Today is the Memorial of Saint John Paul II, Pope (died 2005). And according to the chronology of Bishop Ussher (died 1656), the Creation of the World occurred on the night preceding Sunday, October 23, 4004 B.C., so tonight we can celebrate the Creation of our world, without which my Five or Six Loyal Readers (and my Legion of Followers) would not be reading my Weblog entries.
Born as Karol Józef Wojtyła in 1920 in Wadowice, Poland, the future Saint became ordained as a priest in 1946, and later became a Bishop and Cardinal. On October 16, 1978 he was elected Pope, the first non-Italian pope since the election of Pope Adrian VI in 1522. During his extraordinarily long pontificate (over 26 years, and the second-longest since the 32-year pontificate of Pope Pius IX (died 1878)), he was acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the twentieth century. It is widely held that he was instrumental in ending communism in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe as well as significantly improving the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. Though criticized for his opposition to contraception and the ordination of women, as well as his support for the Second Vatican Council and its reform of the Liturgy, he has also been praised for his firm, orthodox Catholic stances in these areas. He was one of the most-traveled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. He was fluent in many languages: Italian, French, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Russian, Croatian, Esperanto, Ancient Greek and Latin as well as his native Polish. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 Saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the last five centuries. After a long illness he died on April 2nd, 2005. On June 28, 2005 he was declared a Servant of God, on December 19, 2009, he was proclaimed Venerable, and on May 1, 2011, he was proclaimed Blessed. October 22 was chosen as his feast day because it was the anniversary of the liturgical inauguration of his papacy in 1978. He was named a Saint (along with Pope John XXIII) on April 27, 2014; he is the Patron Saint of Young Catholics and Families, the Co-Patron of World Youth Day (with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta), and the Archdiocese of Kraków, Poland, and the City of Świdnica, Poland. And turning to the Creation of the World and the date thereof, James Usher became Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh in 1625. He was a prolific scholar (alas, he was also a virulent anti-Catholic), and in 1654 published Annales Veteris Testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti, una cum rerum Asiaticarum et Aegyptiacarum chronico, a temporis historici principio usque ad Maccabaicorum initia producto (Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world, the chronicle of Asiatic and Egyptian matters together produced from the beginning of historical time up to the beginnings of Maccabees). The Archbishop based his Chronology on the best Biblical scholarship of his day, and narrowed his data even more by using the Jewish calendar and the date of the Autumnal Equinox. Ussher stated his time of Creation (nightfall preceding Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC) on the first page of Annales in Latin and on the first page of its English translation Annals of the World (1658). From 1701 on, annotated editions of the King James Bible included Ussher’s Chronology, which explains why the Chronology became so well known. (As of this year, Ussher’s Chronology would make the world some 6019 years old; last month we celebrated Rosh Hashanah 5776.)
Last night I continued reading The Fortune of War by Patrick O’Brian while taking my bath, and Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. And in their Preseason Professional Basketball Game, our New Orleans Pelicans were beaten by the Orlando Magic by the score of 107 to 110 in overtime. Our Pelicans will host the Miami Heat on October 23rd for their last Preseason game, and will start the Regular Season on October 27th.
I woke up at 12:30 am, wondering why my alarm clocks had not gone off at 11:50 pm and 12:00 am to tell me to get up for work; it took me awhile to realize that it was Thursday morning, and not a day when we go to work. I woke up properly at 8:30 am, and did my Bathroom Devotional Reading. Richard went to Dollar General for some groceries and cash, and when he got back he made scrambled eggs, bacon, and biscuits for our breakfast (thank you very much, Richard), which I ate (with ketchup on my scrambled eggs, of course) while reading the morning papers. I then did my Internet Devotional Reading at the computer, and organized my Catholic church calendar on my Google Calendar for 2016. (The wallpaper on my Galaxy Note 4, as it has been ever since I got a smartphone and figured out how to do it, is normally the Saint / Catholic Feast of the day.) Meanwhile Richard went to the store to get himself a pill case sufficiently large for his medications while we are on vacation. I then reviewed the PAR Guide to the 2015 Louisiana Constitutional Amendments, and on my Geaux Vote app on my phone filled out my ballot to refer to when I vote on Saturday. I then updated all of my book lists on my weblog sidebar, and added a link to Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County 2015 Facebook page on the sidebar of my weblog (under Comic Strips). At 4:00 pm I made my lunch salads for Sunday and Monday (I have a salad, which I did not eat on Tuesday, for my lunch tomorrow. And I have cleared all of my perishable salad supplies out of the refrigerator with the making of my salads today.) Meanwhile, Richard went through his bag, and marked breakers on the fuse box; we have decided not to bring the hot plate, and just go with roast beef poboys. At 4:30 pm I watched Jeopardy!, and then came to the computer to finish today’s Daily Update. And if I am still awake at nightfall (about 6:30 pm here in SouthWestCentral Louisiana), I will thank the Lord for having created the world, whether it was in 4004 BC or some other date.
Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint John of Capistrano, Priest (died 1456). Richard and I will return to the casino for the beginning of our work week, which should be a truncated week as we are planning on signing the Early Out list on Tuesday to start our vacation. On my breaks I will organize my 2015 Christmas Card list. (This will be another year without the making of hard candy, as I had planned to make it during the first several weeks of November, which is when we will be on vacation.) I will also call DelMonico Hatter to see if they have my hat in stock. On our way home from work I will stop in at Fantastic Sam’s and (if my girl is there) get my hair cut. In the afternoon I will do a dress rehearsal of my packing; since I am using a different packing system this year. While I am doing that, Richard will go to the gas company in City Hall and the water company to see if they can print up our next bills. And tomorrow evening our New Orleans Pelicans will host the Miami Heat for their last Preseason Basketball Game before the Regular Season begins.
Our Parting Quote this Thursday afternoon comes to us from William Harrison, American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. Born in 1933 in Dallas, Texas, his adoptive mother read widely, kept elaborate scrapbooks featuring both family members and celebrities, and wrote devotional poetry. Harrison attended Texas Christian University, where he became editor of the campus newspaper, The Skiff, and began to write. He later attended Vanderbilt University where he studied to teach comparative religion at the divinity school, but once again he began to write and made lifelong friends in the Department of English. After a year teaching in North Carolina at Atlantic Christian College, he moved his young family to Iowa where he studied in the creative writing program for ten months. At Iowa he sold his first short story to Esquire and published reviews in The Saturday Review. In 1964 Harrison moved with his family to Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he published his first novel, The Theologian, in 1965, and in 1966 he became the founder and co-director of the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Arkansas with his colleague James Whitehead. Many American and European writers and poets came as visitors to their program and their students went on to publish hundreds of books of poetry and fiction in major New York and university publishing houses. Harrison also served on the original board of directors (1970–75) for the Associated Writing Programs during the great growth period of creative writing in American literary education. His fiction was distinguished by the exotic and sometimes hostile settings in which he placed his characters. In 1975 he published Roller Ball Murder and Other Stories. He wrote the screenplay for the movie Rollerball (1975), which was adapted from his short story “Roller Ball Murder”; a remake of the film came out in 2002. He was also on the board of advisors for the Natural and Cultural Heritage Commission for the State of Arkansas (1976–81). Harrison received a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in Fiction (1974), a National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Fiction (1977), the Christopher Award for Television (1970) and a Columbia School of Journalism Prize with Esquire Magazine (1971). He has been represented in Who’s Who in America since 1975. His 1982 novel Burton and Speke was filmed in 1990 as Mountains of the Moon. Harrison’s stories were anthologized in The Best American Short Stories (1968),Southern Writing in the Sixties (1967), All Our Secrets Are the Same: New Fiction from Esquire (1977), The Literature of Sport (1980), The Best American Mystery Stories (2006), New Stories from the South (2006), Fifty Years of Descant (2008), and numerous textbooks. He traveled widely in Africa (the setting for several of his books and short stories), China, the Middle East, and Europe. His last novel, Black August, was published in 2011 (died 2013): “[Norman Jewison] did everything to my script [for Rollerball] except use it.”