Today is the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and National Vocation Awareness Week continues. We have no Saints to honor, but we do recall a Bishop, for it was on this date in 1789 that Pope Pius VI confirmed (rather than appointed) Father John Carroll as the first Catholic bishop in the United States. It is also the birthday of one of Richard’s grandnieces in Texas, a granddaughter of his Sister Bonnie in Texas (1996).
The First Friday of each month is dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Turning to the first Catholic Bishop in the United States, Carroll was born in 1735 in Maryland; his cousin Charles Carroll was the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence and the first United States Senator from Maryland, and his older brother Daniel Carroll became one of only five men to sign both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States. Carroll was ordained to the priesthood as a Jesuit in 1769, and in April 1789 was elected Bishop by his peers; he remains the only American Bishop to have been elected (and then to have his election confirmed by the Pope, on this date in 1789) rather than being simply appointed by the Pope. He was consecrated by Bishop Charles Walmesley on August 15, 1790, the Feast of the Assumption, in the chapel of Lulworth Castle in Dorset, England, without an oath to the English church. Carroll orchestrated the founding and early development of Georgetown University, which began instruction in 1791. That same year Carroll convened the first diocesan synod in the United States. The twenty-two priests at the First Synod of Baltimore discussed baptism, confirmation, penance, the celebration of the liturgy, anointing of the sick, mixed marriages and supplemental legislation concerning things such as the rules of fast and abstinence. The decrees of this synod represent the first local canonical legislation in the new nation. Among the regulations were that parish income should be divided in thirds: one third for the support of the clergy, one third for the maintenance of church facilities, and one third for the support of the poor. Bishop Carroll insisted that the readings in the liturgy be read in the vernacular (rather than in Latin), and promoted the use of vernacular languages in the liturgy, but was unable to gain the support for such reform by the church hierarchy. (His wish was granted by the Second Vatican Council, in 1965.) In 1806 Bishop Carroll oversaw the construction of the first cathedral in the thirteen United States, the Cathedral of the Assumption (today called the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) in Baltimore, Maryland, which was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, architect of the United States Capitol. The cornerstone of the cathedral was laid by Carroll on July 7, 1806. In 1808 Pope Pius VII made Baltimore the first archdiocese in the United States, with suffragan bishops in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Bardstown, Kentucky. Three of the four new bishops were ordained by Archbishop Carroll in the fall of 1810, after which followed two weeks of meetings in what was an unofficial provincial council. Among the resolutions coming out of these meetings was a request to the Holy See that future episcopal nominations be made by the United States hierarchy, not by European prelates. Bishop Carroll died in Baltimore on December 3, 1815, some six years before the completion of the Cathedral of the Assumption. His remains are interred in the crypt of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which can be visited by the public. Today is also the birthday of one of Richard’s grandnieces in Texas, a granddaughter of his Sister Bonnie in Texas (1996).
Richard and I woke up at the Best Western Falls Church Inn in Falls Church, Virginia at 8:45 am. We went down to eat the Continental breakfast, and I read the USA Today (Weekender Edition). Richard then went to CVS for soft drinks, and again to get me The Washington Post, which I then read. We then came back to our room, and I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading and my Internet Devotional Reading.
After we ate a late lunch at the motel restaurant, we left at 1:45 pm. We entered Washington DC at 2:00 pm, and soon after arrived at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. We watched the movie (which appeared to have been written by an angry Black Studies major), purchased a lapel pin for Liz Ellen, I got my stamps for my National Park Explorer Edition Passport Book, then we hiked up to the house, but opted not to take the tour. We left my 167th Park (more anon) at 3:00 pm.
At 3;30 pm we arrived at the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site. We saw the filmstrip of the audio of her last speech in 1955, I got my stamps for my National Park Explorer Edition Passport Book, purchased an expensive lapel pin for Liz Ellen, we toured the house, and we left my 168th National Park (more anon) at 4:00 pm.
We returned to Virginia at 4;30 pm, and said hello to the cats up for adoption at PetSmart before we returned to the motel at 5:00 pm. I posted the parks I had gone to today on Facebook, Richard did laundry, and I put my stamps and stickers into my National Park Explorer Edition Passport Book. I found that Gloria Dei (Old Swede’s) Church National Historic Site was a unit of Independence National Historical Park, so not a separate park; but because Frederick Douglass National Historic Site is part of the National Capitol Parks East, it counted as two parks, do my total count is correct. We watched Jeopardy! at 7:30 pm, then two episodes of Bones. The New Orleans Pelicans played the Atlanta Hawks, a game they lost by the score of 115 to 121, and our LSU Men’s Basketball team played an exhibition game with Southwest Baptist, beating them by the score of 98 to 72. Our Tigers will open their regular season next Friday with a home game with McNeese State.
Tomorrow is the First Saturday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary), and the last day of National Vocation Awareness Week. With no Saints to honor, we will note that tomorrow is the anniversary of the day in 1940 when the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Tacoma, Washington collapsed in a windstorm, a mere four months after the bridge’s completion. Tomorrow is also the birthday of my son Matthew (1986). Also, Early Voting begins for the Louisiana Gubernatorial General Election. Richard and I will relax, and tomorrow night watch our #4 ranked LSU Tigers play the #7 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. And tomorrow night our New Orleans Pelicans will play an away game with the Dallas Mavericks.
On this First Friday evening our Parting Quote comes to us from L. Sprague de Camp, American author. Born in 1907 in New York City, he trained as an aeronautical engineer, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1930 and a Master of Science degree in Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey in 1933. He was also a surveyor and patent expert. His first published story was “The Isolinguals”, in the September 1937 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. In 1939 he married, and published Lest Darkness Fall, an early alternate history novel that helped define the genre. During World War II de Camp worked at the Philadelphia Naval Yard with fellow authors Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserve. De Camp was a materialist who wrote works examining society, history, technology and myth. He published numerous short stories, novels, non-fiction works and poems during his long career, which spanned 60 years and over 100 books; starting in the 1960s, his wife collaborated with him on many of his books. De Camp had the mind of an educator, and a common theme in many of his works is a corrective impulse regarding similar previous works by other authors. A highly rational and logical thinker, he was frequently disturbed by what he regarded as logical lapses and absurdities in others’ writings. De Camp’s science fiction is marked by a concern for linguistics and historical forces. He was best known for his light fantasy, and also known for his sword and sorcery works. De Camp also wrote historical fiction, works debunking doubtful history and pseudoscientific claims of the supernatural, and biographies of many key fantasy writers. He was the guest of honor at the 1966 World Science Fiction Convention and won the Nebula Award as a Grandmaster (1978) and the Hugo Award in 1997 for his autobiography, Time and Chance (died 2000): “It does not pay a prophet to be too specific.”
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