Daily Update: Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Corpus Christ and Indianapolis 500 2016

Today is the date when the American church celebrates the Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). And since today is the day before Memorial Day, today is the running of the Indianapolis 500 (and the celebration of the 10oth running, but not the 100th anniversary, of the race).

The Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ honors the Eucharist, which believers hold to be the actual body and blood of Christ, and as such it does not commemorate a particular event in Jesus’ life. At the end of the Mass for this Solemnity, it is customary to have a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament (often outdoors), followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Until the two feasts were combined in 1970, separate feasts existed for the Body of Christ, held on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, and for the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, with a feast on July 1st. And until 1955 the Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) was followed by a privileged octave; not only on the eighth day from the feast but on all the intervening days, the liturgy was the same as on the feast itself, with exactly the same prayers and Scripture readings (except for certain highly ranked feasts). The traditional date of the Feast is on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday; in the American church and some other jurisdictions, it is held on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday, and thus on the Second Sunday after Pentecost. Starting next Sunday, the Sundays will be numbered by Ordinal Numbers (unless that Sunday is a superseding Feast) until the First Sunday of Advent, four Sundays before Christmas. The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, also known as the Indianapolis 500, the 500 Miles at Indianapolis, the Indy 500 or The 500, is an American automobile race, held annually on the Sunday before Memorial Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The event lends its name to the IndyCar class, or formula, of open-wheel race cars that have competed in it. In 1911 the winner of the inaugural race was Ray Harroun, with his Marmon Model 32 car, going an average of 74.602 miles per hour, the slowest winner in the race’s history; at that speed, it took him over six and a half hours to drive 500 miles to win the race . The race was not run for two years during World War I, and not run for four years during World War II (which is why the 2016 race is the 100th running of the race, but not the 100th Anniversary). A. J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears are tied as drivers with the most wins (with four wins each), and Team Penske is the owner with the most wins (at 16). Driver Louis Meyer requested a glass of buttermilk after winning his second Indy 500 race in 1933. After winning his third title in 1936, he requested another glass but instead received a bottle. He was captured by a photographer in the act of swigging from the bottle while holding up three fingers to signify the third win. A local dairy company executive recognized the marketing opportunity in the image and, being unaware Meyer was drinking buttermilk, offered a bottle of milk to the winners of future races. Milk has been presented each year since then (apart from 1947 to 1955). Modern drivers are offered a choice of whole, 2%, and skim. Four drivers (one in 1931, one in 1941, and two in 1949) finished the race without making a single pit stop; the highest finish any of those four cars made was fifth place. In 1966 only seven cars finished the race. The first woman driver in the race was Janet Guthrie in 1977. At the 1993 Indianapolis 500, winner Emerson Fittipaldi, who owned and operated an orange grove, notoriously drank orange juice instead of milk during the televised winner’s interview. He eventually relented and also drank from the milk bottle later in the post-race ceremonies after the broadcast was over, but the public relations damage had been done. The snub led to him being booed at the next ChampCar race in Milwaukee, Wisconsin the heart of dairy country, and by some, as late as the 2008 Indianapolis 500 in which he drove the pace car.  The best place held at the end of a race by a woman is 4th by Danica Patrick in 2005. Tony Kanaan won the race in 2013, completing the 500 miles at an average speed of 187.433 mph, which sets the record for the fastest average winning speed.

Yesterday afternoon our #7 ranked and #5 seeded LSU Tigers lost their semifinal game in the SEC College Baseball Tournament with #4 ranked and #4 seeded Florida by the score of 0 to 1; our Tigers will play next in the Super Regional (place, time, and opponent as yet undetermined) for the College World Series on Friday.

I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. I then got yelled at by Richard, when I said that LSU was not playing today; he had seen on his Tiger Droppings board online (which I regard as having the same level of truthiness as a Ouija board) that they were going to play Mississippi State today. When we got to the casino, he checked his boards and found that they meant that LSU will probably play Mississippi State in the CSW Super Regionals. He did apologize to me; he then started watching and listening to some YouTube videos, and before we clocked in, I reminded him that it is very annoying to play YouTube videos (or any other kind) in public with the sound turned up high. (That is the kind of thing, if he was in a Metro car in D.C., that would get his phone tossed out the window.) It was a Heavy Business Volume Day (the first of two, for the Memorial Day Weekend) at the casino when we clocked in on this last day of the pay period. Richard was on the $5.00 Minimum Bet Blackjack table, and I was the breaker for Macau Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow (with Flop Poker added to my string, only once). For most of the day on Pai Gow we had a semi-regular guest who (as usual) kept channeling Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet; I usually do not mind him, but I was at one point wishing I had never heard of Dennis Hopper. And the Last Quarter Moon arrived at 7:14 am.

On our way home Richard stopped at Wal-Mart for some flea stuff to put on Bobby Brown; I asked him if he needed earbuds or headphones to take to work with him, and he said no. When we got home I read the Sunday papers, then I got on the computer to do today’s Daily Update. When I am finished with this Daily Update I will head for bed; I will record the winner of the Indianapolis 500 in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Joan of Arc, Virgin and Martyr (died 1431). Tomorrow is also the traditional date of Memorial Day, and as tomorrow is the last Monday in May, it will also be the observance of Memorial Day. I will be able to wear a patriotic shirt to work (in lieu of my Dealer Shirt) tomorrow for the holiday. It will be the second of two Heavy Business Volume Days at the casino for the Memorial Day Weekend, and it will be a Paid Holiday for us (time and a half for our hours worked) for the first day of the current pay period. I am hoping that tomorrow will be a better day at work than today, so that I can do my Walking Exercise after work. And the National Moment of Remembrance will be at 3:00 pm local time. Also, tomorrow night the seedings and schedule will be released for the Super Regionals of the College World Series.

Our Parting Quote on this Sunday afternoon comes to us from Andrew Greeley, American Roman Catholic priest, sociologist, journalist and popular novelist. Born in 1928 in Oak Park, Illinois, he grew up in a large Irish Catholic family during the Great Depression in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood; by the second grade he knew that he wanted to be a priest. After studying at Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago, Greeley received an AB degree from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Chicago in 1950, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) in 1952, and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) in 1954, when he was ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago. From 1954 to 1964 Greeley served as an assistant pastor at Christ the King parish in Chicago, during which time he studied sociology at the University of Chicago. His first book, The Church in the Suburbs (1958), was drawn from notes a sociology professor had encouraged him to take describing his experiences. He received a Master of Arts in 1961 and a PhD in 1962. His doctoral dissertation dealt with the influence of religion on the career plans of 1961 college graduates. As a sociologist, he published a large number of influential academic works during the 1960s and 1970s, including Unsecular Man: The Persistence of Religion (1972) and The American Catholic: A Social Portrait (1977). Over the course of his career, he authored more than 70 scholarly books, largely focusing on the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. His early work challenged the widespread assumption that Catholics had low college attendance rates, showing that white Catholics were in fact more successful than other whites in obtaining college undergraduate and graduate degrees, which he attributed to what he called the high-quality education Catholics received in parochial schools. He also studied how religion influenced the political behavior of ethnic Catholics, and he was one of the first scholars to document the sociological effects of the Second Vatican Council’s reforms on American Catholics. At various times, Greeley was a professor at the University of Arizona, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago. He was denied tenure by the University of Chicago in 1973, despite having been a faculty member there for a decade and having published dozens of books; he attributed the denial to anti-Catholic prejudice, although a colleague said his cantankerous temperament was more to blame. He would eventually be granted tenure by the university. In the early 1970s the U.S. bishops commissioned him to write a profile of the American priesthood. He completed a two-year survey in 1972, reporting that dissatisfaction among the priests was widespread; but the bishops rejected his findings. Greeley’s sociological work was also viewed with suspicion by some of his fellow clerics, and his Archbishop (later Cardinal), John Cody, denied Greeley’s request for a parish ministry. Greeley criticized Cody, calling him a “madcap tyrant,” when Cody closed a number of inner-city schools. As described by John L. Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, Greeley became fascinated with what has been called the Catholic “analogical imagination,” the idea that “visible, tangible things in the created order serve as metaphors for the divine, as opposed to the more textual and literal religious sensibility of Protestants and others.” Greeley believed that it was this viewpoint that had led the Church to be a pre-eminent patron of the arts through the centuries, allowing it to communicate through artistic imagery spiritual concepts that doctrinal texts alone could not. His appreciation for the spiritual power of art inspired him to begin writing works of fiction. Greeley’s literary output was such it was said that he “never had an unpublished thought.” He published his first novel, The Magic Cup, in 1975, a fantasy tale about a young king who would lead Ireland from paganism to Christianity. In 1978 he wrote a non-fiction work, The Making of the Popes. A second novel, Death in April, was published in 1980. His third novel, The Cardinal Sins (1981), was his first work of fiction to become a major commercial success (and the only one of his books that I have read). As one reviewer put it, The Cardinal Sins “did for the Catholic Church what The Godfather did for the mafia.” The novel’s principal characters were both priests, one a writer-sociologist (like Greeley), and the other a cardinal who had broken the vow of celibacy. At the time of the book’s release, Chicago’s cardinal, John Cody, was the subject of allegations of having diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Church to a mistress. Church officials accused Greeley of using the novel to attack Cardinal Cody, although Greeley denied the charges. The Cardinal Sins was followed by the Passover trilogy: Thy Brother’s Wife (1982), Ascent into Hell (1983), and Lord of the Dance (1984). Thereafter, he wrote a minimum of two novels per year on average. In 1987 alone he produced four novels and two works of non-fiction. The explicit treatment of sexuality in Greeley’s novels was a source of controversy for some. At the height of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal, Greeley wrote The Priestly Sins (2004), a novel about a young priest who is exiled to an insane asylum and then to an academic life because he reports abuse that he has witnessed. His book The Making of the Pope (2005) (a followup to his 1978 book The Making of the Popes) was a first-hand account of the coalition-building process by which the conservative Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger ascended to the papacy as Benedict XVI. Greeley also dabbled in science fiction, writing the novels God Game (1986) and The Final Planet (1987). Politically, Greeley was an outspoken critic of the George W. Bush administration and the Iraq War, and a strong supporter of immigration rights. His book entitled A Stupid, Unjust, and Criminal War: Iraq 2001–2007 (2007) (his last sociological work) was critical of the rush by the Bush administration to start the Iraq War and the consequences of that war for the United States. Greeley was probably the best-selling priest in history, with an estimated 250,000 readers who would buy almost every novel he published, probably generating at least $110 million in gross income by 1999. He was able to live comfortably in Chicago’s John Hancock Center, but he donated most of his earnings to the Church and other charities. Greeley’s column on political, church and social issues appeared each Friday in the Chicago Sun-Times and each Sunday in the Daily Southtown, a southwest suburban Chicago newspaper published by the Sun-Times Media Group. In 1984 he contributed $1 million to endow a chair in Roman Catholic Studies at the University of Chicago. In 1986 he established a $1 million private educational fund for scholarships and financial support to inner-city schools in the Chicago Archdiocese with a minority student body of more than 50%. He had originally offered the donation to the Archdiocese, but the Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, had declined the gift without ever publicly offering an explanation. In 2003 the Archdiocese accepted the $420,000 that still remained in the fund to bolster a newly established Catholic Schools Endowment Fund, providing scholarships for low-income students and for raising teachers’ salaries in the Archdiocese’s schools. Greeley also funded an annual lecture series, “The Church in Society”, at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois, where he had earned his S.T.L. in 1954. In 2008 he donated several thousand dollars to the 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama, who was then serving as a U.S. Senator representing Illinois, although Greeley predicted that racism would lead to Obama’s defeat. He was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Arizona, Bard College (New York State) and the National University of Ireland, Galway. Greeley suffered skull fractures in a fall in 2008 when his clothing got caught on the door of a taxi as it pulled away; he was hospitalized in critical condition. He remained in poor health for the rest of his life; his last novel, Home for Christmas, was published in 2009, and he kept up his newspaper articles until his death (died 2013): “I’m a priest, pure and simple…. The other things I do — sociological research, my newspaper columns, the novels I write — are just my way of being a priest. I decided I wanted to be one when I was a kid growing up on the West Side. I’ve never wavered or wanted to be anything but.”

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