Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pentecost 2016

Come, Holy Spirit!

Pentecost, by Jean II Restout

Today we celebrate Pentecost, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit to visit the Twelve Apostles. This event occurred fifty days after the Resurrection, and ten days after Jesus's Ascension.

It is referred to by some as the "Birthday of the Church" because the Holy Spirit's visit prepared each of the Apostles to venture forth into the world to carry out their Great Commission.

In the Catholic faith, the Holy Ghost is part of the Blessed Trinity, a being separate from but consubstantial with the Father and the Son.

Among other things, the Holy Ghost is said to give the faithful the gift of understanding what is true, and the courage to advocate for truth in the world.

As a student and teacher of logic, reasoning, and rhetoric I always had a special fondness for the Holy Ghost. I pursued a career as a teacher due to His influence in my life.

No No

Royals CF Amos Otis faces Ryan in the 9th
On May 15, 1973 Hall of Fame RHP
Nolan Ryan, then pitching for the California Angels, threw the first of his record seven career no-hitters, beating my beloved Kansas City Royals 3-0 at what was called Royals Stadium in those days.

The Royals were in just their fifth season of existence, and their new stadium had seen its first game barely a month earlier.

Ryan struck out 12 and walked 3. Exactly two months later, on July 15, Ryan would throw another no-hitter, this time against the Detroit Tigers.

Four years later almost to the day (May 14, 1977) Royals RHP Jim Colborn pitched the first home no-hitter in team history, beating the Texas Rangers 6-0.

"At least your team got some hits last night."

A loss is a loss...and Mike Foltynewicz (5.23 career ERA) isn't exactly Nolan Ryan...

Happy Birthday!

On May 15, 1926 identical twins Anthony Shaffer and Peter Shaffer were born in Liverpool. It was a special day for the theatre, as both men would go on to become celebrated writers for stage and screen.

Among his other works, Anthony wrote the
Tony Award-winning play Sleuth, as well as the Oscar-nominated 1972 film version of the play. Shaffer's screenplay for that movie won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

He also wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy as well as several films
based on Agatha Christie's Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

Peter wrote a number of celebrated stage plays, including The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Equus, and Amadeus.

Peter also did the screenplay adaptations for Equus (which was nominated for an Academy Award) and for Amadeus (which won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay as well as Best Picture).


From the incisive pen of Michael Ramirez, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

As with most religious holidays and observances, Pentecost has been the inspiration for
a number of well-known compositions in classical music. In particular, the liturgical sequence known as Veni Sancte Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit) has been put to music by a large number of composers, including Palestrina, Morten Lauridsen, and Samuel Webbe.

One of the best-known and most popular compositions using this sequence is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's version,
first published in 1768.

Since its debut, Mozart's antiphon has remained popular with choral groups
and is often featured in settings other than a Mass.

On November 22, 2012 for instance, the Iowa All-State Chorus and Chamber Orchestra, which included students of mine from Atlantic High School, performed the work as the opening of their program at the All-State Music Festival.

Today's send-off is their stirring performance of the Mozart piece, under the direction of the University of Michigan's Dr. Jerry Blackstone. The performance was filmed by Iowa Public Television. Enjoy...

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