A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
St Osmund of Salisbury (Osmunda) (d1099). Feast Day for Norman nobleman, the Count of Sées who accompanied William the Conqueror to England on the Norman Conquest and became Lord Chancellor. Osmund was a clergyman and became the 1078 second Bishop of Salisbury at the 1069 fortified Old Sarum where the first Salisbury Cathedral was consecrated in 1092. He was known for his purity and lack of avarice and constituted the Old Sarum Cathedral body on the Norman model, with Dean, Precentor, Chancellor and Treasurer, whose duties were exactly defined, some 32 Canons, a Subdean and a Succentor. All save the last two were bound to residence and the Canons were secular, each living in his own house. Their duties were to be special companions and advisers of the Bishop, to carry out with fitting solemnity the full round of liturgical services and to do missionary work in the surrounding districts. Osmund carried out many civil transactions and was one of the Chief Commissioners for the drawing up of the 1086 Domesday Book. He may have been created Earl of Dorset, his diocese comprising the counties of Dorset, Wiltshire and Berkshire, having absorbed the former bishoprics of Sherborne and Ramsbury. When Osmund died, his remains were buried at Old Sarum and translated to New Salisbury in 1457, his sumptuous shrine in the Lady Chapel being destroyed under Henry VIII. A flat slab with the simple inscription MXCIX has lain in various parts of the cathedral. In 1644 it was in the middle of the Lady Chapel and now it is under the easternmost arch on the south side. Venerated in Catholic Church. Alternative Feast Day 4 December. Patron of the mentally ill, mental illness, insanity, paralysed people, paralysis, ruptures, toothache. Image: en.wikipedia.org.
Our Lady of Lourdes (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception). Celebration of the 1863 statue in the rock cave at Massabielle in Lourdes, now a religious Grotto. The 14-year old Bernadette Soubirous witnessed the Blessed Virgin Mary on 18 occasions from 11 February to 16 July 1858, the first whilst gathering firewood with her sister Toinette and neighbour Jeanne Abadie. Two gusts of wind (coups de vent) moved a wild rose in a niche in the cave and a smiling tiny maiden (uo petito damizelo) dressed in white was bathed in a dazzling light and invited them to pray the rosary with her. On 18 February, the Lady promised happiness in the next world, on 24 February asking for prayer and penitence for the conversion of sinners. Bernadette was asked to dig in the ground and drink from a spring she found there that soon became a focal point for pilgrimages. On 25 March, Soubirous was told: “I am the Immaculate Conception” (Que soy era immaculada concepciou). On 16 July, Soubirous went for the last time to the Grotto. As word spread, the water effected miraculous cures and the image of Our Lady of Lourdes has been widely copied in shrines and homes. A large cult devotion developed, with a sanctuary basilica domain being built that has become a major site of Marian pilgrimage. The veracity of the apparitions of Lourdes is not an article of faith for Catholics but many Popes have visited the Marian shrine. Although never formally encouraged by the Church, Lourdes water has become a focus of devotion to the Virgin Mary at Lourdes and large numbers of sick pilgrims travel to Lourdes each year in the hope of physical healing or spiritual renewal. Our Lady of Lourdes in Milton is one of the three Roman Catholic parish churches in Weston-super-Mare, with the 1858 St Joseph’s Church in Camp Road and the larger Corpus Christi, with its School. Feast Day 11 February. Patron of Lourdes, Granada of Bacolod, Daegu, South Korea, Tennessee, Diocese of Lancaster, bodily ills, sick people, protection from disease. Image: dreamstime.com.
Ethiopian Constitution Day. Marking Haile Selassie I’s 1931 first constitution, with a Parliament and deputies, the Emperor however retaining supreme power and authority. Rastafarians remember Ethiopian history and the birth of the Rastafari religion to 23 July, the 1892 birthday of the Emperor, with a Nyahbinghi ritual drumming session, the root of reggae music, prayers, the chanting of Abu Ye! Abu Ye Abu Ye! Abu Ye! and ganja smoking. A legendary Rwandan/Ugandan/Tanzanian woman (the one who possesses many things) is honoured as is Ethiopia’s importance as the seat of humanity. The Rastafari religious movement began in Jamaica in the early 1930s, combining Protestant Christianity, mysticism and a pan-African consciousness. As Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, Haile Selassie was the defining figure in modern Ethiopian history. On the 21 April Groundation Day in 1966, he triumphantly visited Jamaica, the only time that the Emperor went to the island and when 100,000 Jamaican Rastafari greeted the man they considered to be God. Selassie refused to walk on the red carpet and thus made contact with the soil (Groundation). Bob Marley’s wife, Rita, converted to the Rastafari faith, having seen a stigmata Crucifixion wound on Haile Selassie’s hand as he waved to the crowd from his limousine en route to the King’s House, convincing her of his divinity, a belief for which Selassie never rebuked the Rastafari. During his visit, the Emperor told Rastafari elders that they should not immigrate to Ethiopia until they had first liberated the people of Jamaica (liberation before repatriation). After the visit, from being social outcasts the Rastafari achieved a degree of respectability, reggae became commercially viable and Rastafarianism continued to spread. Haile Selassie encouraged the Rastafari elders to learn about the Ethiopian Orthodox faith whilst in Jamaica and in 1970 established a mission in Jamaica. Demands for the Rastafari to renounce their faith in Haile Selassie’s divinity were refused and some 2,000 Rastafarians received Orthodox baptisms. Haile Selassie met Rastafarian elders in Addis Ababa and allowed their followers and others of African descent to settle on his personal land in Shashamane. Haile Selassie I (ቀዳማዊ ኀይለ ሥላሴ) (1892-1975) was born Ras Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael and was Regent Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia from 1916. Image: face2faceafrica.com.
Prayer I pray to thee, Almighty God, Jah Rastafari, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah, that the words of mine own mouth as well as the meditations of mine own heart be acceptable in Thy sight. Let the hungry be fed, the naked clothed, the sick nourished, the aged protected and the infants cared for. We pray that with the spiritual and ritualistic influence of the incense of ganja in this time of climate change, the rains may fall peacefully. Suh be it