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Sankashti Chaturthi (संकष्टी चतुर्थी, సంకటహర చతుర్థి, சங்கடஹர சதுர்த்தி, સંકષ્ટી ચતુર્થી). To 30 May, this Hindu vrat (pious observance) is celebrated in both the northern and southern states of India, with special festivities in the state of Maharashtra and in South India. On this holy day, Lord Shiva declared the supremacy of His son, Sankashti (Lord Ganesha) over all other Gods except Vishnu, Lakshmi and Parvati. The vrat is observed during every Hindu Lunar Calendar month on the chaturthi (4th day) of the Krishna Paksha (waning phase of the moon). Sankashti is of Sanskrit origin and implies deliverance from difficult times and chaturthi is the 4th day (the day of Lord Ganesha). Thus, this is a propitious day for worshipping Lord Ganesha and seeking help to overcome all obstacles in life and to be victorious in every difficult situation. Childless couples observe the vrat so as to be blessed with offspring. Devotees rise early and dedicate the day to worshipping Lord Ganesha, observing a strict fast in his honour although some keep a partial fast, eating only fruit, vegetables and roots. Tapioca, peanuts, potatoes and herbs are used to make sabudana khichadi. A lamp is lit and the statue of Lord Ganesha is decorated with Durva (Bermuda grass) and fresh flowers. Normally, other puja (worship) rituals include burning incense and reciting the Vedic (religious texts) mantras, followed by the reading of the vrat katha (ancient legend) for the month. The fast is broken only after worshipping Lord Ganesha in the evening and sighting the moon. Special puja rituals are dedicated to Chandra (the God of the Moon), with the sprinkling of water, chandan (sandalwood) paste, consecrated rice and flowers towards the moon. In each Lunar month, the God Ganesha is worshipped with different peeta (Lotus petals) and names. Each of the 13 vrats has a specific purpose and legend, its vrat katha. There is also a final katha for the adika extra month in the Hindu calendar that is intercalated about once every 32.5 months to keep the Lunar and Solar calendars aligned. Image: prokerala.com.
Pope St Paul VI (Paolo VI, Paulus VI, Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini) (1897-1978). Liturgical Memorial celebrating date of priestly ordination of Italian Lombard Bishop of Rome who was educated by the Jesuits and ordained priest on 29 May 1920. He continued to study and entered the central papal governing bureaucracy of the Catholic Church, never becoming a parish priest. Montini had a foreign posting in the diplomatic service of the Holy See in Poland in 1923. In 1954, he was appointed Archbishop of Milan and gave a friendly welcome to a group of Anglican clergy visiting Milan in 1957, subsequently exchanging letters with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Montini was made a Cardinal in 1958 and journeyed to Africa in 1962, where he visited Ghana, Sudan, Kenya, the Congo, Rhodesia, South Africa and Nigeria. He made 15 other trips, visiting Brazil and the USA in 1960. In 1963, Montini was elected Pope on the 6th ballot of the papal conclave and took the name of Paul VI. He re-convened the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), took charge of the interpretation and implementation of its wide-ranging mandates and, following Ambrose of Milan, named Mary as the Mother of the Church. Paul VI described himself as a humble servant for a suffering humanity and demanded significant changes from the rich in North America and Europe in favour of the poor in the Third World. His positions on birth control, promulgated famously in the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, were often contested, especially in Western Europe and North America. The same opposition emerged in reaction to the political aspects of some of his teaching. Pope Paul VI became the first Pope to visit 6 continents. In 1964 and 1967, he visited the Orthodox Patriarchs of Jerusalem and Constantinople, the first Pope since the 9th Century to visit the East, and he labelled the Eastern Churches as sister churches. In 1964 he passed through Beirut and in Jerusalem rescinded the excommunications of the 1054 Great Schism. In 1964, the Lutherans in Reykjavík were the first Protestant church to offer dialogue to the Catholic Church, the dialogue with the Methodist Church beginning in 1965 and with the Reformed Churches 4 years later. The Archbishop of Canterbury met with Paul VI in 1966, the first official encounter between the leaders of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches since their 1534 separation. In 1966, Paul VI was twice denied permission to visit Poland for the 1,000th anniversary of the introduction of Christianity in Poland. In 1970 he was slightly wounded in an assassination attempt at Manila International Airport in the Philippines. Paul VI died in the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, the summer residence and vacation retreat for the leader of the Catholic Church, 25 km from Rome. He was buried in the earth in a grave beneath the floor of Saint Peter’s Basilica, in an area of the Basilica’s crypt near the tombs of other popes. A miracle was attributed to the intercession of the late pontiff, the curing of an unborn child in California in the 1990s, and the second miracle required for his canonisation was reported to have occurred in 2014, a pregnancy that had been at great risk. Venerated in Catholic and Palmarian Catholic Churches. Feast Day 30 May, Ambrosian Rite. Patron of Archdiocese of Milan, Paul VI Pontifical Institute, Second Vatican Council, Diocese of Brescia, Concesio, Magenta, Paderno Dugnano. Image: saltandlighttv.com.
Jiří Třanovský (Rev George Tranoscius, Jerzy Trzanowski, Georgius Tranoscius) (c1592-1637). Evangelical Lutheran Churches in America and Canada commemoration of the death of the priest and hymnwriter born in Teschen, Poland, and known as the father of Slovak hymnody and the Luther of the Slavs. In 1607, he was admitted to the University of Wittenberg, where Martin Luther had taught less than a century earlier. Upon graduation, he travelled in Bohemia proper and Silesia and in 1612 became a teacher in Prague. In 1616, Třanovský was ordained a priest and served as a pastor for 4 years. Persecution of Lutherans in Bohemia forced him into exile and he was imprisoned in 1623. He accepted a call to be pastor to a church in Teschen and from 1631 to 1637 he served as pastor in a church in present-day Slovakia. In 1629, he had published his first hymnal, the Odarum Sacrarum sive Hymnorum Libri III (Three Books of Sacred Odes or Hymns). His most important and famous work was the 1636 Cithara Sanctorum (Lyre of the Saints), written in Czech and forming the basis of Czech and Slovak Lutheran hymnody to the present day. Třanovský’s hymnbook and the Bible of Kraliçe (also in Czech) became the cornerstones of the Slovak Reformation. Třanovský died in Liptószentmiklós, Kingdom of Hungary (now Slovakia) and was buried in an unmarked grave at his church there. Venerated in Lutheranism. Image: en.wikipedia.org.