Daily Update: Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Cornelius and Cyprian and Mexican Independence Day

Today is the Memorial of Saint Cornelius, Pope and Martyr (died 253) and Saint Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr (died 258), and the first of three Ember Days for this season of the yea. Today is also Mexican Independence Day.

Saint Cornelius was elected the twenty-first Pope in 251, after a year-and-a-half period during which the persecutions against Christians were so bad that papal ascension was a quick death sentence. He first called a synod of bishops to confirm him as the rightful pontiff, as opposed to the anti-pope Novation. He then fought the heresy of Novatianism, which held that those who had stopped practicing Christianity during the persecution could not be accepted back into the church even if they repented; under this philosophy, the only way to reenter the church would be rebaptism. Cornelius worked to maintain unity in a time of schism and apostasy, and had the support of Saint Cyprian. He welcomed back those who had apostatized during the persecutions of Decius; the documents that settled this matter prove the final authority of the Pope. Exiled by Roman authorities to punish Christians in general, who were said to have provoked the gods to send plague against Rome, he died in exile in 253, and is listed as a Martyr. A document from Cornelius shows the size of the Church in Rome in his papacy: 46 priests, 7 deacons, 7 subdeacons, and approximately 50,000 Christians. He is the Patron Saint of cattle and domestic animals; his aid is invoked against earache, fever, twitching, and epilepsy, and he is the Patron Saint of the town of Kornelimünster, Germany where his head is located. We also honor Saint  Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr (died 258). Born in 190 in Carthage, North Africa, to wealthy pagan parents, he taught rhetoric and literature, and became an adult convert to Christianity in 246. Ordained in 247, he became Bishop of Carthage in 249. During the persecution of Decius, beginning in 250, Cyprian lived in hiding, covertly ministering to his flock; his enemies condemned him for being a coward and not standing up for his faith. His skillful Latin rhetoric led to his being considered the pre-eminent Latin writer of Western Christianity until Jerome and Augustine. He was involved in the great argument over whether apostates should be readmitted to the Church; Cyprian believed they should, but under stringent conditions, and he supported Pope Saint Cornelius against the anti-pope Novatian. During the persecutions of Valerian he was exiled to Curubis in 257, brought back Carthage, and then martyred in 258. He is the Patron Saint of North Africa. Today is also the first of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Ember days (a corruption from the Latin Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073 – 1085) for the consecutive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after December 13 (the feast of St. Lucy), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday (Pentecost), and after September 14 (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. Finally, today is Mexican Independence Day. Just before midnight on the night of September 15, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla ordered the church bells in his church in the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato in the state of the same name, to be rung. Once the congregation had gathered, flanked by Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama (two rebel army officers), he addressed the people in front of his church, encouraging them to revolt: “My children: a new dispensation comes to us today. Will you receive it? Will you free yourselves? Will you recover the lands stolen by three hundred years ago from your forefathers by the hated Spaniards? We must act at once… Will you defend your religion and your rights as true patriots? Long live our Lady of Guadalupe! Death to bad government! Death to the gachupines [an insulting term for Spaniards]!” This proclamation became known as the Grito de Dolores (Cry of Delores). Since the late 19th century, Father Hidalgo y Costilla’s Grito de Dolores has become emblematic of Mexican independence.

I woke up at 8:30 am; Richard had started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, so I continued on with it, and started uploading music to Google Drive again, but this time in alphabetical sections. At 9:30 am I read the morning paper.

At 10:00 am we left the computer working on the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and headed for Baton Rouge. We met our friend Stephen, as we usually do, at Albasha Greek and Lebanese Restaurant on Bluebonnet; we had a very good meal, and then Steve was most appreciative of my new car. (He said he liked the LSU and Saints lettered decals on the back, and that he had thought they came with the car; that’s the nicest compliment he could have given me.) Richard and I then went to the AAA Office, and got Tourbooks, road maps and the 2015 AAA Atlas (we had to pay a discounted price for the atlas, but everything else was free with our AAA Membership). We headed home, with me reading Post Captain by Patrick O’Brian along the way. At a Valero station in Krotz Springs we got gas for the car and I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing. At a little before 3:00 pm I called Callie; she said we could come over to her mother’s house to see her and the baby, and I told her we would be there at 3:30 pm.

We arrived home at 3:00 pm; one of the Sons of Anarchy T-shirts that Richard had ordered for Amy (the friend living with our son, daughter in law, and the baby) came in, but the computer had turned itself off, apparently without finishing the SpyBot System Scan. I re-started the System Scan, and we left the house again at 3:30 pm. We went to Callie’s mom’s house, and before we got there I finished reading Post Captain by Patrick O’Brian. Lisa (Callie’s mother) was there, and we visited for a bit, not taking any more photos. I did measure the baby’s waist for my friend Debra, who is going to make a dress for the baby; the baby’s waist is 15½ inches, but we told Debra to plan for 16½ inches. We said our regretful goodbyes to Callie and the now-sleeping baby; they leave tomorrowe, and we will see them again (plus Matthew and Amy) in a little over two weeks when they all come down.

On our way home we stopped by the ATM at the bank to get Richard some money, and arrived home just in time for Jeopardy! While I watched, Richard called the Sirius XM people to order the third-tier Mostly Music program. On Stephen’s advice at lunchtime, Richard indicated that he was not sure about going with Sirius XM after the three-month introductory period because of the cost, and they gave us a much-reduced price on the Sirius XM All Access plan (the second-tier program). I then came to the computer, finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and did my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for Post Captain by Patrick O’Brian. I then did today’s Daily Update, and when I finish with the computer I will do  the Weekly Virus Scan and do some reading before going to bed.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Hildegard von Bingen, Virgin and Doctor (died 1179) and the Memorial of Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor (died 1621). In the secular world, tomorrow is Constitution Day. I will do my laundry, go to the grocery for my salad supplies, and make my lunch salads for Friday and Saturday.

This Tuesday evening brings us a Parting Quote from Terrie Hall, American activist. Born as Terri McNutt in 1960 in Mount Clemens Michigan, her family moved to North Carolina when she was thirteen, where she finished high school and got married, living a normal life as a mother and wife with one daughter, helping out in the family-owned car sales and repair business. As a young teen she had tried smoking, but started smoking in earnest as a high school teenager (her father had been a smoker), so that by the next year she was smoking a pack a day. By the time she was 25 she was up to two packs a day. Her daughter became a smoker and did not quit until her second pregnancy (both her children were born prematurely). In her 30s Hall was divorced. In 2001, at the age of 40, she was diagnosed with oral cancer. She continued smoking during her radiation treatments, and was later diagnosed with throat cancer and lost her larynx, at which point she was able to quit smoking and became an advocate against tobacco smoking. Hall worked as a program coordinator for SAVE (Survivors and Victims of Tobacco Empowerment), traveling to middle and high schools throughout the state of North Carolina representing SAVE and speaking about tobacco education and advocate anti-tobacco issues. In December 2005 she received the Distinguished Service Award from then Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue in the preventive health area for sharing her story and for her advocacy work. Hall was featured in four public service announcements (PSAs) shown on North Carolina state-wide TV networks for Tobacco Reality Unfiltered, her first one originally airing in her home state of North Carolina in 2006 and later airing in Utah in April 2011. Hall’s first ad showed her putting on a wig, putting in false teeth and covering a hole in her throat with a scarf. It was the campaign’s most popular spot by far, receiving more than 2.8 million views on YouTube. She was invited by the Health Department of the State of Utah to come out and speak in their schools, and in April 2011, she spent a week touring eleven schools throughout the state. Another PSA featuring Hall for the same organization also aired that same month. Hall was perhaps best known for appearing in one of the PSAs for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s anti-smoking campaign “Tips From Former Smokers”. The PSA was filmed in August 2011. Hall addressed the camera in the buzzing sound of her artificial voice box. She advised smokers to make a video of themselves reading a children’s book or singing a lullaby. “I wish I had. The only voice my grandson’s ever heard is this one,” her electric voice growled. Because of this campaign, calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW doubled and visits to SmokeFree.gov tripled during the campaign. She worked with the American Cancer Society as the team captain for the Relay for Life and in 2007 she was a legislative ambassador at “Celebration on the Hill” in Washington DC. By the end of 2012 she was a survivor of ten cancer diagnoses, undergoing 48 radiation treatments, and nearly a year’s worth of chemotherapy. Her final cancer diagnosis was her last; she was filmed by the CDC at the hospital two days before her death, and the footage was later used for a smoking ad posted on the CDC’s YouTube page on January 31, 2014. Another one was posted on June 24, 2014 and started to air July 7th, 2014 (died 2013): “I didn’t think I had to quit. The radiation was getting rid of the cancer, so I could still smoke.”

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