Category : Death / Burial / Funerals

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Alban

Almighty God, by whose grace and power thy holy martyr Alban triumphed over suffering and was faithful even unto death: Grant to us, who now remember him with thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to thee in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer

A Celebration of the Life of the Rev. Dr Peter C Moore

Posted in * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education

On the Anniversary of his Death–NG: How the assassination of Medgar Evers galvanized the civil rights movement

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Race/Race Relations, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) The Last Anointing

Beyond the glass lay a man, unconscious in the electric blue light, shrouded in tubes. His family was not allowed to visit. His body could not be touched.

Father Ryan Connors stood at the door watching, his Roman collar barely visible beneath his face shield.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, he had gone to the bedsides of Covid-19 patients across the Boston area to perform one of the oldest religious rituals for the dying: the Roman Catholic practice commonly called last rites.

For centuries, priests have physically anointed the dying with oil to heal body and soul, if not in this life, in the next. Many Catholics have spent their entire lives trusting that in their most difficult hours a priest, and through him God, would come to their aid.

On this Tuesday morning, in the intensive care unit at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, west of the city, all that Father Connors knew about the patient was his name, and that his family had called for a priest.

He had a clear plastic bag with a cotton ball containing a few drops of holy oil. He carried a photocopy of pages from a liturgical book.

At 10:18 a.m., he slid open the door. He walked over to the bed, careful to avoid the tubes on the ground.

He stretched out his hand, and began to pray….

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer

(AP) On sad anniversary, few to mourn the D-Day dead in Normandy

At least the dead will always be there.

All too many have been, for 76 years since that fateful June 6 on France’s Normandy beaches, when allied troops in 1944 turned the course of World War II and went on to defeat fascism in Europe in one of the most remarkable feats in military history.

Forgotten they will never be. Revered, yes. But Saturday’s anniversary will be one of the loneliest remembrances ever, as the coronavirus pandemic is keeping almost everyone away — from government leaders to frail veterans who might not get another chance for a final farewell to their unlucky comrades.

Rain and wind are also forecast, after weeks of warm, sunny weather.

“I miss the others,” said Charles Shay, who as a U.S. Army medic was in the first wave of soldiers to wade ashore at Omaha Beach under relentless fire on D-Day.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, France, History, Military / Armed Forces

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obituary for Peter Moore

Age 83, peacefully entered into eternal life May 30 in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Born in Scarsdale, NY, Peter was an innovative leader, mentor, preacher and author for more than 50 years. He currently served as the director of the Anglican Leadership Institute since 2016, training leaders in the world-wide Anglican Church in servant leadership, all the while serving as a scholar in residence at St. Michael’s Church, in Charleston, SC. Peter served as director of the Council for Religion in Independent Schools in New York City and at that time, started FOCUS (Fellowship of Christians in Universities and Schools) in 1962. FOCUS seeks to bring Christ to students attending independent Secondary Schools along America’s East Coast. He then served as the fourth dean/president of Trinity School for Ministry and as its first president of the board of trustees, before moving to Charleston, SC.

Decade after decade, Peter was an unswerving, tireless agent of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Books, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(The State) Coronavirus case total in South Carolina grows by 361. Officials note seven more deaths

The new cases are the latest indicator that South Carolina is seeing an increase in coronavirus activity. Over the past few weeks, DHEC officials have noted high weekly case numbers, higher seven-day average number of cases and increasing percents of tests that turn up positive.

Four of the last seven days have seen more than 300 cases, a milestone the state never reached before.

Thursday, officials said that 5.5% of tests conducted the previous day were positive.

And even those metrics don’t paint a complete picture of the coronavirus’ spread across South Carolina. DHEC officials estimate that as much as 86% of people who have contracted the virus have not been tested. As of Thursday, they estimated that a total of 92,900 people across the state had actually contracted the virus.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, State Government

A Prayer for the Feast Day of James Hannington and the Martyrs of Uganda

Precious in thy sight, O Lord, is the death of thy saints, whose faithful witness, by thy providence, hath its great reward: We give thee thanks for thy martyrs James Hannington and his companions, who purchased with their blood a road unto Uganda for the proclamation of the Gospel; and we pray that with them we also may obtain the crown of righteousness which is laid up for all who love the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Church of Uganda, Death / Burial / Funerals, Spirituality/Prayer

(New Yorker) Bryan Stevenson on the Frustration Behind the George Floyd Protests

How do you think our current era of criminal justice and policing is a continuation of that past?

I think the police have been the face of oppression in many ways. Even before the Civil War, law enforcement was complicit in sustaining enslavement. It was the police who were tasked with tracking down fugitive slaves from 1850 onwards in the north. After emancipation, it was law enforcement that stepped back and allowed black communities to be terrorized and victimized. We had an overthrow of government during Reconstruction, and law enforcement facilitated that. Then, throughout the first half of the twentieth century, it was law enforcement and police and our justice system that allowed people to be lynched by white mobs, sometimes literally on the courthouse lawn, and allowed the perpetrators of that terror and violence to engage in these acts of murder with impunity. They were even complicit in it. And, as courageous black people began to advocate for civil rights in the nineteen-fifties and nineteen-sixties, when these older, nonviolent black Americans would literally be on their knees, praying, they were battered and bloodied by uniformed police officers. That identity of violence and oppression is not something we can ignore. We have to address it. But, rather than address it, since the nineteen-sixties, we have been trying to distract ourselves from it and not acknowledge it, and not own up to it, and all of our efforts have been compromised by this refusal to recognize that we need to radically change the culture of police.

Now, the police are an extension of our larger society, and, when we try to disconnect them from the justice system and the lawmakers and the policymakers, we don’t accurately get at it. The history of this country, when it comes to racial justice and social justice, unlike what we do in other areas, is, like, O.K., it’s 1865, we won’t enslave you and traffic you anymore, and they were forced to make that agreement. And then, after a half century of mob lynching, it’s, like, O.K., we won’t allow the mobs to pull you out of the jail and lynch you anymore. And that came after pressure. And then it was, O.K., we won’t legally block you from voting, and legally prevent you from going into restaurants and public accommodations.

But at no point was there an acknowledgement that we were wrong and we are sorry. It was always compelled, by the Union Army, by international pressure, by the federal courts, and that dynamic has meant that there is no more remorse or regret or consciousness of wrongdoing. The police don’t think they did anything wrong over the past fifty or sixty years. And so, in that respect, we have created a culture that allows our police departments to see themselves as agents of control, and that culture has to shift. And this goes beyond the dynamics of race. We have created a culture where police officers think of themselves as warriors, not guardians.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Al Zadig on the Death of Peter Moore

From there:

Please keep the family and loved ones of the Very Rev. Dr. Peter Moore, Director of the Anglican Leadership Institute, in your prayers. Peter died on the Eve of Pentecost, May 30, following a battle with cancer. Details for a service have not yet been announced.

The following is a message from the Rev. Al Zadig, Rector of St. Michael’s Church Charleston, where Peter served as Scholar-in-Residence.

Saying Goodbye to a Hero

Just minutes after our Annual Meeting/Festival of Faith on Zoom today, I received word that our Scholar in Residence and dear friend the Rev. Dr. Peter Moore had died. My brothers and sisters in Christ, we lost a hero of faith this weekend. A hero of the faith who always stood for the bedrock truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the foundation of Scripture against all odds, powers and principalities.

In addition to writing books, pastoring, and leading, Peter poured his life into the ancient art of mentoring the generations. Whether students at FOCUS (Fellowship of Christians in Universities and Schools), Trinity School for Ministry, St. Michael’s Church, or the Bishops and clergy of the Anglican Leadership Institute, he loved coming alongside to make disciples!

I therefore marvel at the fact that Peter died on the eve of Pentecost. Why? He simply lived and breathed through the power of the Holy Spirit. I know we all have our Peter Stories, but I especially remember that when he first came to St. Michael’s he would walk around with the pictorial directory of the parish just so he could memorize all your names and pictures! He had that kind of love for you!

While Peter’s obituary is being prepared as I write this, I just wanted you to know now so you can be praying for Peter’s wife Sandra as well. Funeral plans are being arranged and the service will take place at St. Michael’s Church at a date and time to be announced. In the meantime dear brothers and sisters, please pray with me:

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Peter. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive Peter into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

The Rev. Alfred T. K. Zadig, Jr
Rector
St Michael’s Church
 

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education

Peter Moore RIP

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Seminary / Theological Education

Still More Poetry for Memorial Day–Patterns

I walk down the garden-paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jeweled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden-paths.
My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whalebone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime-tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.
And the splashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden-paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover.
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon–
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
“Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday se’nnight.”
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
“Any answer, Madam,” said my footman.
“No,” I told him.
“See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.”
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

–Amy Lowell (1874–1925)

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Military / Armed Forces, Poetry & Literature

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie’s 2020 Memorial Day Message

Our country has been blessed with men and women whose sacrifices allowed us to flourish as individuals, as a society and as a nation. On Memorial Day, we pause to remember, honor and express our gratitude to all those Americans who lost their lives in uniform.

The names of many of them are forever memorialized in our Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), State Veterans and American Battle Monuments cemeteries across our country and around the world.

It is true that this Memorial Day is somewhat different. As we fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we do not gather as we normally would to honor our nation’s heroes. But we can still remember and honor them by spending a quiet moment paying homage to their courage and sacrifice.

I also encourage all Americans to pay tribute to deceased Veterans by visiting the Veterans Legacy Memorial. This site contains a memorial page for each Veteran interred in a VA national cemetery. Since May 14, online visitors have been able to leave a written “tribute” in memory and appreciation for a Veteran’s service.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Military / Armed Forces

The History of Memorial Day

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces

More Poetry for Memorial Day–Theodore O’Hara’s “Bivouac of the Dead”

The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last tattoo;
No more on life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame’s eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

No rumor of the foe’s advance
Now swells upon the wind;
Nor troubled thought at midnight haunts
Of loved ones left behind;
No vision of the morrow’s strife
The warrior’s dream alarms;
No braying horn nor screaming fife
At dawn shall call to arms.

Their shriveled swords are red with rust,
Their plumed heads are bowed,
Their haughty banner, trailed in dust,
Is now their martial shroud.
And plenteous funeral tears have washed
The red stains from each brow,
And the proud forms, by battle gashed
Are free from anguish now.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Poetry & Literature

Music for Memorial Day–Eternal Father, Strong to Save (The Navy Hymn)

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Military / Armed Forces, Music

More Poetry for Memorial Day–Laurence Binyon’s For the Fallen

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Military / Armed Forces, Poetry & Literature

You owe it to your country and to them to take the time to listen and watch this today

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Music

Facts About the National Cemetery Administration

• NCA maintains 3.83 million graves with 628,746 additional developed gravesites available: 356,873 available gravesites for casketed remains, 115,115 in ground gravesites for cremated remains and 156,758 columbarium niches for cremated remains.

• As of the end of FY2019, NCA manages approximately 22,368 acres within its cemeteries. Approximately 59% is undeveloped, and, along with available gravesites in developed acreage, has the potential to provide approximately 5.1 million casket gravesites.

• As of the end of FY2019, of the138 VA national cemeteries, 79 are open to all interments; 16 can accommodate cremated remains and the remains of family members for interment in the same gravesite as a previously deceased family member; and 43 will accommodate only interments of family members in the same gravesite as a previously deceased family member.

• As of the date on this fact sheet, May 2020, four additional cemeteries have been transferred by the Department of the Army to the VA, bringing the total number of VA national cemeteries to 142. Two of these four can accommodate cremated remains and the remains of family members for interment in the same gravesite as a previously deceased family member; and two will accommodate only interments of family members in the same gravesite as a previously deceased family member.

• Since 1973, when VA managed 82 national cemeteries, annual interments in VA national cemeteries have increased by more than 370% from 36,422 to 134,833 in FY 2019.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces

A Prayer for Memorial Day

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead: We give thee thanks for all thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence; and give us such a lively sense of thy righteous will, that the work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Spirituality/Prayer

(The Tablet) Prince of Wales backs Covid-19 Remember Me project

The Prince of Wales has spoken of his shock and heartbreak at the devastation wreaked by Covid-19.

In a video message released today for the Remember Me virtual book of remembrance, launched today by St Paul’s London, Prince Charles speaks of those who “have experienced, personally, and in our community life, the shock of sudden change in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

For too many among us, he says, this has brought tragedy and heartbreak.

Prince Charles, who has himself had the virus, says: “For some, relatives have not been able to be present at the time of their loved one’s passing. For many, the loss of their loved ones has been made all the more agonisingly painful by the necessary restrictions on funerals, travel and gatherings. For all of us, there has been anxiety in the present as we have wondered what the future will be….

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, History, Politics in General

An absolutely beautiful Indianapolis Star profile piece of Teenage love and Marriage–‘With months to live, high school senior marries’

“The most important thing in my world at this point is spending time loving and laughing,” he said. “Just living life to the fullest and loving every moment.”

Chase is taking the time to tell his story because he wants to touch people and spread what he has learned through his cancer journey.

“The precious people in your life, the amount of time they are in your life, take every moment you have. Enjoy and give everything you can in those relationships,” he said. “And know there is so much possible with love when your love includes God.”

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Teens / Youth

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Martyrs of Sudan

O God, steadfast in the midst of persecution, by whose providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: As the martyrs of the Sudan refused to abandon Christ even in the face of torture and death, and so by their sacrifice brought forth a plenteous harvest, may we, too, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Spirituality/Prayer, Sudan

(Guardian) ‘My rabbi’s tools now include a phone’: UK Jewish burials changed by Covid-19

Minutes before the rabbi started intoning funeral prayers over a shrouded coffin, his phone rang. The dead man: 90 years old, a victim of coronavirus, had been lying in a morgue for a couple of weeks while the authorities and his synagogue had tried to trace his relatives.

The man was one of 440 British Jews who had died from coronavirus by Monday, a statistic that belies the impact of the virus on the Jewish community, which has been disproportionately hit by Covid-19. Figures compiled by the Board of Deputies of British Jews suggest that more than 1% of all coronavirus deaths are Jewish, while Jews are only 0.4% of the total UK population.

Now the man’s grandson was on the line from Dubai. Although he had lost touch with his grandfather 30 years ago, he was able to give Rabbi Daniel Epstein valuable biographical information to supplement the man’s name, age and cause of death. Even so, the only people present to witness the coffin being lowered into its grave were the rabbi and staff of Waltham Abbey Jewish cemetery, in Essex, on the edge of London.

In normal times, it is rare to conduct a funeral without mourners, but not now. The number of burials conducted by the United Synagogue Burial Society more than tripled in April, Epstein said. Some rabbis have officiated at three or four funerals a day – and in many cases, relatives and friends were unable to say a last goodbye to their loved one due to self-isolation or restrictions on travel.Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Judaism, Religion & Culture

(Guardian) Rory Kinnear–My sister died of coronavirus. She needed care, but her life was not disposable

So it was coronavirus that killed her. It wasn’t her “underlying conditions”. Prior to her diagnosis, she hadn’t been in hospital for 18 months – an unusually care-free period for Karina. No, it was a virulent, aggressive and still only partially understood virus that was responsible, a virus that is causing thousands of people, despite the unstinting bravery of the medical staff of this country, to say a distanced goodbye to relatives who would still be alive had they not contracted it.

No one could describe Karina as weak: she did not have it coming, she was no more disposable than anyone else. Her death was not inevitable, does not ease our burden, is not a blessing. She was vulnerable, yes. She needed the care of others to live. I will remain for ever grateful to the hundreds of caregivers who have, at one point or another, looked after her with such kindness and dedication, some of whom have maintained a relationship with her long after their retirement. Grateful too to live in a country that makes provisions of care free to all, no matter one’s need, however stretched and fraying their chronic underfunding increasingly makes them.

But this disease is not just killing people who would have died soon anyway. It is making the lives of those most in need of our care and compassion even harder, even more fearful. And if there is anything that I hope might come from Karina’s death, from the tens of thousands of other deaths caused by this disease and its insidious spread, it is that as a country, from government both national and local, we might make our focus the easing of those lives in the future.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(NYT Op-ed) Esau McCaulley–Ahmaud Arbery and the America That Doesn’t Exist

There is no bigger rebellion or miracle in the history of these United States than that of the black Christians who saw in the very book used to justify their oppression a testimony to a God who disagreed. There is no greater audacity than their use of that Bible to construct, almost from scratch, a Christian anthropology that demanded a recognition of black worth. That struggle continues.

In the end, the question is not whether this country will finally fully value black lives. America doesn’t get a vote in the matter. It lacks the competence. The question is whether this country will continue to find itself in the dangerous place of having policies, customs and laws that oppose the will of God.

My work, as a minister of the gospel, is not to fix America, but to remind it of what it is not. It is not the kingdom of God, our great hope. Indeed, far too often God has looked upon us and our notions of justice and found America wanting.

Alongside the litany of suffering that marks the black experience, there is a chant that grows in power in times of crisis. It is in the spirituals and the blues, in hip-hop, soul and gospel music. It is in black poetry, fiction and film. This is a chorus of defiant joy, a refusal to let fear stifle hope.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(USA Today) David Colton–We need to mourn coronavirus losses, not just track the grim tally of deaths

The counting comes easily: More Americans have died from the coronavirus than during the entire Vietnam War. Total U.S. fatalities would overflow Dodger Stadium. More people are infected than live in the state of Delaware.

So why is the grieving so hard?

The enormity of the pandemic death toll is wrapped in a wall of silence, not connecting with our politicians, the media nor the public. Thankful applause echoes nightly for nurses and caregivers, but there are few candlelight vigils for the dead; churches are shuttered; most families cannot even hold funerals.

Doesn’t our national loss deserve more than just checking the number on CNN every hour, and shaking our heads as the death toll tops 50,000, then 67,000 and beyond?

Media coverage of the death toll seems clinical and for-the-record when it needs to be somber and shared, like the sounds of John F. Kennedy’s horse-drawn caisson clambering down Pennsylvania Avenue, or the tearful reading of the names on the anniversary of 9/11 every year.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, History

(1st Things) David Randall–Learning how to Die

How should colleges educate students? We have wandered a long way from what Michel de Montaigne thought should be the first principles of education.

For it seems to me that the first lessons in which we should steep his [the student’s] mind must be those that regulate his behavior and his sense, that will teach him to know himself and to die well and live well. Among the liberal arts, let us begin with the art that liberates us.

Montaigne did not mean “liberation” as the devotees of Paolo Freire’s pedagogy understand it. Montaigne wrote, “He who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave. Knowing how to die frees us from all subjection and constraint.” No education matters more.

Modern American colleges dedicate themselves instead to life without limits, and the cant progressive politics of our day. The mission statements sprawl, paragraph piled on paragraph. Bureaucrats and professors unable to edit themselves teach an object lesson in the fruits of indiscipline. “Virtue . . . is a state of character concerned with choice,” said the philosopher; and colleges unable even to choose one guiding institutional virtue educate their students to a similar incapacity to choose, to develop character, to live by virtue.

Of course, students miseducated in such a regime display little virtue in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. They have no knowledge of how to die well, or even that they should.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Philosophy, Young Adults

(Atlantic) Nuns vs. the Coronavirus

In her room on Saint Joseph’s, Flo would often stay up until 2 a.m. trying to finish her prayers. For a while, she had run a fever, suffered from diarrhea, and kept coughing, but her symptoms didn’t last long. Surrounded by statues of Jesus and Mary, beneath pictures of her six kids, 23 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren, Flo prayed for courage, for the health of the staff, for everybody who was sick in the home. She especially prayed for Karen, her friend from the dining hall. “I was really worried about her. We have different things wrong with us,” Flo told me this week, her voice quiet over the phone. For weeks, she didn’t have much information about how her neighbors were doing, even those who lived just feet away. After a month of separation, toward the end of April, Flo finally left a couple of messages on Karen’s phone.

Since then, the two women have spoken just once, mostly about nothing. They aren’t afraid of death, but they don’t want to talk much about it. Karen told me that she didn’t ask Flo about the coronavirus outbreak, because she was scared she’d start crying. Flo didn’t ask Karen about it either. “Maybe a part of me didn’t want to know,” Flo said.

Karen constantly imagines what it will be like to return to the dining hall when the outbreak is over. Her table, like so many others, will be a little emptier: Pat, who was 87, is among the residents who have died. There was no memorial service where the women could say goodbye to their friend. Pat’s son, a priest in a Delaware beach town, was not even able to celebrate Mass at her funeral.

Both Flo and Karen are lifelong Catholics, and they believe firmly in the promise of Christianity. “When you’re people of faith, heaven is not a scary place,” Karen said. “It’s a place you’re looking forward to, that you’ve been working for all your life.” The residents encourage one another. They’re ready to go home, she said. “Just maybe not today.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(NYT) 15 Funerals a Day: The Pace of Death Stuns Brooklyn Muslims

All day long, wood coffins are carried in and out of Al-Rayaan Muslim Funeral Services in Brooklyn. What is meant to be a peaceful, reflective moment for grieving families has given way to a chaotic rhythm. Workers climb into a refrigerated truck and carefully carry the dead into the funeral home for a prayer, then back out to be transported to their final resting place.

They do this an average of 15 times a day in recent weeks. Before coronavirus hit, the home was holding only 20 to 30 funerals a month.

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Islam, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues