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Revising the February calendar

I have been asked to provide suggestions towards revising our church calendar. The Common Life Liturgical Commission of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia received my motion to review the calendar. They set in motion adding five names to the calendar:

August 8 Mary MacKillop, Teacher, 1909
August 16 Brother Roger of Taize: Encourager of Youth, 2005
September 5 Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Missonary of Charity, 1997
November 22 C.S. Lewis, Apologist, 1963
December 10 Thomas Merton, Spiritual Writer, 1968

Now they have asked that I present a revision of the calendar. I suggest starting this month by month in consultation, starting, as the motion suggests, from our current calendar, and holding alongside that the Celebrating Eucharist additions (added a decade later), as well as the more recent Common Worship calendar (another decade later). Please send me any further additions and suggestions – they can be put in the comments box below. I will choose to publish from what is sent here. Do not send anonymous comments. You can follow comments (and posts) by the Entries Feed and Comments Feed at the bottom of the page. Clearly I am interested in any material, particularly Maori and Polynesian enrichment. Please add some information, dates, a possible “title” (eg. “Marty of Uganda”, 1977), and even some reason why you are submitting this name.

The Calendar for February in the New Zealand Prayer Book – He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa

1 Brigid of Ireland, Abbess, c.525
2 The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
3 Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865
5 The Martyrs of Japan, 1597
6 Waitangi Day
14 Cyril, 869, and Methodius, 885, Missionaries to the Slavs
16 Alternative date for The Holy Innocents (28 December)
17 Janani Luwum, Archbishop, Martyr of Uganda, 1977
18 Martin Luther, 1546, and other Reformers of the Church
20 The Saints and Martyrs of Africa
22 The Confession of St Peter
23 Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.156
24 St Matthias the Apostle
27 George Herbert, 1633, and all saintly Parish Priests

The Calendar in Celebrating Eucharist has the following suggested additions for February:

4 Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189
10 Scholastica, Religious, Italy, 534
14 Valentine, Martyr at Rome, 269

The February Common Worship Calendar is:

(Principal Feasts and other Principal Holy Days are printed in bold; Festivals are printed in roman typeface; other Sundays and Lesser Festivals are printed in ordinary roman typeface, in black. Commemorations are printed in italics.)

1 Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c.525
2 The Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Candlemas)
3 Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary in Denmark and Sweden, 865
4 Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189
6 The Martyrs of Japan, 1597
10 Scholastica, sister of Benedict, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543

14 Cyril and Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 and 885
14 Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269
15 Sigfrid, Bishop, Apostle of Sweden, 1045
15 Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of the SPCK and the SPG, 1730

17 Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977
23 Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155
27 George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633

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8 thoughts on “Revising the February calendar”

  1. Hi Bosco
    Are any of our bishops considered worthy to be on the calendar – presumably Selwyn (I do not have the calendar in front of me), but how about the first bishop of each diocese?

  2. Responding to Pater Carrell (Hello Peter!)
    The existing calendar already includes Selwyn (1st bishop), Patteson (martyr), Bennett (1st + of Aotearoa) and Julius (1st Archbishop). Also Hadfield, given the amazing story, and the general saintliness of the man.
    Your idea sounds attractive until we look at details. Dunedin raises the question of “Which 1st bishop?”, and Cherrington of Waikato may be best forgotten. Also, the first bishop of most of the Tikanga Maori bishoprics are still living…
    Maybe we could remember each diocese, rather than the bishop.

  3. On an entirely different plane
    I would like to see a commemoration of Archbishop William Temple, one of the towering intellects of the 20th century, and a very influential figure in shaping the Anglican Communion in the middle years of the century.
    His date of death (October 26th) clashes with our commemoration of Alfred the Great, but I wonder why we continue to see Alfred as worthy of commemoration.

  4. Greetings Peter,

    Bishop Selwyn is already celebrated (appropriately IMO) in several calendars, including New Zealand’s, CofE’s Common Worship, and TEC (USA) BCP [April 11].

    I would be wary of automatically including the first bishop of every diocese or episcopal unit. One would hope they would be people in whom “the Church celebrates the victory of Christ” (NZPB p. 8 ) – but I think we should look case by case. If anyone wanted to submit such names, please send them in as I have suggested – with dates and title, and a little supporting this submission.

    As always, we need to guard against clericalism. The calendar is there to encourage each of us in our Christian life. We need a balance and variety of examples. Too high a ratio of bishops and we may give the impression that that is the normal route to sanctity – and that a mother or father at home, a plumber, a teacher, a shop assistant has a lesser road to holiness. Even granted that in NZ the ratio of bishops to faithful may be higher than elsewhere 😉



  5. Greetings Edward

    Thanks for your contribution also. William Temple is an excellent suggestion. We will hold on to that for when we look at October together. I have him in my calendar http://www.liturgy.co.nz/celebratingeucharist/25calendar.html which was part of the calendar revision motion. Interestingly, he is not on the CofE Common Worship calendar – the other part of that suggestion.

    There are many surprising names missing. I have mentioned in calendar discussions on this site previously how surprised Thomas Merton would now be to find his name on our calendar but not John of the Cross :-O

    My motion suggested there be a re-look at our NZ practice of only allowing one name per date. That has now been superseded through General Synod accepting two names on August 8, August 16, November 22 (as well as the earlier 25 July). My conviction is that all (NZ Anglican) moved celebrations should be returned to their original and ecumenical, international dates now.



  6. Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity in 1976, died this year early on February 3rd. His wife, Linda, who worked in the same cause, is still alive. A lot of material is available on the Web against him name. He was not an Anglican but a christian who succeeded in inspiring others to build up this charitable organization in some 100 countries helping poor people into home ownership so that now there must be some 500,000 people in homes of their own who would otherwise have some kind of housing need.
    We have on our calendar Florence Nightingale for nursing and certain social reformers. In April I shall have a name, if I remember, for an environmental writer, and but what of those still living? How do we honour people like the priest Peter Harris, founder of A Rocha?

  7. I had just come across this article whilst searching for information on alternative dates for Holy Innocents. I had noticed the the Anglican Church of Canada and the Church of England’s semi-official Celebrating Common Prayer offer 11 January as the date for Holy Innocents (as an alternative to 28 December in the latter case). I cannot find any evidence for why this date was chosen, and now see that New Zealand has 16 February as an alternative date. I wonder what the history behind these alternative dates is.

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