Daily Update: Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Purim2 and 2nd Sunday of Lent and Rutilio Grande and 03-12 - World Day Against Cyber-Censorship and Daylight Savings Time Begins

The Jewish feast of Purim, which began last night at sunset, continues on this Second Sunday of Lent. Today is the Remembrance of Servant of God Rutilio Grande (died 1977). Today is the World Day Against Cyber-Censorship. And Daylight Savings Time begins today.

The Book of Esther in the Bible tells the story of how the Jews were saved from the machinations of the evil Haman by the initiative of Esther, the cousin of Mordecai (she had hidden her Jewish identity on the advice of her cousin when she became the Queen of King Ahasuerus of Persia). God is not mentioned at all in the Book of Esther (the Catholic version has extra material, originally written in Greek in the Septuagint, which mentions God extensively), so a tradition has risen of masquerading on Purim, to signify that God is ‘hidden’ behind all of the events in the story. During Purim it is traditional to serve triangular pastries called Hamantaschen (“Haman’s pockets” in Yiddish and Oznei Haman (“Haman’s ears”) in modern Hebrew, kreplach (a kind of dumpling filled with cooked meat, chicken or liver and served in soup), and seeds and nuts (as the Talmud tells us that Queen Esther ate only these foodstuffs in the palace of Ahasuerus, since she had no access to kosher foods). As Jewish holidays go, this is one of the most fun ones, as it celebrates the triumph of the Jews over the enemies, an event that has not happened that often in their history. Our Gospel reading for the Second Sunday of Lent is from Matthew 17:1-9, and is Matthew’s account of the Transfiguration. Today is the Remembrance of Servant of God Rutilio Grande (died 1977). Born in 1928 to a poor family in El Paisnal, El Salvador, his parents divorced when he was young and he was raised by his older brother and grandmother, a devout and strong Catholic woman. At the age of 12 Rutilio was noticed by Archbishop Luis Chavez y Gonzalez during his annual visit to their village and was invited to attend the high school seminary in San Salvador, the capital of the country. At the age of seventeen, following the final year of high school seminary (minor seminary), Grande entered the Jesuit process of formation called the novitiate. After two years in Caracas, where he became friends with Óscar Arnulfo Romero, a fellow student, he pronounced his vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and then traveled to Quito, Ecuador to study the humanities, which he completed in 1950. The following three years were spent as a professor in a minor seminary in El Salvador where he taught sacred history, history of the Americas, the history of El Salvador, and writing. Grande was ordained a priest in 1959, and went on to study abroad. In 1962 he went to Spain to complete studies left undone due to his physical and mental struggles and in 1963 he finished a course of studies on Vatican II and the new directions in pastoral ministry at the Lumen Vitae Institute in Brussels, Belgium. He was particularly influenced by his experiences of an inclusive liturgy which insisted upon the widest and deepest lay participation possible at that time. He returned to El Salvador in 1965 and was appointed director of social action projects at the seminary in San Salvador, a position he held for nine years. From 1965 to 1970 he was also prefect of discipline and professor of pastoral theology in the diocesan seminary. Grande served as prefect of theology from 1965 to 1966 in the major seminary. There he taught a variety of subject including liturgy, catechesis, pastoral theology, and introduction to the mystery of Christ (philosophy). He also fully utilized the social sciences in an effort to understand the reality within which he lived and ministered. During this time, Grande initiated a process of formation for seminarians which included pastoral “immersions” in the communities they would someday serve. This included time with people listening to their problems and their reality. This innovative aspect of formation lasted for a year or two, and then the Bishops asked that seminarians be sent back to their dioceses during their breaks so they could be supervised and relationships with the Bishop could be better established. Grande eventually had a falling out with the leadership of the seminary over his methods for formation and evangelization. He disagreed with the insistence that seminarians separate their intellectual formation from their pastoral formation. Grande wanted equilibrium between prayer, study and apostolic activity, and this equilibrium was not accepted by the traditional Church of El Salvador. Shortly after this falling out with Church leadership and reconciliation over his criticism of the seminary system, Grande attended the Latin American Pastoral Institute (IPLA) in Quito, Ecuador beginning in 1972. Attendance at this Institute was a turning point for Grande, for he was finally able to integrate Vatican II, the teaching of the Latin American Bishops, and his own reality in Salvador in a ministry that had explosive consequences. Upon his return to El Salvador in 1973 Grande embarked on a team-based Jesuit evangelization “Mission” to Aguilares, El Salvador. Deeply engaged in the lives of the people he served, Grande led with the Gospel but did not shy away from speaking on social and political issues, which had profound consequences for the Church. Grande could be credited with promoting a “pastoral” liberation ministry that began in scripture and allowed lay people in El Salvador to work for social transformation without resorting to Marxist analysis. He was prophetic on issues of land reform, the relationship of rich and poor, liturgical inclusiveness, workers’ rights and making the Catholic faith real for very poor people. He began to served in the parish of Aguilares off and on from 1967-1977. Grande was responsible, along with many other Jesuits, for establishing Christian base communities (CEBs, in Spanish) and training “Delegates of the Word” to lead them. Grande spoke against the injustices at the hands of an oppressive government, and dedicated his life’s work to organizing the impoverished, marginalized rural farmers of El Salvador as they demanded respect for their rights. Local landowners saw the organization of the peasants as a threat to their power. Father Grande challenged the government in its response to actions he saw as attempts to harass and silence Salvadoran priests. Grande was master of ceremonies at Romero’s installation as bishop of Santiago de María in 1975. Father Mario Bernal Londono, a Colombian priest serving in El Salvador, had been kidnapped January 28, 1977, allegedly by guerrillas, in front of the Apopa church near San Salvador, together with a parishioner who was safely released. Bernal was then deported by the Salvadoran government. On February 13th, 1977, Grande preached a sermon that came to be called “the Apopa sermon,” denouncing the government’s expulsion of Father Bernal. On March 12th, 1977, a car he was a passenger in, on the road from Aguilares to El Paisnal, was fired upon by another vehicle; Grande was killed, having been struck by twelve bullets, along with two other men in his car. His death had a profound impact on Archbishop Romero, who later stated, “When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, ‘If they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path’.” Romero conducted the funeral masses, and announced that he would not attend any state occasions nor meet with the president; both traditional activities for his longtime predecessor; until the death was investigated. As no investigation ever was conducted, this decision meant that Romero attended no state occasions whatsoever in his three years as archbishop. A monument, consisting of three black crosses in memory of the three people killed, framed by a wall, with one of Father Grande’s most well known quotes” Let’s all go to the banquet, to the table of creation. Each of us has a bench, a place, and a mission.” now marks the site of the murder. If you know of any miracles than can be attributed to Father Grande, please contact the Vatican. Today is the World Day Against Cyber-Censorship. The day was first observed on March 12th, 2008 at the request of Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International. The purpose of the day is to to rally support for a single, unrestricted Internet that is accessible to all and to draw attention to the ways that governments around the world are deterring and censoring free speech online. On this day, Reporters Without Borders awards an annual Netizen Prize that recognizes an Internet user, blogger, cyber-dissident, or group who has made a notable contribution to the defense of online freedom of expression. Finally, today begins Daylight Savings Time. We cannot praise (or blame) Benjamin Franklin for Daylight Savings Time; while he did write an anonymous essay to The Journal of Paris in 1784, his essay was satire, suggesting among other things that “Every morning, as soon as the sun rises, let all the bells in every church be set ringing; and if that is not sufficient?, let cannon be fired in every street, to wake the sluggards effectually, and make them open their eyes to see their true interest.” Historically, retailing, sports and tourism interests have favored daylight saving, while agricultural interests have opposed it, and its initial adoption has been prompted by energy crisis and war. Daylight saving time was established by the Standard Time Act of 1918, which was was intended to save electricity for seven months of the year, during World War I. DST was repealed in 1919 over a Presidential veto, but standard time in time zones remained in law, with the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) having the authority over time zone boundaries. Daylight time became a local matter. During World War II, Congress enacted the War Time Act (56 Stat. 9) on January 20th, 1942. Year-round DST was reinstated in the United States on February 9th, 1942, again as a wartime measure to conserve energy resources. This remained in effect until after the end of the war. The Amendment to the War Time Act (59 Stat. 537), enacted September 25th, 1945, ended DST as of September 30th, 1945. From 1945 to 1966 U.S. federal law did not address DST. States and cities were free to observe DST or not, and most places that did observe DST did so from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in September. The U.S. federal Uniform Time Act became law on April 13th, 1966 and it mandated that DST begin nationwide on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October, effective in 1967. Any state that wanted to be exempt from DST could do so by passing a state law, provided that it exempted the entire state, and Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Indiana, and Michigan chose to do so. However, Alaska, Indiana, and Michigan subsequently chose to observe DST. The law was amended in 1972 to permit states that straddle a time zone boundary to exempt the entire area of the state lying in one time zone. Indiana chose to exempt the portion of the state lying in the Eastern Time Zone; however, that exemption was eliminated in 2006 and the entire state of Indiana now observes DST, leaving Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Indian Reservation) and Hawaii as the only two states not to observe DST. In response to the 1973 energy crisis, DST in the United States began earlier in both 1974 and 1975, commencing on the first Sunday in January (January 6th) in the former year and the last Sunday in February (February 23rd) in the latter. The extension of daylight saving time was not continued due to public opposition to late sunrise times during the winter months. In 1976 the United States reverted to the schedule set in the Uniform Time Act.  On July 8th, 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1986 into law that contained a daylight saving rider authored by Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA). The starting date of DST was amended to the first Sunday in April effective in 1987. DST continued to end on the last Sunday in October. By the Energy Policy Act of 2005, DST was extended in the United States beginning in 2007. As of that year, DST begins on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November. (No matter whether it is CST or CDT, I always go to work in the dark.)

Yesterday our #6 ranked LSU Tigers won their College Baseball game with the Wichita State Shockers by the score of 12 to 5. The College Softball game between our #12 ranked LSU Lady Tigers and the Auburn Tigers was postponed (more anon). And our New Orleans Pelicans in an NBA game beat the Charlotte Hornets by the score of 125 to 122 in overtime; our New Orleans Pelicans (26-40, 3-9) will next play a Home NBA game with the Portland Trail Blazers (28-36, 7-3) on Tuesday, March 14th, 2017.

I woke up an hour early, did my Book Devotional Reading, posted to Facebook that today was the beginning of Daylight Savings Time and posted to Facebook that today was the World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, changed the time on my watches, and changed the time on all of our time keeping devices that needed to be changed. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. We clocked in at 2:00 am CST (3:00 am CDT). Richard was on the second Pai Gow table, closed that table, and was on Macau Mini Baccarat, which became a regular Mini Baccarat table. I was on the regular Mini Baccarat table, closed that table, and became the Relief Dealer for Pai Gow, Mini Baccarat, and Three Card Blackjack. The Full Moon arrived at 10:55 am, just before we ended our shift.

On our way home we got gas for the car at Valero, and Richard dropped checks to pay the in-town bills in the drop boxes at City Hall (for our gas bill) and at our water provider. When we got home I read the Sunday papers. Richard then went next door to eat crawfish with our neighbor; I was (and am) tired, and he said he would make my excuses for me. So once I finish this Daily Update I will go to bed for the duration. Our #12 LSU Lady Tigers (18-5, 0-0) are playing the first game of an Away doubleheader College Softball game with the Auburn Lady Tigers (21-2, 0-0), our #6 LSU Tigers (11-4, 0-0) will be playing a Home College Baseball game with the Wichita State Shockers, and our #12 LSU Lady Tigers will play the second game of an Away doubleheader College Softball game with the Auburn Lady Tigers.

We have no Saints to honor tomorrow; and we note that in 1997 strange, eerie lights (cue spooky music) were seen over Phoenix, Arizona. And tomorrow Early Voting for the Municipal Primary Election on March 25th will continue. Richard and I will work our eight hours at the casino, and I will try to do some reading on my breaks. In the afternoon we will probably watch another MST3K Episode or two.

Our Parting Quote this afternoon of the Second Sunday of Lent comes to us from Terry Pratchett, English fantasy author. Born as David John Pratchett in 1948 in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England, he wrote his first short story, “Business Rivals”, in his high school magazine in 1962. His initial career choice was journalism and he left school at age seventeen in 1965 to start working for the Bucks Free Press, where he wrote, among other things, several stories for the Children’s Circle section under the name Uncle Jim. His first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971. After various positions in journalism, in 1980 Pratchett became Press Officer for the Central Electricity Generating Board in an area which covered four nuclear power stations. After his first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983, he wrote two books a year on average. Pratchett gave up working for the CEGB to make his living through writing in 1987, after finishing the fourth Discworld novel, Mort. He won the British Science Fiction Award in 1989 for his novel Pyramids. Pratchett, with more than 85 million books sold worldwide in 37 languages, was the United Kingdom’s best-selling author of the 1990s. Pratchett was the British Book Awards’ Fantasy and Science Fiction Author of the Year for 1994. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1998. In 2001 he won the annual Carnegie Medal for The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, the first Discworld book marketed for children. Night Watch won the 2003 Prometheus Award for best libertarian novel. In 2003 the BBC conducted The Big Read to identify the “Nation’s Best-loved Novel” and finally published a ranked list of the “Top 200”, with the winner being The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Pratchett’s highest-ranking novel was Mort, number 65, but he and Charles Dickens were the only authors with five in the Top 100 (four of his were from the Discworld series). He also led all authors with fifteen novels in the Top 200. In August 2007 Pratchett was told that had a minor stroke in 2004 or 2005, which doctors believed had damaged the right side of his brain. While his motor skills were affected, the observed damage had not impaired his ability to write. In December 2007 Pratchett posted online that he had been newly diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, which had been responsible for the “stroke”. He had a rare form of the disease, posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), in which areas at the back of the brain begin to shrink and shrivel. In March 2008, Pratchett announced he would donate $1,000,000 (about £494,000) to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, and in April 2008 Pratchett worked with the BBC to make a two-part documentary series about his illness, Terry Pratchett: Living With Alzheimer’s. The documentary won a BAFTA award in the Factual Series category. Pratchett won a Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel in 2008 for Making Money. He was knighted for services to literature in the 2009 New Year Honours; his motto on his official Arms was Noli Timere Messorem (Don’t Fear the Reaper). He was made an adjunct Professor in the School of English at Trinity College Dublin in 2010, with a role in postgraduate education in creative writing and popular literature. His 2011 Discworld novel Snuff was at the time of its release the third-fastest-selling hardback adult-readership novel since records began in the UK, selling 55,000 copies in the first three days. In 2011 Pratchett sponsored a biennial award for unpublished science fiction novelists, the Terry Pratchett First Novel Award, with a contract with Transworld (his publisher) as the reward. His final Discworld novel, The Shepherd’s Crown, was published in August 2015, five months after his death; Pratchett’s daughter is the current custodian of the Discworld franchise, and has stated on several occasions that she has no plans to publish any of her father’s unfinished work, or to continue the Discworld on her own (died 2015): “Imagination, not intelligence, made us human.”

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