A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
The Beginning of Autumn (Li Qiu, 立秋). Start of first solar term of Autumn, the thirteenth of the twenty-four terms of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar and a season of harvest when the crops bear abundant fruit. Autumn is a transitional season with the departure of heat and the leaves of Chinese parasol trees beginning to fall. The Chinese idiom yi ye zhi qiu (the falling of one leaf heralds the coming of autumn) means that one will sense the arrival of Autumn when one sees the leaves begin to fall from the trees. The Chinese character qiu (秋, autumn) consists of two parts, he (禾, rice) and huo (火, fire), meaning the ripening of rice. In Huangling in Jiangxi Province, a Shaiqiu Culture Festival (Autumn Basket Festival) celebrates the traditional sun-drying of chili peppers, pumpkin slices and chrysanthemum flowers in bamboo baskets to preserve them as foods. Guangzhou, north of Hong Kong, provides produce for Qiumang Fairs (Busy Autumn Fairs) to welcome the Autumn harvest, some of which include temple fairs. These fairs have mule and horse, grain, farm machinery and cloth markets, with opera performances, horse races and monkey shows. In the past, farmers prepared for ploughing, levelling and fertilising the land. The next solar term is the 22 August Chushu (End of Heat) and Autumn ends at Shuangjiang (Frost’s Descent). Image: english.visitbeijing.com.cn.
San Gaetano (St Cajetan, Confessor of Thiene, Gaetano dei Conti di Thiene) (1480-1547). Feast Day commemorating death of the noble Italian Catholic priest who was born in Vicenza and dedicated at birth to the Virgin Mary. Cajetan studied law in Padua, receiving his degree as doctor utriusque juris in civil and canon law at 24. In 1506, as private secretary to the Pope in Rome he helped reconcile the Republic of Venice. In 1516, he became a priest and worked in the hospital of San Giacomo degli Incurabili (Incurables) before returning home to serve the sick and poor of Vicenza and found in 1522 the Venetian hospital of Incurabili di Giudecca. His interests were in spiritual and physical healing and in 1523 in Rome he consulted the confraternity of the Oratory of Divine Love, intending as a religious reformer to himself form a group that would combine the spirit of monasticism with the exercise of the active ministry. To spread the apostolic message, the Pope authorised him to co-found the 1524 Theatines (Ordo Clericorum Regularium), a Congregation of Clerics Regular named after the inhabitants of Chieti that was outstanding among Catholic reform movements before the Protestant Reformation. He escaped to Venice after their house was wrecked in the Holy Roman Emperor’s 1527 Sack of Rome. He etablished an Oratory in Verona and, carrying out the order’s mission in Naples, Gaetano founded the 1539 Monte di Pietà (Mount of Piety) institutional pawnbroker, a not-for-profit charitable credit organisation lending money on the security of pawned objects, helping the poor and protecting them against usurers who lent money at unreasonably high rates of interest. This became the Bank of Naples, although with different policies. Montes di Pietà spread to the colonies of Catholic countries, the Mexican Nacional Monte de Piedad still being operational to defend the poor against money lenders. Gaetano died in Naples on 7 August 1547 and was buried in the Basilica of San Paolo Maggiore. On his Feast Day in the Campo nell’Elba comune (municipality) on the island of Elba, Marina di Campo Festival celebrations begin in the afternoon with a regatta before the 7 pm Holy Mass in the St Cajetan Church, followed by a procession through the flag-bedecked village to take the patron saint’s statue by fishing boat for the blessing of the Gulf of Marina di Campo before returning at 10 pm for midnight fireworks over the bay. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church. Patron of bankers, unemployed people, Albania, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Philippines, Marina di Campo. Patron of the city of Naples together with the 305 martyr San Gennaro. Image: zip.news.
Prayer Saint Cajetan, when we see things that trouble us in our Church, help us to continue to love her. Guide us to the positive steps we need to take to work within the Church for renewal. Help us to be examples of holiness to all. Amen
St Narcissus of Jerusalem (c99-216). Eastern Orthodox Church Feast Day for Greek Bishop of Jerusalem and Confessor, an early patriarch of Jerusalem. The average reign of the Bishops of Jerusalem had been short after St Simeon, the second Bishop, was martyred in 117 and Narcissus was at least 80 when made thirtieth Bishop, more than a century having elapsed since the city had been destroyed by the Romans and rebuilt as Aelia Capitolina by the Emperor Hadrian. In 195, Narcissus with the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine presided over a council held in Caesarea by the Bishops of Palestine that decreed that Easter was to be kept on a Sunday and not coincident with the Jewish Passover. St Narcissus performed many miracles, including one during the Easter Vigil when he changed water into oil to supply all the lamps of the church. He was the subject of several serious allegations by members of the Christian community but these proved to be false. He forgave his accusers but left Jerusalem and lived in seclusion for several years. Three Bishops governed the See of Jerusalem in succession during his absence and, upon his return to Jerusalem, the people unanimously sought him out and asked him to resume his episcopal duties. This he did but, owing to his extreme age and the weight of his duties, he made St Alexander his coadjutor bishop. St Narcissus continued to serve his flock and churches outside his jurisdiction, by his constant prayer and exhortations to the faithful for unity and peace, until his death in Aelia Capitolina. Venerated in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches. Roman Catholic Feast 29 October. Image: catholico.wordpress.com.