert spoke with Libby by phone. Russert testified again in 2007. According to multiple news accounts of the trial, Russert’s testimony was key to Libby’s conviction or acquittal; Libby was convicted of the five counts against him in 2007. On the MSNBC show Tucker Russert predicted the battleground states of the 2008 presidential election would be New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada. Time magazine named Russert one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2008, and Russert often moderated political campaign debates. A lifelong fan of the Buffalo Bills football team, he often closed Sunday broadcasts during the football season with a statement of encouragement for the franchise. In his writing and in his news reporting, Russert spoke openly and fondly of his Catholic school education and of the role of the Catholic Church in his life. Russert also contributed his time to numerous Catholic charities. He was particularly devoted and concerned for the welfare of street kids in the United States and children whose lives were lost to street violence. Shortly before his death he had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI during his trip to Italy (died 2008): “The best exercise for your heart is reaching out and helping somebody.”

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