Daily Update: Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Assumption and 08-15 - National Day of the Acadians

Today is the great Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (normally a Holy Day of Obligation), and today is also the National Day of the Acadians.

The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates the doctrine that Mary was assumed body and soul into Heaven at the end of her life. Apocryphal accounts of the assumption of Mary into heaven have circulated since at least the 4th century, and the Catholic Church itself interprets chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation as referring to it. The taking of Mary into Heaven became an established teaching across the Eastern, Western, Coptic and Oriental churches from at least the late 7th Century, the festival date settling at August 15. Theological debate about the Assumption continued following the Reformation and climaxing in 1950 when Pope Pius XII defined it as dogma for the Catholic Church in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus. In this dogmatic statement, the phrase “having completed the course of her earthly life” leaves open the question of whether the Virgin Mary died before her Assumption or whether she was assumed before death; both possibilities are allowed. (Perhaps the Assumption is the theological example of Quantum Physics, and both occurred.) It is normally a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning that the Faithful are obliged to go to Mass for this day; but when the Feast is on a Saturday or Sunday (as this year), the American Bishops relax the requirement. Today is also the National Day of the Acadians. During the first National Convention of the Acadians held at Memramcook, New Brunswick in 1881, the Acadian leaders received the mandate to set the date of this celebration. Given a choice between June 24, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, or August 15, La Fête de l’Assomption de Marie, in the end the members present at the convention decided on August 15, and took the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Patron of the Acadians. The Vatican ratified the choice of the Acadian convention many years later in a proclamation issued on January 19, 1938. The Acadian flag was established at the Second Acadian Convention in 1884 at Miscouche, Prince Edward Island.  It is a French flag (tricolor blue, white, and red) with a gold star at the top left in the blue field representing the Virgin Mary, patron saint of the Acadians.  In 1965 the France-Amérique de la Louisiane Acadienne commissioned Dr. Thomas Arceneaux, of the University of Southwest Louisiana, to design a Louisiana Acadian flag to honor the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Acadians in Louisiana.  The three colors of the flag are divided differently, and on the flag are three symbols.  The gold castle on the red field represents the Spanish kingdom, who allowed and even assisted the Acadians in settling their new homeland.  The silver fleur-de-lis on the blue field represents their French heritage. The gold star on the white background represents the Blessed Virgin Mary, patron saint of the Acadians. Louisiana made this flag the official flag of the Acadiana area in 1974.

Last evening I put presets on the radio of my new car, then went to bed; at 7:30 pm Richard woke up certain that we had overslept for work; we had not, but he went ahead and paid bills.

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading and posted to Facebook that today was the National Day of the Acadians. We took the car to work (to show it off to any interested parties), and I forgot my Nook. I did my Internet Devotional Reading on our way to work, and once at the casino plugged the bills Richard had paid into my Balance My Checkbook Pro app. After the Pre-Shift Meeting Richard was briefly on Flop Poker, closed that table, was on Three Card Blackjack (for a time that table was temporarily closed so that they could use Richard to change blackjack cards), closed that table, and spent the rest of the day on Pai Gow. I was on Three Card Poker all day. After work only one of our co-workers (Virginia) was interested in looking at our new car (she has a silver 2014 Chevrolet Cruze).

When we got home home I set up my medications for next week (I have two prescriptions to renew on Monday), then I read the morning paper and made out my store list for Richard. I then left for the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration; during my Hour I started reading the August 17th – August 24th, 2015 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. Meanwhile, Richard left the house, picked up the set of car trunk screw-in studs that were in the car (in front of the Adoration Chapel), went to Auto Zone to return them, and went to Wal-Mart to do the grocery shopping. I had noticed that my window shade (to put in the windshield when parked in the sun) was too small, and that my trash bag kept falling off of where I had placed it (the Velcro was not sticking to the console side of the passenger front seat). After Adoration I went to Auto Zone and got a jumbo window shade, then I went to McDonald’s to eat lunch and to continue reading Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition (Second Edition) by E. Christian Brugger. I then tinkered some more with the infotainment stuff on my car. My new jumbo window shade worked great, so I ditched the old one which I had had for years and elected to go home instead of going to Mass. Once home I used Gorilla Tape® to attach the Velcro to the console side of the passenger front seat for my trash bag, and also put up one of my religious icons (also with Gorilla Tape®. And Liz Ellen texted me that she will have to vacate her apartment; she’s lived in one side of a duplex for some twenty or twenty-five years, with her landlady living in the other side of the duplex, but her landlady needs Liz Ellen’s side for a relative to live in, so Liz Ellen has forty-five days to move. (This also might impact her coming down for her usual Christmas visit, as moving will take both money and time off from her work.) I then got on the computer and did an Advance Daily Update for tomorrow, then got busy with today’s Daily Update. And now that I am just about done, I will finish and go to bed.

Tomorrow is the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, and the Optional Memorial of Saint Stephen of Hungary, King (died 1038). Richard and I return to work, and I will read at least half of what’s left of The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott on my Nook on my breaks and on our way home from work. And I hope to go to the 6:00 pm Mass tomorrow evening.

Our Parting Quote on this Saturday afternoon of the Feast of the Assumption and the National Day of the Acadians comes to us from Bert Lance, American banker and businessman. Born as Thomas Bertram Lance in 1931 in Gainesville, Georgia, his father, Thomas Jackson Lance, had served as president of Young Harris College in northeast Georgia, and in 1941 the family relocated to Calhoun, in Gordon County, when Lance’s father became superintendent of that city’s schools. Lance attended college at the University of Georgia, married LaBelle David, whose family owned the Calhoun First National Bank, in 1950, and graduated in 1951. He attended graduate school at LSU in Baton Rouge and Rutgers University. After graduation Lance became a clerk at the Calhoun First National Bank, and within a decade became its president. He became acquainted with Jimmy Carter during the latter’s time as Governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975 and served as State Highway Director during his administration. Lance ran to succeed Carter as governor in 1974, but lost a bid for the Democratic nomination, finishing third in the first primary behind Lester Maddox and the eventual winner, George Busbee. During the campaign, Lance accrued campaign debts of nearly $600,000. He then became president of the National Bank of Georgia in Atlanta in 1975, a position he held until 1977. Lance was an adviser to Carter during his successful 1976 presidential campaign. After Carter’s victory over President Gerald Ford, Lance was named Director of the Office of Management and the Budget (OMB). According to former OMB officials, it was well known in the department that Lance and President Carter prayed together every morning. However, within six months, questions were raised by the press and Congress about mismanagement and corruption when Lance was Chairman of the Board of Calhoun First National Bank of Georgia. William Safire’s article written during this time, “Carter’s Broken Lance”, earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1978. It was an embarrassment for Carter’s administration, particularly as it occurred soon after President Nixon’s Watergate scandal and President Ford’s pardon of Nixon just before he could be impeached. To insure there was no hint of similar impropriety in the Carter administration, Lance resigned his position. On Saturday Night Live, soon after Lance’s resignation from the Carter administration, John Belushi (playing Lance) and Dan Aykroyd (playing Carter) appeared in an advertising parody of an American Express credit card commercial. On an episode of Good Times, JJ referenced Lance while offering to make out a check for the family budget knowing they have no money. And in the “Making Out” episode What’s Happening!, Rerun confused Bert Lance with Cyrus Vance while trying to impress a date who was a political science major. In January 1978 Lance sold his stock in National Bank of Georgia to Ghaith Pharaon, while on the same day, BCCI founder Agha Hasan Abedi paid off Lance’s $3.5 million loan at the First National Bank of Chicago. The following month, Lance helped BCCI with their hostile bid for Financial General Bankshares of Washington, which failed. After a well-publicized trial in 1980, Lance was found innocent on nine charges of misusing the funds of two Georgia banks he headed, and the jurors could not reach a decision on two counts charging Lance lied in financial statements and one count charging that a loan Lance made to a co-defendant through the National Bank of Georgia was a misapplication of bank funds. In 1981 Lance returned to the Calhoun First National Bank as Chairman.  That same year BCCI secretly acquired Financial General Bankshares of Washington (renamed First American Bankshares) using 15 Arab investors as nominees with the help of Lance and Arkansas-based power investor Jackson Stephens (who had been Carter’s classmate at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis). The next year Lance introduced Jimmy Carter to Abedi. Lance then made something of a political comeback in 1982 when he was elected Chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party. In 1984 Walter Mondale, who was the Democratic candidate for United States President, sought to name Lance as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, but was forced to withdraw his name after opposition from Democratic party members. Lance’s subsequent appointment as general manager of the 1984 campaign lasted only a few weeks. In 1986 he left Calhoun First National Bank.  In 1987 First American Bankshares acquired National Bank of Georgia from Pharaon. Lance was an advisor to Jesse Jackson during Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign. BCCI was terminated in 1991 (with Lance and Stephens making millions), and it was subsequently revealed that the bank had engaged in many illegal activities, including secretly controlling several United States banks, in violation of federal banking statutes. In 1991 Lance (with Bill Gilbert) wrote The Truth of the Matter: My Life In and Out of Politics (died 2013): “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

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