A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Marcus Garvey Day (The Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey Sr ONH) (1887-1940). Rastafarian commemoration of the birthday of the prosperous Catholic Afro-Jamaican publisher, journalist and political activist remembered for his influential prophecy of the crowning of a King in Africa. He travelled from Jamaica to Costa Rica in 1910 and then through Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. Taken ill in Panama in 1911, he returned to Kingston and travelled to London in 1912, talking at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, although there were only a few thousand black people in London at the time. He studied law at Birkbeck College in Bloomsbury and visited Glasgow, Paris, Monte Carlo, Boulogne and Madrid. Back in London, he discovered the book Up from Slavery and travelling back to Jamaica in 1914 learned more about colonial Africa from another passenger and envisioned a movement that would politically unify black people of African descent across the world. Garvey launched the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA) with the motto of “One Aim. One God. One Destiny”, many Jamaicans being critical of the use of the insulting term Negro. Ireland’s 1905 Sinn Féin and the Irish independence movement served as a blueprint for Garvey’s black nationalist cause but he encouraged Jamaicans to fight for the Empire on the Western Front. He received finance from the Mayor of Kingston and the Governor of Jamaica by appealing to Jamaica’s white elite whilst ignoring the brown middle-classes of mulattos, quadroons and octoroons and being derogatory when describing black Jamaicans. UNIA failed in Jamaica and Garvey went to the USA in 1916 to embark on a speaking tour across thirty-eight states, listening to preachers from the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Black Baptist churches. In May 1917, Garvey launched a New York branch of UNIA for anyone of Negro blood and African ancestry and then identified the First World War as a white man’s war. He expressed the view that for every Negro lynched by whites in the South, Negroes should lynch a white in the North and UNIA membership grew rapidly, developing a commercial arm, the African Communities’ League envisioned as an import-export business. In 1918, Garvey launched a weekly newspaper, the Negro World, noted as the personal propaganda organ of its founder as there were over four hundred black-run newspapers and magazines in the USA. In 1920, UNIA organised the First International Conference of the Negro Peoples in Harlem, attended by the Mayor of Monrovia, Liberia. UNIA delegates declared Garvey to be the Provisional President of Africa, charged with heading a government-in-exile that could take power on the continent when European colonial rule ended, some West Africans attending the event being angered by an Afro-Jamaican rather than a native African taking this rôle. Garvey never visited Africa, did not speak any African languages and knew very little about the continent’s varied customs, languages and religions, or of its traditional social structures. Ideologically a black nationalist and Pan-Africanist, Garvey’s campaigning ideas for the development of Black Rights came to be known as Garveyism. Emphasising unity between Africans and the African diaspora, he campaigned for an end to European colonial rule across Africa and the political unification of the continent. Although he never visited the continent, he was committed to the Back-to-Africa movement that is celebrated today, arguing that some people of African descent should migrate there. In 1919, he became President of the Black Star Line shipping and passenger company, designed to forge a link between North America and Africa and facilitate African-American migration to Liberia. In 1922, Garvey was arrested and charged with mail fraud over the sale of stock in a ship that the Black Star Line did not yet own and he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by a Jewish judge who had noted that Garvey had met with the Ku Klux Klan the year before. After a petition with 70,000 signatures urging Garvey’s release, the sentence was commuted and in 1927 Garvey was deported to Kingston, where he was elected a city councillor and established the country’s first political party, the People’s Political Party (PPP). Garvey was charged with demeaning the judiciary and sentenced to three months imprisonment and dismissed from public office, deciding to move to London in March 1935. During the Second Italo-Ethiopian War when Italy invaded Ethiopia, Garvey spoke out against the Italians but later criticised Emperor Haile Selassie and was not allowed to meet him when he arrived in Britain after describing him as a feudal monarch who looked down upon his slaves and serfs with contempt, a great coward who ran away from his country to save his skin. With UNIA in increasing financial difficulties, Garvey died in West Kensington on 10 June 1940 and his body was interred in a vault in the catacombs of the chapel of St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Kensal Green. Within a decade, a cult grew around his memory in Jamaica and in 1964 Garvey’s remains were returned for reburial in Kingston’s King George VI National Heroes Park. In 2012, the Jamaican government declared 17 August Marcus Garvey Day, a day celebrated by Rastafarians. Poetry is recited, African dance is encouraged and there is a Nyabinghi ritual with prayers, music, the chanting of Abu Ye! Abu Ye Abu ye! Abu ye! and ganja smoking. The Rastafari religious movement began in Jamaica in the early 1930s, combining Protestant Christianity, mysticism and a pan-African consciousness. When Haile Selassie triumphantly visited Jamaica in 1966, the only time he went to the island, 100,000 Jamaican Rastafari greeted the man they considered to be God. Image: pinterest.ca.
Isaac (Yiṣḥāq (יִצְחָק, he laughs). Lutheran Church commemoration of the legendary son of Abraham and Sarah, half-brother of Ishmael and husband of Rebekah, father of Esau and Jacob and an important figure in the Abrahamic religions including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His father took the young Abraham to Mount Moriah to build at God’s command a sacrificial altar for Isaac but at the last moment an angel of God prevented Abraham from proceeding and he was directed to sacrifice a nearby ram that was stuck a thicket. Isaac was the grandfather of the twelve tribes of Israel, Asher, Dan, Ephraim, Gad, Issachar, Manasseh, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, Zebulun, Judah and Benjamin, only the last two surviving. Isaac was, with his father and his son Jacob (Israel), one of the three patriarchs who were ancestors of the Israelites. He was the only one whose name was not changed and who did not move out of Canaan and he was the longest-lived of the three. Before his death, he called the elder twin Esau and directed him to procure some venison so that he might bless Esau but Jacob deceived his blind father by misrepresenting himself as Esau and thereby obtained his father’s blessing to become Isaac’s primary heir, although only the younger twin. Isaac sent Jacob into Mesopotamia to take a wife and after 20 years working for his uncle Laban Jacob returned home and reconciled himself with Esau before they buried their father Isaac, after he died at 180, in Hebron in the Cave of the Patriarchs where Rebekah and Jacob were also buried. Jewish tradition is that Isaac instituted the afternoon prayer. The early Christian church continued and developed the New Testament theme of Isaac as a kind of Christ, the Church being both the son of the promise and the father of the faithful. The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church consider Isaac a saint and along with other biblical patriarchs an Old Testament Righteous. Isaac’s Feast Day is celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Byzantine rite of the Catholic Church on the second Sunday before Christmas, the Sunday of the Forefathers. Islam considers Isaac (اسحاق, Ishaaq) a prophet of Islam, mentioning him seventeen times by name in the Qur’an and describing him as the father of the Israelites and a righteous servant of God. Isaac, along with Ishmael, is highly regarded by Muslims for continuing to preach the message of monotheism after his father Abraham. Jacob is also venerated as an Islamic prophet and Isaac and Jacob are mentioned as being bestowed upon Abraham as gifts of God, who then worshipped God only and were righteous leaders in the way of God. Image: prabook.com.
Prayer Almighty God, heavenly Father, through the patriarch Isaac You preserved the seed of the Messiah and brought forth the new creation. Continue to preserve the Church as the Israel of God to manifest the glory of Your holy Name by our continuing to worship Your Son, the child of Mary. Amen
Sainte Jeanne de la Croix (St Joan of the Cross, Jeanne Delanoue) (1666-1736) Feast Day commemorating the death of the devout French businesswoman born in Saumur, Anjou. On Pentecost 1693, Joan met a poor widow who predicted that she would dedicate her life to the care of the poor. After some time, Joan began caring for orphans, living a truly spiritual life and eventually closing the family business to commit herself more fully to this work. Along with other women who shared her vision of helping the poor, elderly, sick and needy children, she founded the 1704 Sisters of Saint Anne of the Providence of Saumur, a congregation formally approved by the Vatican in 1709 that from 1715 developed twelve religious houses and hospices and schools. Worn out by her labours, Joan died peacefully of natural causes on 17 August 1736 at Fencet, France and they said in Saumur: “The saint is dead”. The congregation of Sisters of Jeanne Delanoue, as they have been known since 1964, number about 400 sisters in France, Madagascar and Sumatra, where they began in 1979. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church. Image: www.mountcarmelblessedsacrament.com.