Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like... St. Aelred's Day!

Whether you are prone to embrace the hushed expectation of Advent or fill your month with shopping, caroling and decking-of-halls, the Integrity Stakeholders' Council would like to remind you that our patronal feast, St. Aelred's Day, is coming up in just about five weeks' time on January 12th.

Born in 1110 in Hexham, Northumbria, England, Aelred attended school in Scotland and subsequently became the household manager of the Scottish King, David I.  Unsatisfied with this life, he entered the monastery at Rievaulx in Yorkshire, and subsequently became its abbot.

Window depicting the Abbey at Rievaulx,
by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.
Used under Creative Commons License
Aelred published several books, the most popular of which, De spiritali amicitia (Spiritual Friendship) written between 1164-1167 is what drew Integrity to him.  As abbot, Aelred disagreed with the idea that monastics should artificially have the same level of companionship with everyone in the community, arguing instead that people are naturally drawn to those with whom they are most compatible.

Integrity chapters, Proud Parish Partners and anyone who wishes to give thanks for the work of LGBT inclusion in the church are encouraged to observe his feast day with celebration and prayer.  Last year, the Connecticut Chapter developed a series of resources for the observance, including an anthem with words by our founder, Dr. Louie Crew, and music by Bert Landman.

The St. Aelred resources are the first of a planned year-round cycle of liturgies and other programming to be published on our web site.  The Stakeholders are looking for chapters, congregations and individuals interested in contributing or developing materials for the calendar.  Please consider sharing with us service leaflets, prayers of the people or other resources that others could utilize to further our communal life in the spirit.

Christian Paolino is Chair of the Integrity Stakeholders' Council

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