Veneration of the Saints

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JW
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Veneration of the Saints

Post by JW »

As things have been quiet in the past few days...

I was at Doddington in Kent recently (the gardens are well worth a visit, especially in rhododendron season). The medieval church there is dedicated to the Beheading of St John the Baptist and that set me thinking: should we still have more than one feast per saint? More information on the church is here:
http://www.twokentvillages.org/doddington/doddington_buildings/3_Doddington_church.html

We've lost our devotion to Saints since the 1950's. Is this a good thing or not? Take St John The Baptist, for example. On June 24th we will soon celebrate the Solemnity of the Birth of St John The Baptist - but, for many, only because it's on a Sunday. June 24th used to be a major day - one of the 4 Quarter Days. The Church celebrated the Vigil the day before and an Octave during the days afterwards. The Orthodox church has 6 feastdays of John The Baptist as per below (copied from Wikipedia):
September 23 - Conception of St. John the Forerunner[18]
January 7 - The Synaxis of St. John the Forerunner. This is his main feast day, immediately after Theophany on January 6 (January 7 also commemorates the transfer of the relic of the right hand of John the Baptist from Antioch to Constantinople in 956)
February 24 - First and Second Finding of the Head of St. John the Forerunner
May 25 - Third Finding of the Head of St. John the Forerunner
June 24 - Nativity of St. John the Forerunner
August 29 - The Beheading of St. John the Forerunner

We don't celebrate Saints like we used to - when I was living in Spain in the late 60's, your 'Saint's Day' was still a day to be celebrated. I doubt if that still applies. At Junior Seminary in England I remember the relevant Saint from 'Butler's Lives' being read each evening - some of the stories were really imaginative but surely apochryphal - some of them were excellent bedtime stories!

The whole idea of saints was that they are an example for us and intercede for us. The church seems to have stepped away from devotion to Saints because of the fear of being accused of idolatry. There is not an awful lot about about saints in 'Here I Am,' our official RE Scheme of Work for England and Wales. Youngsters are encouraged to study a saint at confirmation when they choose a name. Do we now have the right balance?

Anyone got any views?
JW

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Nick Baty
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by Nick Baty »

JW wrote:AOn June 24th we will soon celebrate the Solemnity of the Birth of St John The Baptist - but, for many, only because it's on a Sunday.

June 24 is a Tuesday this year.

Southern Comfort
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by Southern Comfort »

It only gets transferred to the Sunday if it's on a Saturday or Monday. (Unlike Epiphany, Ascension, Corpus Christi, all Feasts of the Lord.)

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mcb
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by mcb »

Southern Comfort wrote:It only gets transferred to the Sunday if it's on a Saturday or Monday. (Unlike Epiphany, Ascension, Corpus Christi, all Feasts of the Lord.)

Is the birthday of J the B important enough for that? I can't remember celebrating it on a Sunday except when it was Sunday 24th June.

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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by alan29 »

He has a unique status by virtue both of being the one who preached about the arrival of Jesus and baptised him, and also because he is a blood relative of Jesus. As a link between the old and new covenants, he is a very important person indeed.
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by JW »

Sorry for the earlier error on the date - took leave of my brain there. It does emphasise the point though that most of the Church's members will not be aware of that day, or any other saints' days for that matter.
JW

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Gwyn
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by Gwyn »

Perhaps we've all become rather spiritually unbalanced, quite able to acknowledge sin, guilt and unworthiness during Lent/Advent but not too good at celebrating the joy of our salvation/redemption Through Christ's death and resurrection.

The contribution of many holy women and men does certainly seem to have been rather down-played, maybe we feel a little guilty about celebrationg. Just a thought.

1 Let us now praise famous men,
and our fathers that begat us.

2 The Lord hath wrought great glory by them
through his great power from the beginning.

3 Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms,
men renowned for their power,
giving counsel by their understanding,
and declaring prophecies:

4 Leaders of the people by their counsels,
and by their knowledge of learning
meet for the people, wise and eloquent
are their instructions:

5 Such as found out musical tunes,
and recited verses in writing:

6 Rich men furnished with ability,
living peaceably in their habitations:

7 All these were honoured in their generations,
and were the glory of their times.

8 There be of them, that have left a name
behind them, that their praises might be reported.

9 And some there be, which have no memorial;
who are perished, as though they
had never been; and are become as though
they had never been born;
and their children after them.

10 But these were merciful men,
whose righteousness hath not been forgotten.

11 With their seed shall continually remain
a good inheritance, and their children are
within the covenant.

12 Their seed standeth fast,
and their children for their sakes.

13 Their seed shall remain for ever,
and their glory shall not be blotted out.

14 Their bodies are buried in peace;
but their name liveth for evermore.

15 The people will tell of their wisdom,
and the congregation will shew forth their praise.


Ecclesiasticus 44:1-15
Last edited by Gwyn on Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mcb
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by mcb »

alan29 wrote:He has a unique status by virtue both of being the one who preached about the arrival of Jesus and baptised him, and also because he is a blood relative of Jesus. As a link between the old and new covenants, he is a very important person indeed.
Alan

Yes, yes, but I meant relative to the norms governing the calendar. The Birth of St John the Baptist is a solemnity, which means it dislodges the normal Sunday celebration when it falls on a Sunday (though it wouldn't if it fell within Lent or Advent, which it never does). However, it's not a Holyday of Obligation, so it doesn't get transferred to the Sunday if it falls on a Saturday or a Monday, the way All Saints or the Assumption or Ss Peter and Paul do. For instance, it was on a Saturday in 2006.

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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by SOP »

I am in my mid 50s and was brought up celebrating our own Saints day. One of the important dates to remember along with my birthday and Christmas Day. Didn't get presents on my feast day but did get a card and felt special all day.

Saints days or feast days probably went out when so many saints were removed from the calendar. My saints day was moved. I always knew it as October 17th but that is now someone elses. I remember looking through my mum's old pre V2 missal and when I saw the calendar with 5 or 6 saints to a day, it is easy to see why things were re-arranged.

Knowing which saint I was named for did not make me go out and find out more but I did pay more attention if that saint was being discussed.

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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by docmattc »

Its curious we seem to have lost our devotion to saints but apparently John Paul II created more saints than all his predecessors put together. Are we suffering from canonisation fatigue?

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Benevenio
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by Benevenio »

Canons to right of them, canons to left of them, canons in front of them…

Not personally devoted to the saints (not even coming from Southampton, where devotion to The Saints might have been a forgiveable passion).

To go back to JW's point: "The whole idea of saints was that they are an example for us and intercede for us. The church seems to have stepped away from devotion to Saints because of the fear of being accused of idolatry." I'm not convinced about the idolatory bit: I suspect it is more a loss of the sense of remoteness of God. No longer does the Church make God as remote as possible and unapproachable except through the services of priest and Mary and the saints. If God is perceived as approachable, then we won't pray to Mary and the saints - though we might ask them to pray with us in the same way as we would ask our friends. This, perhaps only subconsciously, is a true expression of deep belief in the communion of saints that we profess in the Creed.

Whether or not seeing God as remote and mysterious and unattached from us was a good thing and something to which we ought return, especially at Communion, is a matter for debate elsewhere.

I suspect that the saints had an understanding of God far beyond my own, that their example is to be observed and learned from, and that they would be horrified to think that saints came between me and God. If "no-one can come to the Father except through me", isn't there but one 'middleman'?
Benevenio.

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presbyter
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by presbyter »

Benevenio wrote:No longer does the Church make God as remote as possible and unapproachable except through the services of priest and Mary and the saints.


What on earth do you mean by that?

I've just celebrated the memoria of St Barnabus. Read the proper in the Missal and you'll see what devotion to the saints is about - or any proper in the Missal for any saint.

Or you could read this:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P2B.HTM

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presbyter
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by presbyter »

Benevenio wrote: If "no-one can come to the Father except through me", isn't there but one 'middleman'?


And the intercession of Mary, the Saints, and yes - your priests - for you go through him, in the Spirit, to the Father.

Just offering a prayer now for Benevenio that he comes to a greater understanding of ecclesial communion - and as it's St Barnabus' feast - I'm asking him to intercede too.

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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by JW »

Thank you for that Presbyter. I always think asking saints to intercede is like asking a favour from someone. If you know someone else who'll champion your cause you will ask them to help. Many of us get asked to pray for people - it happened to me out of the blue on Saturday. It's not as if God is putting up barriers but it's more like ganging up to besiege heaven with prayer - which Jesus encouraged us to do ("When 2 or 3 are gathered...").

I have to say St. Barnabas ("the encourager") is one of my favourites; he was seminal to St Paul discovering his mission. I've been blessed to have had much encouragement over the years and perhaps there is a lack today. When you meet people try to leave people in a happier state than when you found them - even a smile goes a long way.
JW

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Benevenio
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Re: Veneration of the Saints

Post by Benevenio »

Benevenio wrote:…then we won't pray to Mary and the saints - though we might ask them to pray with us in the same way as we would ask our friends. This, perhaps only subconsciously, is a true expression of deep belief in the communion of saints that we profess in the Creed.

Thanks for your prayers, P and for asking Paul's co-worker Barnabas to join you. If what I actually wrote (and which JW has just expanded upon) is not an expression of belief in ecclesial communion, then what is it?
Benevenio.

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