A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Herd Boy and Weaving Maid Festival (Qing Ming, Qixijie, Qiqiao, Ch’i Hou Chieh, Valentine’s Day). Chinese Double Seven Festival perpetuating an ancient Chinese and Japanese folk tale of two stars, one on either side of the Heavenly River (Milky Way), representing a herd boy and a heavenly weaving maid who had married but were separated when she returned to heaven. The lovers are allowed a reunion on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month (七月) when a flock of magpies forms a bridge across the Heavenly River. If it rains, the river overflows and sweeps away the bridge, so preventing their meeting for a whole year. Women traditionally pray for clear skies on the night of the seventh day of the month. The tradition explained several of the groupings of stars in the Milky Way, relating them to the various levels humans occupy in the social order and illustrating that the path to love is not always smooth. Image: ninhaochina.tumblr.com.
St Maximilian Kolbe (Rajmund Kolbe OFM Conv, Maksymilian Maria Kolbe) (1894-1941). Feast Day and Lutheran Commemoration of the death of the Polish Catholic priest, Confessor of the Faith, Conventual Franciscan Friar and Martyr, with married Danish Lutheran pastor and Martyr Kaj Munk (1898-1944). In 1917, Kolbe founded the Militia of the Immaculata (MI), a worldwide evangelisation movement that encourages total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a means of spiritual renewal for individuals and society, employing prayer as the main tool in the spiritual battle with evil. Ten years later, he founded and supervised the monastery of Niepokalanów 40 km west of Warsaw. In 1930, Kolbe left Poland for Japan, China and India, where he founded monasteries, the one in Japan still being prominent in the Roman Catholic Church. In 1930, he applied for a Polish radio broadcasting licence to add to the print media he had developed but this was not permitted. Called back from Japan in 1936, he spoke on the national Polish Radio over the following two years and in 1938 an amateur radio licence for test broadcasting was issued in Niepokalanów for the station Stacja Polska 3 Radio Niepokalanów (SP3RN). In 1941, the monastery in Niepokalanów was shut down and Kolbe was arrested by the German Gestapo for what was the second time, imprisoned and transferred to the Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. where he suffered beatings and humiliations before on 29 July taking the place of a family man in the starvation block of death. He led prayers to Our Lady and, after two weeks of dehydration and starvation from which the rest of his group had died, on the eve of the Assumption on 14 August 1941 he raised his arm to calmly allow himself to be murdered by lethal injection. This was the only act of sacrifice of that type recorded in Auschwitz. He was cremated on 15 August and over 1,000 first-class relics of his hair collected by Niepokalanów Friars were distributed around the world. Second-class relics such as his personal and religious effects are preserved for veneration in his cell in and chapel at Niepokalanów. Venerated in Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Lutheran Church. Major shrine Basilica of the Omni-mediatress of All Glories, Niepokalanów. Kolbe is one of ten Twentieth-Century martyrs depicted in statues over the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey. Patron of families, prisoners and political prisoners, journalists, amateur radio operators, the pro-life movement, recovery from drug addiction, Esperantists and the Militia of the Immaculata (Militia Immaculatae). Image: colnect.com.
Prayer Father, we pray for peace to heal the civil unrest in our world. We pray for those who are encountering discrimination, injustice and bullying. We pray for unity and genuine celebration of diversity. We pray that we will be reminded that there is more that unifies us in Your love than separates us. Amen
Vigil of the Assumption (Dormition) of Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary. This fasting Vigil (Vigilia) dates from 858, when angels were heard near the city of Soissons singing: “Felix namque es, sacra Virgo Maria, et omni laude dignissima, quia ex te ortus est Sol justitiae, Christus Deus noster”, (For thou art happy, O holy Virgin Mary, and art worthy of all praise, for out of thee arose the Sun of justice, Christ our God). Vigils were kept on the evening before each Feast Day from the earliest days of the Church. On those evenings, all the faithful would gather together to prepare themselves for the Feast they were about to celebrate. This might include listening to readings from the Bible or a topical sermon by a priest. Mass would then be celebrated on the Feast Day and the fast would be broken. Both St Augustine and St Jerome practised and fully supported the concept of the vigil and The Vigil of the Assumption would have been one of the Church’s most important vigils. As for the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption was not an official dogma of the Roman Catholic Church until 1950. Now the principal Feast Day of the Virgin Mother, Assumption commemorates the belief that when Mary the mother of Jesus died, her body was not subjected to the usual process of physical decay but was assumed into heaven and reunited there with her soul. Image: www.newliturgicalmovement.org.