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New Zealand’s Bold Saints


In the New Zealand Anglican lectionary booklet, this year there are more bold-font celebrations than ever before. The booklet explains its own approach:

If the day is a feast or holy day that is indicated in bold type and by the date being given greater prominence. Other commemorations are indicated in ordinary type.

How to use the Lectionary page 2

So, the lectionary booklet has bold all capitals (Principal Feasts and Holy Days in A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa). Traditional “Red Letter” days have gone, replaced by bold lowercase/miniscules – unexcitedly called “Other Feasts and Holy Days” in the Prayer Book.

But, this year, the usually unbolded celebrations (even less excitingly termed “Other Commemorations”) are now sometimes bolded, sometimes not. With no explanation of the new differentiation.

It begins with “Seraphim of Sarov, Mystic, Russia, 1833” bold January 2, followed by “Gladys Aylward, Missionary, China, 1970” unbold January 3. Then it’s unbolded celebrations all the way until “Vincent, Spanish Deacon and Martyr, Saragossa, c.304” on January 22. Next bolded saints are “The Martyrs of Japan, 1597” February 5th. “Martin Luther, 1546, and other Reformers of the Church” is bold on February 18. “Shrove Tuesday” is bold this year. As is “George Herbert, 1633, and all saintly Parish Priests” on February 27. And so the year goes on until last week’s bold “Evelyn Underhill, Mystic, 1941“, but not bold “Sadhu Sundar Singh, Teacher, Evangelist, India, 1929”. And this week, “Wiremu Tamihana, Prophet, Kingmaker, 1866” ranks equally with “St John the Baptist/Hoani Kaiiriiri” and greater than “Alban, first Martyr of Britain, c.304”.

NZ Lectionary booklet 2020

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