Daily Update: Friday, March 24th, 2017

Day of Abstinence and Oscar Romero

Today is a Friday in Lent, so today is a Day of Abstinence from Meat. And today is the Optional Memorial of Blessed Óscar Romero, Bishop (died 1980).

Each Friday in Lent is a Day of Abstinence from Meat. (Long ago, when I was in school, we would joke that the school cafeteria hamburgers had so much soy in them that they could be eaten on Fridays in Lent.) Today’s Blessed was born as Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez in 1917 in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador; he entered public school, which only offered grades one through three, then was privately tutored until age twelve or thirteen. Throughout this time he also was a carpentry apprentice to his father. In 1942 Romero was ordained a Catholic priest in Rome, and remained in Italy to obtain a doctoral degree in theology which specialized in ascetical theology. The next year, without finishing his degree, he was summoned back home from Fascist Italy by his bishop at age 27. Romero began working as a parish priest in Anamorós but then moved to San Miguel where he worked for over 20 years. He promoted various apostolic groups, started an Alcoholics Anonymous group, helped in the construction of San Miguel’s cathedral, and supported devotion to the Virgin of the Peace. He was later appointed Rector of the inter-diocese seminary in San Salvador. In 1966 he began his public life when chosen to be the Secretary of the Episcopal Conference for El Salvador. He also became the director of the archdiocesan newspaper Orientación, which became fairly conservative while he was editor, defending the traditional magisterium of the Catholic Church. In 1970 he was appointed auxiliary bishop to San Salvador Archbishop Luis Chávez, a move not welcomed by the more progressive members of the Priesthood in El Salvador. He took up his appointment as Bishop of the Diocese of Santiago de María in December 1975. On February 23rd, 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador. His appointment was met with surprise, dismay, and even incredulity; while this appointment was welcomed by the government, many priests were disappointed, especially those openly aligning with Marxism. The Marxist priests feared that his conservative reputation would negatively affect liberation theology’s commitment to the poor. Less than a month later, on March 12th, progressive Jesuit priest Rutilio Grande, who had been creating self-reliance groups among the poor campesinos, was assassinated. His death had a profound impact on Romero, who was a close personal friend to Grande; he urged Arturo Armando Molina’s government to investigate, but his request was ignored, and the censored press said nothing.  In response to Fr. Rutilio’s murder, the Archbishop revealed a radicalism that had not been evident earlier, and spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture. As a result he began to be noticed internationally. In 1979 the Revolutionary Government Junta came to power amidst a wave of human rights abuses by paramilitary right-wing groups and the government. Romero criticized the United States for giving military aid to the new government. In February 1980 he was given an honorary doctorate by the Catholic University of Leuven. On his visit to Europe to receive this honor he met Pope John Paul II and expressed his concerns at what was happening in his country. He argued that it was problematic to support the Salvadoran government because it legitimized terror and assassinations. Romero was shot by an M-16 assault rifle wielded by assassins believed to be members of a death squad on March 24th, 1980, while celebrating Mass at a small chapel located in a hospital called “La Divina Providencia”, one day after a sermon where he had called on Salvadoran soldiers, as Christians, to obey God’s higher order and to stop carrying out the government’s repression and violations of basic human rights. According to an audio-recording of the Mass, he was shot by while elevating the chalice at the end of the Eucharistic rite. When he was shot, his blood spilled over the altar. The funeral mass on March 30th, 1980 in San Salvador was attended by more than 250,000 mourners from all over the world. Romero’s death proved to be a turning point in the history of the Salvadoran conflict, a peak in the power of popular organizations aligned with the left, whose popularity declined after this event under the suspicion that they attempted to capitalize on this tragic event for political gain. Romero was given the title of Servant of God in 1997, and after many years of delays, he was declared a Martyr and a Venerable in February 2015, and beatified in May 2015; if you know of any miracles that can be attributed to his intercession, please contact the Vatican.

On waking up to get ready for work, I did my Book Devotional Reading, and Richard flushed the sewer tree root crystals down the toilet (we do this every few months as routine maintenance). On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Ninth and Last Day of my Annunciation Novena. Once we clocked in, Richard was on Three Card Blackjack, closed that table, became the Relief Dealer for the Sit-Down Blackjack table, another Blackjack table, and the Shoe Blackjack game in our High Stakes Areas; he then became the dealer on the Shoe Blackjack game in our High Stakes area. I was the Relief Dealer for the Mississippi Stud table, Let It Ride, and the second Three Card Poker tables; I then became the Relief Dealer for the Mississippi Stud table and Three Card Poker, then was moved to Mini Baccarat at about 7:00 am, where I had a mostly peaceful morning. At 8:00 am I went to the Associate Engagement trailer and got a 4x jacket and a 15-year pin. I took the jacket back to the Mini Baccarat / Pai Gow pit, and when Richard walked by on his next break I asked him to try it on, which he did; it was too big for him. I told him to go to the Associate Engagement trailer to exchange it for a 3x, which if he could not wear it, we would take to South Carolina for the kids; it was too small for him, so the 3x jacket is going to the kids.

On our way home from work, when we got into town I mailed Liz Ellen’s package at the Post Office and Emailed her to let her know it had been mailed. We then went over to Lele’s to visit; she feels a lot better, and will be back to 100% in about a week. We then went home; Richard went back to the post office to arrange to have our mail held next week, and after I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper I called the Acadiana Advocate and our local paper to have delivery held next week. We then watched MST3k Episode 615 Kitten with a Whip; Richard went to bed half-way through the movie. After the movie, I came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update, and when I finish I will go to bed myself, as I did not sleep well last night. Our #4 LSU Tigers (17-5, 3-0) will be playing an Away College Baseball game with the #12 Florida Gators (14-8, 0-3), our #11 LSU Lady Tigers (24-7, 1-2) will be playing a home College Softball game with the #15 Georgia Lady Bulldogs (26-4, 2-1), and our New Orleans Pelicans (30-41, 5-9) will be playing an Away NBA game with the Houston Rockets (49-22, 9-5).

Tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. It is also Earth Hour Day, a Municipal Primary Election Day in Louisiana, the Anniversary of the Destruction of the One Ring in Mount Doom (T.A. 3019), as told in The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, and the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. We will again work our eight hours at the casino. After lunch (I will eat a lunch salad) I will go to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. After my Hour I will come home, do my Daily Update, and go to bed. Our #4 LSU Tigers will be playing an Away College Baseball game with the #12 Florida Gators, and our #11 LSU Lady Tigers will be playing a home College Softball game with the #15 Georgia Lady Bulldogs.

Our Friday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from Jim Marshall, American photographer. Born in 1936 in Chicago, Illinois, while still in high school he purchased his first camera and began documenting musicians and artists in the San Francisco area. After serving several years in the Air Force, he returned and moved to New York. In the early 1960′s he photographed Bob Dylan in Greenwich Village. He famously photographed Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967; at the time he was dating Folgers coffee heiress Abigail Folger, who had accompanied him to the festival. (She died two years later at the hands of the Manson Family.) Marshall had extended access to numerous musicians through the 1960s and 1970s, including being the only photographer allowed backstage at the Beatles’ last concert in San Francisco in 1966, acting as chief photographer at Woodstock in 1969, and photographing Johnny Cash at San Quentin in 1969.. He had a forceful personality and was known to carry at least one Leica camera with him at all times. He photographed such artists as Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, and the Allman Brothers. In 1997 he published Not Fade Away: The Rock and Roll Photography of Jim Marshall. A new book of photographs by Marshall and Timothy White, Match Prints, was released early in March of 2010, and a book party had been scheduled in New York City; however, he died in his hotel room before the party (died 2010): ”I have no kids, My photographs are my children.”

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