Daily Update: Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

John Paul II and 10-22 - Anniversary of the Creation of the Earth per Archbishop Ussher

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 23rd, 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 16th, 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. In October 2002 he added the Luminous Mysteries to the Rosary, to take into account Christ’s ministry. After a long illness he died on April 2nd, 2005. On June 28th, 2005 he was declared a Servant of God, on December 19th, 2009, he was proclaimed Venerable, and on May 1st, 2011, he was proclaimed Blessed. October 22nd 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 27th, 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 Maccabi Corum 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 23rd, 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; earlier this month we celebrated Rosh Hashanah 5777.)

I did my Book Devotional Reading and put out the LSU flag; when we left for work we realized that Michelle was sleeping in the guest room. I did my Internet Devotional Reading, and when we clocked in at work we attended the Pre-Shift Meeting. Richard was on Mini Baccarat all day; I was on Three Card Blackjack, closed that table, was on Flop Poker, closed that table, and spent the rest of the day on the second Mississippi Stud table.

When we got home I set up my medications for next week (nothing to renew on Monday; I will be calling the Pharmacist about my prescriptions on Wednesday) and ate my lunch salad while reading the morning paper. Richard left to go to the grocery, and I went to the Adoration Chapel to do my Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. During my Hour I finished reading the September 19th, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine, and when the husband of the couple who takes the hour after me came in at 1:30 pm, he said I was covered for vacation.

When I got home I went straight to bed; the Last Quarter Moon arrived at 2:16 pm, and I slept until 7:30 pm. I am now doing today’s Daily Update, and when I finish I will eat pizza and watch at least the first quarter of the Away College Football game between our #25 LSU Tigers (4-2, 2-1) and the #23 Ole Miss Rebels (3-3, 1-2); I will record the results of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time and the Optional Memorial of Saint John of Capistrano, Priest (died 1456). And because tomorrow is the second-to-last Sunday in October, tomorrow is World Mission Sunday. We will work our eight hours tomorrow at the casino, and our New Orleans Saints (2-3, 1-1) will play an NFL Away game with the Kansas City Chiefs (3-2, 2-0) in the early game.

Our Parting Quote this Saturday 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.”

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