Daily Update: Friday, October 9th, 2015

Denis, John Leonardi, John Henry Newman, Pius XII

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Denis, Bishop and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (died about 258), the Optional Memorial of Saint John Leonardi, Priest (died 1609), the Optional Memorial of Blessed John Henry Newman, Priest (died 1890), and the Remembrance of Venerable Pius XII, Pope (died 1958).

We first honor Saint Denis, Bishop and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (died about 258). Possibly born in Italy, he was a missionary to Paris, and became the first Bishop of Paris. His success roused the ire of local pagans, and he was imprisoned by Roman governor. He was martyred in the persecutions of Valerius with Saint Rusticus and Saint Eleutherius; the most persistent legend is that after he was beheaded he carried his severed head some six miles from Montmarte, preaching a sermon the whole way, which made him one of the first cephalophores (saints depicted as holding their own severed heads) in history. He is the Patron Saint of the city of Paris, France, and of the Country of France; his aid is invoked against possession, frenzy, hydrophobia, and headaches, and he is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers invoked against plague. We also honor Saint John Leonardi, Priest (died 1609). Born in 1541 in Diecimo, Lucca, he worked as a pharmacist’s apprentice while studying for the priesthood, and after his ordination in 1572 worked with prisoners and the sick. His example attracted some young laymen to assist him, most of whom became priests themselves. This group formed the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca, a congregation of diocesan priests which, for reasons having to do with the politics of the Reformation and an unfounded accusation that John wanted to form the group for his own personal aggrandizement, provoked great opposition. The Clerks were confirmed in 1595 by Pope Clement VIII, but John was exiled from Lucca for most of the rest of his life. John was assisted in his exile by Saint Philip Neri, who gave him his quarters in Rome (and the care of his pet cat). In 1579 he formed the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, and published a compendium of Christian doctrine that remained in use until the 19th century. He died from a disease caught while tending plague victims. By the deliberate policy of the founder, the Clerks have never had more than 15 churches, and today form only a very small congregation. He is the Patron Saint of pharmacists. We also honor Blessed John Henry Newman, Priest (died 1890). Born in 1801 in London, England, he converted from nothing in particular to the Church of England as a boy of fifteen, and was ordained as a priest in 1825. In his early life, he was a major figure in the Oxford Movement to bring the Church of England back to its Catholic roots.  Eventually his studies in history persuaded him to become a Catholic. He preached his last sermon as an Anglican Priest in 1843, and converted to Catholicism in 1845, the same year he wrote Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine; the next year he was ordained as a Catholic Priest. In 1854 at the request of the Irish bishops, Newman went to Dublin as rector of the newly established Catholic University of Ireland. It was during this time that he founded the Literary and Historical Society. However, practical organisation was not among his gifts, and so after four years he retired, the best outcome of his stay there being a volume of lectures entitled The Idea of a University, containing some of his most effective writing. In 1858 he projected a branch house of the Oratory at Oxford; but this was opposed by Father Henry Edward Manning (the future Cardinal Manning) and others as likely to induce Catholics to send their sons to that university, and the scheme was abandoned. When Catholics did begin to attend Oxford from the 1860s onwards, a Catholic club was formed, and in 1888 it was renamed the Oxford University Newman Society in recognition of Newman’s efforts on behalf of Catholicism in that university city. In 1865 and 1866 he wrote Apologia Pro Vita Sua, and in 1870 he wrote the Grammar of Assent (1870). In 1879 Pope Leo XIII made him Cardinal-Deacon of San Giorgio al Velabro; the distinction was a marked one, because he was neither a bishop nor resident in Rome. The university he founded, the Catholic University of Ireland, evolved into University College, Dublin, one college of Ireland’s largest university (National University of Ireland), which has contributed significantly to the intellectual and social development of that country. Newman Centers (or Centres) in his honour have been established throughout the world, in the mould of the Oxford University Newman Society, to provide pastoral services and ministries to Catholics at non-Catholic universities. His Beatification was officially proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the United Kingdom on September 19, 2010; unusually for a Saint, his feast day is not the anniversary of his death, but the date of his reception into the Catholic Church. If you know of any miracles that can be attributed to him, please contact the Vatican. And on this day we honor Venerable Pius XII, Pope (died 1958). Born in 1876 in Rome as Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli, his family was deeply religious and aristocratic, with a history of ties to the Papacy. He became a priest in 1899, the same year he took degrees in theology and in civil and canon law. In 1904 Pacelli became a papal chamberlain and in 1905 a domestic prelate. He was also chosen by Pope Leo XIII to deliver condolences on behalf of the Vatican to Edward VII of the United Kingdom after the death of Queen Victoria, and in 1911 he represented the Holy See at the coronation of King George V. In 1908 and 1911 he turned down professorships in canon law at a Roman university and The Catholic University of America, respectively. Pacelli became the under-secretary in 1911, adjunct-secretary in 1912, and secretary of the Department of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs in 1914. As secretary he concluded a concordat with Serbia four days before Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo. During World War I, Pacelli maintained the Vatican’s registry of prisoners of war. Pope Benedict XV appointed him as nuncio to Bavaria in 1917, consecrating him as titular Bishop of Sardis and immediately elevating him to archbishop in the Sistine Chapel. As there was no nuncio to Prussia or Germany at the time, Pacelli was, for all practical purposes, the nuncio to all of the German Empire. Once in Munich, he conveyed the papal initiative to end the war to German authorities. Pacelli was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Germany in 1920. In post-war Germany, in the absence of a nuncio in Moscow, he worked on diplomatic arrangements between the Vatican and the Soviet Union. Pacelli was made a Cardinal-Priest of Santi Giovanni e Paolo in 1929 by Pope Pius XI, and within a few months in 1930, Pius XI appointed him Cardinal Secretary of State. In 1935 he was named Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church. As Cardinal Secretary of State, Pacelli signed concordats with a number of countries and states, including Baden (1932), Austria (1933), Germany (1933), Yugoslavia (1935) and Portugal (1940). He made many diplomatic visits throughout Europe and the Americas, including an extensive visit to the United States in 1936 where he met Franklin D. Roosevelt. Between 1933 and 1939, Pacelli issued 55 protests of violations of theReichskonkordat (the German concordat of 1933). He was elected to the Papacy on his 63rd birthday, the first cardinal secretary of state to be elected Pope since Clement IX in 1667. He was also one of only two men known to have served as Camerlengo immediately prior to being elected as pope (the other being Pope Leo XIII in 1810). During World War II the Pope followed a policy of public neutrality mirroring that of Pope Benedict XV during World War I. In 1939 Pius XII turned the Vatican into a centre of aid which he organized from various parts of the world. After the war Pius XII contributed to the rebuilding of Europe, and advocated peace and reconciliation, including lenient policies toward vanquished nations and the unification of Europe. The Church, flourishing in the West, experienced severe persecution and mass deportations of Catholic clergy in the East. In light of his protests, and his involvement in the Italian elections of 1948, he became known as a staunch opponent of communism. He was declared Venerable in 2009; if you know of any miracles that can be attributed to him, please contact the Vatican.

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once we clocked in, Richard was the Relief Dealer for Mississippi Stud and Three Card Poker; he also broke Four Card Poker at the beginning of our shift, and then the second Mississippi Stud table at the end of our shift. I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow. On one of my later breaks I called my psych’s office again, and left a voice mail that I needed my prescriptions called in on a 90-day basis, and ordered a T-shirt online.

On our way home I continued reading Desolation Island by Patrick O’Brian. When we got home from work, Michelle was just leaving; they had no water at her trailer, and she came over to take a shower. I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper while Richard paid bills (our checks hit the bank last night, a day early because Monday is a holiday). I then cleaned out my Gucci bag that I have used for years as my main suitcase (it’s actually a Sassoon bag), then I plugged the bills Richard had paid into my Balance My Checkbook Pro program. Next, I did Advance Daily Update Drafts, doing them through Saturday, November 7th, 2015; this means I am a good four weeks ahead on my Advance Daily Update Drafts. At 3:45 pm I called my psych’s office again, and left another voicemail. At 4:30 pm we watched Jeopardy, and Callie, Matthew, Michelle, and the baby arrived at 4:45 pm. We visited with them (neither Michelle or Callie wanted my Gucci / Sassoon bag), and at 5:15 pm Richard’s sister Susan (from Iowa) showed up (she has been getting Richard’s brother Butch settled into his elder care apartment in Baton Rouge). At about 5:45 pm Susan left for Baton Rouge (by way of Lele’s), and Matthew, Callie, and the baby left in Michelle’s car to head back to Lisa’s house. We will not see Callie, Matthew, or the baby again until we are up there in three week’s time (give or take a day). I got online, and started doing today’s Daily Update; and our New Orleans Pelicans are now playing a preseason game with the Atlanta Hawks in Jacksonville, Florida.

We have no Saints to honor tomorrow, so we will instead note that tomorrow is the anniversary of the founding of what is now the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1845. Tomorrow begins Early Voting for the Louisiana Gubernatorial Primary Election on October 24th; since we do not leave for our vacation until October 27th, I won’t be voting early. We will work our eight hours, and in the early afternoon I will go to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. At 2:30 pm our #9 ranked LSU Tigers will play the South Carolina Gamecocks in Tiger Stadium. The game was to have been played at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina, but the flooding caused by Hurricane Joaquin meant that the game could not be played in South Carolina. However, even though the game is being played in Tiger Stadium, it is still considered a home game for South Carolina, and they will get the ticket revenue from the game, while LSU will be reimbursed for their expenses in holding the game.

Our Parting Quote on this Friday afternoon comes to us from Chopper Read, Australian criminal and author. Born as Mark Read in 1954 in Melbourne, Victoria, his father had been in the Army, and his mother was a devout Seventh-day Adventist. He was placed in a children’s home for the first five years of his life. He grew up in the Melbourne suburbs of Collingwood, Thomastown, Fitzroy and Preston. He was bullied at school, was made a ward of the state by the age of 14, and was placed in several mental institutions as a teenager, where, he later claimed, he was subjected to electroshock therapy. When he was still young Read was already an accomplished street fighter and the leader of the Surrey Road gang. He began his criminal career by robbing drug dealers, based in massage parlours in the Prahran area. He later graduated to kidnapping and torturing members of the criminal underworld, often using a blowtorch or bolt cutters to remove the toes of his victims as an incentive for them to produce enough money so that Read would leave them alive. Between the ages of 20 and 38 he spent only thirteen months not in prison, having been convicted of crimes including armed robbery, firearm offences, assault, arson, impersonating a police officer and kidnapping. While in Pentridge Prison’s H division in the late 1970s, Read launched a prison war. His gang, dubbed “The Overcoat Gang” because they wore long coats all year round to conceal their weapons, were involved in several hundred acts of violence against a larger opposing gang during this period. Around this time, Read had a fellow inmate cut both of his (Read’s) ears off in order to be able to leave H division temporarily. While in his early biographies Read claimed this was to avoid an ambush by other inmates, by being transferred to the mental health wing, his later works state that he did so to “win a bet”. The nickname “Chopper” was given to him long before this, from a childhood cartoon character. Read was indeed ambushed and stabbed by members of his own gang in a sneak attack; either they felt that his plan to cripple every other inmate in the entire division and win the gang war in one fell swoop was going too far, or that James “Jimmy” Loughnan, a longtime friend of Read, with Patrick “Blue” Barnes, wished to benefit from a contract put on Read’s head by the Painters’ and Dockers’ Union. Read lost several feet of intestine in the attack. At the time Read was serving a 16 and a half-year sentence after attacking a judge in an effort to get Loughnan released from prison. Loughnan would later die in the Jika Jika fire at Pentridge in 1987. At some point in prison Read contracted Hepatitis C, possibly from a blood stained razor. Read’s first book, Chopper: From the Inside, was collected from letters he sent while incarcerated in Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison and published in 1991. It contained tales and anecdotes of his criminal and prison exploits. Further biographical releases followed in a similar vein. In 1992 Read was convicted of shooting Sydney Michael Edward Collins in the chest. The incident took place in Read’s car, which was in the driveway of Collins’s residence at Evandale, Tasmania. The bullet was recovered from the backseat of the vehicle, and Collins named Read as the shooter. Pleading not guilty, Read was found guilty of grievous bodily harm, a downgraded charge from attempted murder, and sentenced as a “dangerous criminal” to indefinite detention. With the advent of Chopper 5: Pulp Faction: Revenge of the Rabbit Kisser and Other Jailhouse Stories (1995), Read began writing fictional tales based on his experiences of criminal life. He walked free early in 1998. Collins then went missing under suspicious circumstances. The movie Chopper came out in 2000. In 2001 Read was featured in an advertisement on behalf of the Pedestrian Council of Australia warning of the dangers of drunk driving. He was questioned in 2002 over the disappearance of Collins. Also in 2002 attempts were made to ban a children’s book written by Read titled Hooky the Cripple: The Grim Tale of a Hunchback Who Triumphs. In 2005 he was in two episodes of the television series The Footy Show. Also in 2005 Read embarked on a tour of Australia performing a series of shows titled I’m Innocent with Mark “Jacko” Jackson and later toured Sydney in a stage show with a new co-star, former detective Roger “The Dodger” Rogerson. Read’s success in selling tales of his criminal past prompted widespread calls to amend the Federal Proceeds of Crime Bill (2001), which confiscates the proceeds of drug deals and robberies, to also apply to indirect proceeds of crime, including book sales, TV appearances, and the like. In 2006 Read appeared in another commercial speaking out against domestic violence and released a rap album titled Interview with a Madman. The last Chopper book, Chopper 11: Last Man Standing: From Ex-Con to Icon, came out in 2007. He revealed in 2008 that he nhad only two to five years to live, but rejected the idea of a liver transplant. He made the headlines again in December 2008 after being questioned by police about an alleged incident in Johnson Street, Collingwood. Read was attacked by a tomahawk-wielding man he said he had never met before. He suffered a minor injury to his arm after being hit with the blunt end of the tomahawk. Read was questioned by detectives at Richmond police station before being released without charge. His alleged attacker has not been found. He published a two-volume autobiography, Mark ‘Chopper’ Read: One Thing Led To Another(2010) and Mark ‘Chopper’ Read: Road to Nowhere (2011). In his last broadcast interview on the Australian 60 Minutes program aired on October 20, 2013, Read admitted to murdering Collins. He rejected any sense of remorse for killing Collins, alleging that Collins was “stupid” for being shot by Read on two separate occasions with Collins’s own gun (died 2013): “Look, honestly, I haven’t killed that many people, probably about four or seven, depending on how you look at it.”

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