As a long-time follower of Lent Madness, I've seen a yearly tradition arise of petitioning the Supreme
But there is hope, Fred Rogers supporters! The liturgical calendar and our church's manner of recognizing people of faith is constantly evolving. What's more, there are definitely ways in which mere mortals such as ourselves can affect this change. I am firmly convinced that we can take steps this month to get Fred Rogers on the radar, so to speak.
Namely: Create a local commemoration of Fred Rogers for your faith community on or near the date he died, February 27!
One of the criteria given for inclusion in the Episcopal Church's calendar is local observance. I quote from the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music's blog post from one year ago:
Criterion 5 Local Observance: Similarly, it should normatively be the case that significant remembrance of a particular person already exists within the Church at the local and regional levels before that person is included in the Church’s larger story.I'm not saying the official recognition will happen this year. "Local and regional commemoration normally occurs for many years prior to national recognition," according to Lesser Feasts and Fasts. Still...if we really want Fred Rogers as part of our national collection of Holy Women and Holy Men (and in Lent Madness), it's great to take that first step.
Oh, and before you party-poopers step in and say, "A person needs to be dead for 50 years before we recognize him," I point you to last year's Lent Madness finalist Harriet Bedell who died in 1969. So unless I suddenly turned 50 without my noticing it, my basic math skills would suggest that Bedell was placed on the calendar well before her required 50 were up.
And whether or not Fred Rogers ever makes it on the bracket or in our church's official commemorations, the truth is, we will still have him as a model of gentleness and compassion. And I'm sure Mr. Rogers doesn't care about a golden halo.