Today is the Feast of the Chair of Peter. Today we also celebrate the birthday of George Washington, who served as the commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783 and who then served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797.
Early martyrologies indicate that two liturgical feasts were celebrated in Rome in honor of physical cathedral chairs associated with Saint Peter, one of which was kept in the baptismal chapel of Saint Peter’s Basilica, the other at the catacomb of Priscilla. The dates of these celebrations were January 18th and February 22nd. No surviving chair has been identified with either of these chairs. (The cathedra in Saint Peter’s Basilica was often thought to have been used by Saint Peter himself, but was in fact a gift from the Holy Roman Emperor Charles the Bald to Pope John VIII in 875. It is now enclosed in the Cathedra Petri by Bernini in St. Peter’s Basilica.) The feasts thus became associated with an abstract understanding of the “Chair of Peter”, which by synecdoche signifies the episcopal office of the Pope as Bishop of Rome, an office considered to have been first held by Saint Peter, and thus extended to the diocese, the See of Rome. Though both feasts were originally associated with Saint Peter’s stay in Rome, the ninth-century form of the Martyrologium Hieronymianum associated the January 18th feast with his stay in Rome, and the February 22th feast with his stay at Antioch. In the year 1960 Pope John XXIII removed from the General Roman Calendar eight feast days that were second feasts of a single saint or mystery: one of them was the January 18th feast of the Chair of Peter, leaving the February 22th date as the only Feast of the Chair of Peter. Today we also celebrate the birthday of George Washington, who served as the commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783 and who then served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. A Federal Holiday titled Washington’s Birthday honoring George Washington was originally implemented by the United States Congress in 1880 for government offices in the District of Columbia and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22th. On January 1st, 1971, the Federal Holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act; most calendars now call this Federal holiday Presidents Day. It always falls between February 15th and 21st, and never lands on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22nd. (Sorry, George; even if we go by your birth date on the Julian calendar in effect when you were born, Presidents Day can never be as early as February 11th.)
Last night our LSU Tigers lost their first College Baseball game of the year to the University of New Orleans Privateers, by the score of 8 to 11.
I woke up at 8:30 am, feeling very down because of the cold that I have been fighting since Sunday. (It really does not matter if one fights or not; if you take meds and such, it will go away in seven days, but if you do nothing, it hangs on for a week.) I did my Book Devotional Reading and then read the morning paper. I had started the Weekly Computer Maintenance; when that finished I started the Weekly Virus Scan. Richard at 11:00 am asked if I wanted to get something for an early lunch, as he had to go to Wal-Mart to get stuff to fix one of the commodes, but I was deeply dragging, and instead took some Equate Nighttime cold meds and took a nap. I woke up at 5:00 pm; the Weekly Virus Scan had finished. Richard made me some soup, and I am now doing today’s Daily Update; when I finish I will do my usual Wednesday maintenance I do on my phone, then take some more cold meds and go to bed. Our #4 ranked LSU Tigers will be playing a Home Baseball game with the Hofstra Pride this evening; I will post the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.
Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr (died c. 155). (He will be the last Saint we honor on the calendar until March 3rd, although we will have one Sunday and one Moveable Feast in the meantime.) Richard will take Lele to Lafayette for her doctor’s appointment in our car, and I will do my laundry. I will also iron my Casino pants, apron, and shirts, and go to the store to get my salad supplies and make my lunch salad for Friday and Sunday. Our #8 LSU Lady Tigers will be playing a College Softball game with the New Mexico State Lady Aggies in Cathedral City, California, followed by a College Softball game with the Bethune-Cookman Lady Wildcats. Our LSU Lady Tigers (18-9, 7-7) will be playing an Away College Basketball game with the Auburn Lady Tigers (15-12, 5-8). And our New Orleans Pelicans (23-34, 3-6) will be playing a home NBA game with the Houston Rockets (40-18, 7-4).
Our Parting Quote on this Wednesday evening comes to us from Anthony Burger, American musician and singer. Born in 1961 in Cleveland, Tennessee, at the age of eight months he was using a baby walker and fell into onto a hot heating duct grate on the floor of his house. He suffered third degree burns on his hands, face and legs, and the doctor told his parents he was very likely to not be able to move his hands in the future. Despite the odds, Burger recovered, and at the age of five he was accepted at the Cadek Conservatory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A child prodigy, Burger was playing classical piano repertoire within a few years. His first recording, Anthony Burger At The Lowry Organ, was released in 1975 when he was 14 years old. He joined the Kingsmen Quartet, an American Christian music group, while still a teen and remained with them until 1992. During that time Burger recorded nineteen albums with the group, was invited to perform at the White House, and was voted the Favorite Pianist in the Singing News Fan Awards for an unprecedented ten years. The award was renamed the Anthony Burger Award for several years after that; during this period, Burger presented the award to the winner each year, but was ineligible to receive it. In 1992 Burger left the Kingsmen Quartet to pursue a career as a solo pianist. He joined the Gaither Homecoming Tour the following year (organized, promoted and usually presented by Christian music songwriter and impresario Bill Gaither) and was featured on more than sixty-five Gaither Homecoming videos. Burger continued to release piano solo recordings and headline concerts, but his solo schedule was balanced by about 80 Gaither Homecoming dates per year. Adding even more variety to his schedule, Burger formed an impromptu sideline group with Ivan Parker and Kirk Talley around 1998 called The Trio. The group performed at several events each year. (Shane Dunlap later replaced Parker.) Burger was known throughout his career to take every opportunity to tell of how God healed his hands and how playing the piano was his way of praising God. During the course of his career Anthony teamed up with gospel Sax-Man Dan Traxler and the duo was well on their way to establishing yet another pinnacle in his already impressive career. The Hazelton Brothers piano company honored Burger just after the turn of the century when they began offering an “Anthony Burger Signature” model. Then in late 2005 Steinway & Sons announced that Burger was being added to their exclusive roster of endorsing artists, making him the first Southern Gospel pianist to ever hold that honor. In 2006 he was performing aboard the MS Zeuiderdam, a cruise ship chartered for a Gaither Gospel Cruise. According to eyewitnesses, Burger was accompanying Bill and Gloria Gaither and Guy Penrod on the song “Hear My Song, Lord” when fans in the audience noticed Burger had ceased moving, his hands clenched into fists over the keyboard. Several fellow artists carried him backstage, where the cruise ship’s emergency response team futilely performed CPR for about 45 minutes (died 2006): “I am a simple man, with a majestic instrument and the power of God behind me.”