Today is the the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, and as today February 2nd we celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life in the Church (we will celebrate the Day in the Parishes on Sunday). In the secular world, today is Groundhog Day.
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord celebrates the events of the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, when the infant Jesus was presented in the Temple of Jerusalem forty days after his birth to complete Mary’s ritual purification after childbirth and to perform the redemption of the firstborn son in obedience to the Law of Moses. In addition to being known as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, other traditional names include Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, and the Meeting of the Lord. Traditionally, this had been the last feast day in the Christian year that was dated by reference to Christmas; subsequent movable feasts are calculated with reference to Easter. The Western term “Candlemas” (or Candle Mass) referred to the practice whereby a priest on this date blessed beeswax candles for use throughout the year, some of which were distributed to the faithful for use in the home. Within the Roman Catholic Church, since the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, this feast has been referred to as the Feast of Presentation of the Lord, with the references to candles and the purification of Mary de-emphasised in favor of the Prophecy of Simeon the Righteous. Pope John Paul II connected this feast day with the renewal of religious vows, and in 1997 he instituted the World Day for Consecrated Life, a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. The World Day for Consecrated Life is celebrated today (February 2nd) in the Church, and will be celebrated again next Sunday in Parishes. Please pray for all those who have made commitments in the consecrated life, and be sure to thank them on their special day. May they continue to be inspired by Jesus Christ and respond generously to God’s gift of their vocation. Today is also Groundhog Day; according to folklore, if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day fails to see its shadow, it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter will soon end. If on the other hand, the groundhog sees its shadow, the groundhog will supposedly retreat into its burrow, and winter will continue for six more weeks. The holiday, which began as a Pennsylvania German custom in southeastern and central Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, has its origins in ancient European weather lore, wherein a badger or sacred bear is the prognosticator as opposed to a groundhog. The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where crowds as high as 40,000 have gathered to celebrate the holiday since at least 1886. (In SouthWestCentral Louisiana, we pay more attention to the prediction given by Pierre C. Shadeaux, the resident nutria in New Iberia; if he sees his shadeaux, we are in for a long hot summer, but if he does not see it and and roams around, we will have a long pleasant spring before summer arrives.)
Our LSU Women’s Basketball team lost their game with Auburn by the score of 53 t0 63; our Lady Tigers will next play a home game with #11 ranked Mississippi State on February 4th. And our New Orleans Pelicans lost their game with the Memphis Grizzlies by the score of 95 to 110. Finally, before he went to bed, Richard called the casino pencil to tell them not that he was calling in, but that he would not be in on Tuesday due to Jury Duty.
I woke up late this morning (not awakening until my 4th Backup Alarm), and woke up Richard to have him call the casino pencil that he would be out due to Jury Duty (I did not know that he had called before he went to bed). I drove myself to work, and signed the Early Out list. It was dead enough to hear crickets chirping on the casino floor; we had four or five extra dealers, and I got out with No Time. (Alas, due to all of the time I have put in for, for the rest of 2016, I cannot take PTO to fully cover me getting out early last Tuesday and today, as I only have four hours to work with. I arrived home at 4:00 am, and went back to bed.
By the time I woke up (again) at 8:15 am, Richard had left for Jury Duty in Opelousas. I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, did my Internet Devotional Reading, said the Ninth and Last Day of my Novena to Saint Blaise, and said the Second Day of my Lenten Novena. I then added some more Milestones to the bottom of my Weblog, reflecting various championship games and series for the teams I follow; I also added one for our November vacation. (My Four or Five Loyal Readers, not to mention my Army of Followers, know that I note when Early Voting occurs for various Louisiana elections; and since Richard and I will be on our Vacation on November 8th, we will do Early Voting to vote for President.)
Richard arrived home at 9:30 am, after they cut him loose (not having chosen him for one of the four panels they needed). He and I both put in to take PTO for May 1st and May 2nd, 2016 (May 1st is the last day of The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which we would like to attend, and we will need the next day to recover). I then read the morning paper while Richard talked to his sister Susan. I found, upon looking at the latest news on the Internet, that Pierre C. Shadeaux did not see his shadeaux, so we will have a long pleasant spring before the awesome heat and humidity of Deep Summer in Southwestcentral Louisiana. And I continued reading The Far Side of the World by Patrick O’Brian.
I left the house in my car at 11:15 am, and headed for Lafayette. At Piccadilly Cafeteria I ate lunch (and had my last Chocolate Pie before Lent starts) and continued reading Julian’s Gospel: Illuminating the Life & Revelations of Julian of Norwich by Veronica Mary Rolf. I then went to Crossroads Catholic Bookstore, where I got a framed print of Our Lady Undoer of Knots to put by the computer desk. I then headed home.
Arriving home at 2:30 pm, I caught up on some stuff on the computer, then E-filed our federal tax return for 2015 (I cannot print the Louisiana forms yet to mail; I will check next week on that). I then watched Jeopardy!, and came to the computer to do my Daily Update for today. Our LSU Men’s Basketball team is now playing an away game with Auburn, and I will give the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update. And once I finish this Daily Update I think I will go to bed early (or early for a Tuesday night).
Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr (died 316), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Ansgar, Bishop (died 865). And tomorrow is the anniversary of The Day The Music Died in 1959. I plan to wake up early to do my Daily Computer Maintenance and my laundry; that will leave my afternoon and evening free (except for doing my Daily Update) for when Callie and Amy and my granddaughter arrive at the house (they fly in tomorrow). And our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing an away game with the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow night.
Our Parting Quote on this evening of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord comes to us from Katoucha, Guinea-born French model. Born in 1960 as Katoucha Niane in Conakry, Guinea, she had a pleasant, privileged childhood until she was nine: her French-educated mother claimed to be taking her to the cinema to see the Beatles film Help!, but in fact had her undergo female circumcision in filthy conditions and without anesthetic, according to the local custom. Her family was forced into exile after her father, a prominent university historian, came into conflict with Guinean President, Sekou Toure. Living with an uncle in Mali, she rejoined her family in Dakar at age twelve. There she lived with the family of her paternal uncle, whose wife was private secretary to the President of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor. After marrying her husband at age seventeen and giving birth to her first child, they emigrated to France. It was there in the 1980s that she began modeling, first for Thierry Mugler, then for Paco Rabanne and Christian Lacroix, and became known as Yves Saint Laurent’s “muse.” She remained one of the best-known models in France and an icon in Guinea. Nicknamed “The Peul Princess” (in reference to her ethnic Fula background), she worked under the single name Katoucha for the rest of her life. She stopped modeling in 1994 to focus on activism; she was an outspoken activist against female circumcision and started the organization KPLCE – Katoucha pour la lutte contre l’excision (Katoucha for the battle against female circumcision). She turned her knowledge from years of being a model into her own clothes label, Katoucha, in 1995, but it did not have the mass appeal of that of her acolyte Naomi Campbell. In 2005 she worked as host of the French language television program France’s Next Top Model. In 2007 she published a book about her personal circumcision experience, Dans ma chair (In My Flesh), in France. Her only film role came in playing the title character Ramata in the film (released in 2009) adapted from the novel by Sengalese author Abbas Ndione. She was last seen alive when she returned to her houseboat in the Seine on February 1, 2008. Her purse was found untouched outside the door to her boat. Her body was found in the river on February 28, 2008; while her death was ruled to be accidental, her family suspected that she may have been the victim of foul play (died 2008): “I embodied the most arrogant and admired kind of femininity, I who was supposed to be diminished.”