Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Prayer for Commemorating William Passavant

January 3, 2010 saw the addition of a new "feast" to the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church: the commemoration of William Passavant!

To my mind this would be an appropriate addition to Lutheran calendars as well, given the fact that Passavant was the Lutheran pastor who arranged for Theodor Flieder to bring four of his deaconesses from Kaiserswerth (Germany) to Pittsburgh in order to help him run the Pittsburgh Infirmary (which became the first Protestant Hospital in the United States). Of course the LCMS has an even tighter connection with Passavant, in that after two of these women served as deaconesses under him, they married LCMS pastors and one of them played a part in the history of the deaconess movement in the Synod.

The Collect (prayer) used by the Episcopal Church for commemorating William Passavant on January 3 is found in a new publication, Holy Women, Holy Men (2009):

"Compassionate God, we thank you for William Passavant, who brought the German deaconess movement to America so that dedicated women might assist him in founding orphanages and hospitals for those in need and provide for the theological education of future ministers. Inspire us by his example, that we may be tireless to address the wants of all who are sick and friendless; through Jesus the divine Physician, who has prepared for us an eternal home, and who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen."

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