A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Shichi-Go-San (Seven-Five-Three). Traditional annual rite of passage and festival day in Japan for three- and seven-year-old girls and five-year-old boys, who dress in new clothes and are taken for the first time to a Shinto shrine. Stemming from the 1868-1912 Meiji (明治) Era, the day celebrates the care of children and their upbringing as a central aspect of Japanese family life. Shichi-go-san is on 15 November but, as it is not a holiday, is celebrated on the closest weekend. Girls are dressed in kimonos and boys wear formal haori jackets and hakama trousers for the Shinto purification ceremony, with prayers for a long and happy life and to mark their passage into middle childhood. And seven, girls celebrate Obitoki-no-gi (帯解の義), when they wear the traditional obi sash to tie their kimono for the first time instead of simple cords. The children are given Chitoseame (千歳飴) lucky bags with candy wrapped in an edible rice paper. The ages three, five and seven are said to have been chosen as odd numbers are considered auspicious in Japanese numerology. The origins of the custom date back to the 794-1185 Heian period (平安時代), when child and infant mortality was high. The 2021 Hawai’ian Shichi-Go-San was cancelled. Image: pinterest.com.
St Albertus Magnus (St Albert the Great OP, Albert of Cologne, Doctor Universalis, Doctor Expertus) (c1200-80). Feast Day commemorating the death of the German Bavarian Catholic friar who discovered the element arsenic, the greatest German philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages and one of the thirty-six Catholic Doctors of the Church. Educated principally at the University of Padua (Pàdova), after an encounter with the Blessed Virgin Mary he became a member of the Dominican Order, teaching in Cologne, Regensburg, Freiburg, Strasbourg and Hildesheim. As provincial of the Dominican Order, he publicly defended the Dominicans against attacks by the secular and regular faculty of the University of Paris. Appointed Bishop of Regensburg, he enhanced his reputation for humility by refusing to ride a horse, in accord with the dictates of the Order, instead traversing his huge diocese on foot. Especially known for acting as a mediator between conflicting parties, he founded Cologne University, Germany’s oldest, and brought an end to the conflict between the citizens of Cologne and the Archbishop. Albert was a scientist, astrologer, theologian, ecumenist and spiritual writer who preserved and presented most of the modern knowledge of Aristotle. Albert died in Cologne on 15 November 1280 and his body was discovered to be incorrupt at the first exhumation three years later but two hundred years later only a skeleton remained. Venerated in Catholic Church. Major shrine St Andrew’s Church, Cologne. Patron of natural sciences, medical technicians, philosophers and scientists. Image: azquotes.com.
Abbot Richard Whiting (1461-1539). Commemoration of the martyrdom on Glastonbury Tor of the last Abbot of Glastonbury, on 15 November 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. King Henry VIII wished to bring the church and its wealth under government control and in 1539 Parliament supported a plan to dissolve the monasteries, where around 12,000 people lived. Glastonbury Abbey, the last remaining monastery in Somerset, refused to surrender and in September 1539 Royal agents arrested the Abbot and charged him with burglary and treason. On hurdles, they dragged him up Glastonbury Tor along with two of his monks, the treasurer of the church John Thorne and sacristan Roger James. They where they were hung, drawn and quartered, with parts of the Abbot’s dismembered body being put on display in towns across Somerset. The Abbey was stripped of everything of value, before letting it fall into ruin in the years that followed. Now, a Royal Pardon campaign for the Glastonbury Abbot Richard Whiting is looking to finally have the charge of treason laid to rest by petitioning Her Majesty The Queen over a grave miscarriage of justice and brutal murder in Glastonbury in 1539. The Glastonbury Pilgrimage normally held each July was cancelled for a second year due to Covid-19. Image: en-gb.facebook.com.
Prayer The ancient prayers of Glastonbury were known by the prophets and priests for their personal and collective worship and ritual, all parts of their daily life at that time. O Blessed Abbot, who knew them and with Dom John Thorne and Dom Roger James was hanged on the Tor, pray for us. Amen