Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Seventy years ago today, Soviet forces liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. Over a million people, mostly Jews but also gypsies, gays, and others were killed there. In 2005 the UN designated January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Here are two sites about this day:

Here is Steven Spielberg's timely warning about the rise of anti-Semitism in the world: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/world/article/Survivors-visit-Auschwitz-a-day-ahead-of-70th-6040071.php

Monday, January 26, 2015

Interfaith Days: Feast of Sts. Timothy and Titus

Timothy and Titus, recipients of the three "Pastoral Epistles" attributed to Paul in the New Testament, were notable early Christians. Timothy was a faithful, younger associate of Paul, and Titus was also a Christian convert on whom Paul relied. Today is their feast day in the Roman Catholic Church and the ELCA; in 1969 the Catholic Church assigned the day to immediately follow the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. The ELCA also honors Silas on this day. The Orthodox Church honors Titus on August 25 and commemorates him on 25 August and Timothy on January 22.

More information about the two disciples are found on these Catholics sites:

http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1272 and
The picture is from: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/130604457918024838/

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Interfaith Days: January 25th, Conversion of St. Paul

Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, celebrated in the Anglican, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox churches. In his own letters, Paul refers to his "call," while Luke (in the Acts of the Apostles, 9:1-19) provides a dramatic narrative of what happened to him.

This day is also the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which started in 1908 as a Roman Catholic octave (eight-day observance, beginning with the Feast of the Confession of Peter, which is January 18th). After the World Council of Churches was established in 1948, the week was observed in many more churches.

(From the 2015 Interfaith Calendar of the Diversity Awareness Partnership of St. Louis---see dapstl.org for more information---and various online sources. My wife Beth purchased this Peter and Paul icon for me in Athens.)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Interfaith Days: January 24, Vasant Panchami

In the Bhakti and Smarta schools of Hinduism, worshippers chose a favorite deity (Ishtadeva, that is, a favorite form of God) to worship and cherish. If I were Hindu, my Ishtadeva would be Sarasvati, the goddess of knowledge, the arts, and music.

The Hindu festival Vasant Panchami happens today this year. With Sarasvati as the festival goddess (it's also her birthday), the day commemorates the end of winter and the beginning of spring. (Sounds wonderful to me!)

These sites explain more: timeanddate.com/holidays/ and this one. The picture is from this site.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Interfaith Days: January 19, Timkat

from: https://in.lifestyle.yahoo.com/timkat--
Today is Timkat (or Timket), the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian version of Epiphany, commemorating Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River. The most important festival in Ethiopia, Timkat (which means "baptism") also a festival of the Ark of the Covenant, which is never mentioned in the Bible after the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem. It is a happy festival involving processions, renewal of one's baptism, and colorful clothes. http://www.peace-on-earth.org/Ethiopia/1st.pdf and https://in.lifestyle.yahoo.com/timkat--christianity-s-ancient-heartbeat-in-ethiopia.html?page=all

(From the 2015 Interfaith Calendar of the Diversity Awareness Partnership of St. Louis---see dapstl.org for more information---and various online sources.)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Interfaith Days: January 18, World Religion Day

Today is the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/week-of-prayer

It is also World Religion Day, which in the Baha’i faith is dedicated to the oneness and unity of faiths in the world. The day happens on the third Sunday in January, was established in 1950 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is in the US.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Interfaith Days: January 14th, Makar Sankranti

In Hinduism, today is Makar Sankranti, a festive holiday every January 14th, marking "the turning of the sun toward the north, observed by flying kites, feeding the poor, and offering librations to the dead" (from the Diversity Awareness Partnership's 2015 Interfaith Calendar: dapstl.org). This site provides ways the holiday is observed in different regions: http://www.makarsankranti.org and http://festivals.iloveindia.com/makar-sankranti/