“Now is your Opportunity”

Psalm: # 90, verse 13 & 14
1st Reading: Jeremiah, chapter 18, verses 1 – 11
2nd Reading: Matthew, chapter 4, verses 16 – 25
Gospel Reading: Luke, chapter 16, verses 19 – 26

Co Lecturers: Mother Superiour Linda Kreeger o.s.mm.
and Deacon Arlen Glispy Jr. o.s.a.
Celebrant: Bishop Andrew R. M. Manley DD., o.s.a., o.s.p.

Note: All readings are read from the New King James Version Holy Bible by Thomas Publishing
Music Selection comes from the Gathers, The Old Rugged Cross Album

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The Legend of St. Valentine

Saint_Valentine_February_14thThe history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February
While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance
Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

Typical Valentine’s Day Greetings
In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

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This story of St. Valentine is brought to you courtesy of the History Channel.
http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day

Happy Saint Valentines Day Everyone…

Change and Faith, Unite…

Folks I don’t write often in this following way but do to my calling to ministry and the position the Lord has placed me, I give you these following comments and ask you to take to heart the intent that we are all one in Christ Jesus.

ICCCC ULCCC UNITED

With the announcement of Pope Benedict’s resignation from the papacy I am encouraged for the church. Not that He is “retiring” for reasons only known to himself and to God but that the wisdom and strength it took to come to the realization that his effectiveness and health may not be up to the tasks of the office for which he holds.

It is an opportunity that we who call ourselves Christian can do our part by lifting our prayers and concerns to the heavenly Father and plead our case and want for the church. His church. A church of the people and of God as the head.

Many Catholics have faltered these past years because of the style of governance coming from the Vatican, yet now it is our turn to be heard. Even though Pope John Paul the II and Pope Benedict the XVI have placed a very Conservative leadership with their appointees to the rank of Cardinals. We can be diligent in our faith and understanding here in the west as well as around the world, that Christ hears our cry for true change and reform in the church.

I know that through continuous prayer and devotion to the Holy Trinity change will come. The church has the unique opportunity to respond favorably to the billion plus Catholic patrons to the growing need and urgency from the next pontiff whom the Cardinals will elect to the office.

So let us pray together that our prayers will not only be heard but acted upon accordingly. I do not expect sweeping reforms from the new Pope however, there is hope that many issues that face the church today maybe appeased through the wise council of those with the insight and foresight to vote accordingly with the people. No matter what folks, we need to accept the new papal leadership with open arms and have the faith of Christ himself to know that He truly is the one in control.

I encourage any and all people who read this to be steadfast and patient in the coming months. And as we go into the Easter season with the hope of the Resurrection of Christ, we to will experience a new resurrection of the church.

Weather you are Roman Catholic, Independent Catholic or a Non Catholic, the institution of the church and its longevity is of all of our concern. It will be a test of true faith of the people to come together at this time of great importance for the most powerful faith in the world. The Christian Faith and all that it entails.

Sincerely your servant in Christ Jesus,
Bishop, Andrew R. M. Manley DD., o.s.a., o.s.p.
Independent Catholic Church of the Celtic Cross
and the Celtic Cross Foundation of Ministry