Today is the Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest (died 1859). Today is also Coast Guard Day.
Today’s Saint was born into a farm family in 1786 in Dardilly, Lyons, France, and in his youth taught other children their prayers and catechism. Until 1802 he had to make his progress in the Church secretly, due to the French Revolution; when he had his First Communion the windows were covered so that the light of the candles would not be seen from outside. His studies were interrupted when he was drafted into Napoleon’s armies. He should have been exempt, as an ecclesiastical student, but Napoleon had withdrawn the exemption in certain dioceses because of his need for soldiers in his fight against Spain. Two days after he had to report at Lyons, he became ill and was hospitalized, during which time his draft left without him. Once released from the hospital, on January 5th, 1810, he was sent to Roanne for another draft. He went into a church to pray, and fell behind the group. He met a young man who volunteered to guide him back to his group, but instead led him deep into the mountains of Le Forez, to the village Les Noes, where deserters had gathered. Vianney lived there for fourteen months, hidden in the byre attached to a farmhouse; he assumed the name Jerome Vincent, and under that name he opened a school for village children. An Imperial decree proclaimed in March 1810 granted amnesty to all deserters, which enabled Vianney to go back legally to Ecully, where he resumed his studies. He was ordained in 1815, though it took several years of study as he had little education, was not a very good student, and his Latin was terrible. First assigned as a parochial vicar to Ecully, France, in 1818 he was assigned to the parish of Ars-sur-Formans, France, a tiny village near Lyons, which suffered from very lax attendance. He began visiting his parishioners, especially the sick and poor, spent days in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, did penance for his parishioners, and attempted to lead his people by example. He was reputed to have the gifts of discernment of spirits, prophecy, hidden knowledge, and of working miracles. Vianney came to be known internationally, and people from distant places began traveling to consult him as early as 1827. He spent at least 11 or 12 hours a day in the confessional during winter, and up to 16 in the summer; by 1855, the number of pilgrims had reached twenty thousand a year. He is the Patron Saint of priests and of confessors. Today is also Coast Guard Day, commemorating the founding of the United States Coast Guard (as the Revenue Cutter Service) on August 4th, 1790 by then Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. The Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, and can be transferred to the Department of the Navy by the President or Congress during time of war. The Coast Guard’s enduring roles are Maritime Safety, Maritime Security, and Maritime Stewardship. The motto of the Service is ”Semper Paratus”, Latin for “Always Ready” or “Always Prepared”, and to honor the Day I always put out my flag.
I awoke today at 7:45 am, posted to Facebook that today was Coast Guard Day, did my Book Devotional Reading, and put out my flag. I then ate my breakfast toast and read the Thursday papers. I then came to the computer and did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Eighth Day of my Transfiguration Novena. I then wrote a letter to Matthew and Callie; after Richard added his Deep Thoughts I put it out in the mail. I then called my Pharmacy regarding my prescriptions from my Psych; they could not find any prescriptions on hold, so I told them to call my Psych’s office and to talk to the person I talked to in person yesterday. I then called my Ob/Gyn’s office; they cannot do anything with the prescription from them that my insurance denied until after I have my next appointment with them; we scheduled my next appointment for Thursday, August 18th at 11:45 am. I then got a call back from my Pharmacy that they had found the hold prescriptions, and that my prescriptions were ready to be picked up. I worked on my Genealogy, and then did a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog. I got a text message that my parish was under a Heat Advisory until 7:00 pm (the first this year), and Richard went to take a nap at about 12:30 pm.
I headed out at 1:00 pm for Wal-Mart, and purchased my salad supplies and other household and grocery items. I arrived home at 2:00 pm, and updated my Daily Update for today. I then made my lunch salads for Saturday and Sunday, and felt my back spasm when I unloaded the dishwasher. I then Bluetoothed photos from Richard’s phone to my phone. Richard woke up, and told me that he had gotten a text from Michelle saying that she would not be able to eat dinner with us, as her roommate Katie’s air conditioner had died, and they had to go to Alexandria to get one from one of Katie’s friends. I watched Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm, and at 5:00 pm Richard and I left the house. We went to D.I’s Cajun Restaurant in Basile, where I quite happily ate six barbequed crabs (and they were to die for). We got back home at 6:45 pm, and I am now finishing up today’s Daily Update; and when I am done, I will get ready to go to bed.
Tomorrow is the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (fifth century). Since tomorrow is the First Friday of August, tomorrow is International Beer Day. The Games of the XXXI Olympiad begin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with the Opening Ceremonies. However, there were Football (Soccer to us here in the US) competitions on Wednesday and today and tomorrow there are also competitions in Archery. And tomorrow is also the start of the two-day Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday that happens each year on the first and second consecutive Friday and Saturday in August. Finally, tomorrow is the birthday of Richard’s grand niece Hannah (the granddaughter of his sister Bonnie in Texas) (1991). We will return to the casino for the beginning of our work week (I do hope that my back will cooperate), and on my breaks I will start reading Quicksand House by Carlton Mellick III via my Kindle app on my Galaxy Tab E. After work I will pick up my prescriptions at the Pharmacy. In the afternoon I will upload the July 2016 photos from my phone to the computer. I should do my First Friday devotions, but I doubt that I will; and I will probably not go to the Annual Mass of Petition for Charlene Richard tomorrow evening.
Our Thursday afternoon Parting Quote come to us from Jim Brady, American Presidential assistant and White House Press Secretary. Born as James Brady in 1940 in Centralia, Illinois, he graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a member of Sigma Chi with a Bachelor of Science in political science in 1962. He began his career in public service as a staff member in the office of Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen (R-IL). In 1964 he was the campaign manager for Wayne Jones of Paris, Illinois in the race for United States Congressman in the 23rd District. He again directed a campaign in the 23rd Illinois Congressional District in 1970 for Phyllis Schlafly. He went on to hold various positions in the private sector and in government, including service as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development James Thomas Lynn, Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, and member of the staff of Senator William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE). He also served as Press Secretary to then-presidential candidate John Connally in 1979. After Connally dropped out of the race, he eventually became Director of Public Affairs and Research for the Reagan-Bush Committee and then Spokesperson for the Office of the President-Elect. After Reagan took office in 1981, Brady became White House Press Secretary. On March 30th, 1981 Brady was among the four people shot during John Hinckley, Jr.’s attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, suffering a serious head wound. During the confusion that followed the shooting, all major media outlets except CNN erroneously reported that Brady had died. When ABC News anchorman Frank Reynolds, one of Brady’s friends, was later forced to retract the report, he angrily said on-air to his staff, “C’mon, let’s get it nailed down!”, resulting in Sam Donaldson joining him after the commercial. During the hours-long operation, surgeon Dr. Arthur Kobrine was informed of the media’s announcement of Brady’s death, to which he retorted, “No one has told me and the patient.” Although Brady survived, the wound left him with slurred speech and partial paralysis that required the full-time use of a wheelchair. Kobrine, his neurosurgeon, described him as having difficulty controlling his emotions while speaking after the shooting, saying “he would kind of cry-talk for a while”, and suffering deficits in memory and thinking, such as failing to recognize people. Brady was unable to work as the White House Press Secretary but remained in the position until the end of the Reagan Administration with Larry Speakes and Marlin Fitzwater performing the job on an “acting” or “deputy” basis. With his wife Sarah (his second wife, whom he married in 1973), who served as Chair of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly known as Handgun Control, Inc., co-founded by N.T. “Pete” Shields), Brady subsequently lobbied for stricter handgun control and assault weapon restrictions. The 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, also known as “the Brady Bill”, was named in his honor. Brady’s recovery after the shooting was dramatized in the 1991 film Without Warning: The James Brady Story, with Brady portrayed by Beau Bridges. Brady received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from McKendree College, Lebanon, Illinois, in 1982. He and his wife were each awarded a doctorate degree (of Humane Letters) by Drexel University in 1993. In 1994 they received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards. Brady received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 from President Bill Clinton, the highest civilian award in the United States. In 2000 the Press Briefing Room at the White House was renamed as the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room (died 2014): “[I remember] as little as possible. I’ve worked very hard at forgetting as much about that as I possibly can. But I’ve not been able to do it … once you’ve been shot in the head, it’s hard to forget.”