At last Ecclesian has its patron saint. A niche will be rushed to completion in the revolving altar at the All-Faiths Chapel in Deepwell Heights. The saint is a former Catholic named St. Philomena.

News dispatches recently described the embarrassment she caused the Archbishop of Boston, Richard Cardinal Cushing, when he was about to name a church in her honor. The new red brick colonial-style church was already Philomena’s in the minds of loyal parishioners. Members of the Philomena guild had received 800 small statues of Philomena from the Cardinal.

Then, just as he was leaving for the dedication service, the Cardinal learned the truth about St. Philomena. She wasn’t a saint any longer. The Sacred Congregation of Rites at the Vatican had dropped her name from the rolls. In fact, Vatican sources went so far as to question whether she had ever existed.

The Cardinal had to face all those assembled people and tell them that St. Philomena’s couldn’t be St. Philomena’s. “It was a difficult job,” he said. “It was like telling the Irish there was no St. Patrick.”

Will someone tell the Cardinal that Philomena need not be forgotten? Ecclesian-speaking Protestants have long venerated any number of events which never happened, as they see it. It is no trick at all for them to preach on Abraham with the sure conviction that he never lived. Come home, Philomena. Ecclesian can demythologize your past and make you a contemporary event.

We shall also need some enterprising dealers in church goods to buy (at a sharp discount) surplus statues of Philomena. The ground swell for the new patron saint can be expected to spread to every contemporary chapel in exurbia. It may become a Philomenical movement.



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