Guild of Tea Liturgists
Today is an auspicious day in the history of tea-liturgists and tea drinkers around the world. Today we launch the International Guild of Tea Liturgists, complete with patron saint.
There appears to be no patron saint of tea drinkers already appointed.
The founders of the Guild of Tea Liturgists have chosen Francis Xavier (not to be confused with Francis Xavier Seelos) as the patron saint of the International Guild of Tea Liturgists, for the following reasons:-
1. Francis Xavier was a reluctant convert ie a slow starter. So are we.
2. He was one of the founders of the Jesuit Order who went all over the world with their message. We plan to do that and we quite like the Jesuits.
3. Francis received Holy Orders in Venice in 1537 and was sent to India in 1540. He was sent out to India from the Redemptorist Monastery on Giudecca in Venice where Neil has offered tea liturgy and seen the actual seat that Xavier sat on to be prayed for, and I have stayed in the monastery attached and visited the church numerous times.
4. We had the conversation about starting the Guild on Giudecca near this church in September 2019.
5. Francis is patron saint of missionaries.
6. Much of his life was spent working in areas such as India and Japan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and China, all among the producers of the world’s best teas. (Sadly he never made it to New Zealand to try Zealong tea.)
7. In order to present the Gospel in the most engaging and meaningful way Francis was committed to adapting his lifestyle and contextualising the Gospel (inculturation) to the needs of the local people wherever he went. We do that with our tea liturgies and ceremonies.
8. One of his symbols is a font, which is close enough to a cup for us.
9. Mark’s middle name is Francis.
So we think Francis Xavier makes a great patron saint for those of us who use tea in liturgical ways, and even for those who simply like to drink tea.
Born: April 7, 1506
Died: Dec 3, 1552, aged 46 years.
Beatified by Pope Paul V in 1619, and canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.
Major shrine: Goa, India (His right forearm was removed by Papal order in 1614 and shipped to Rome where it is in the second shrine to him. It toured Canada in 2018!! https://www.macleans.ca/society/how-to-look-at-the-severed-forearm-of-a-saint/ )
Feast: 03 December, thus we launch the Guild on this day (NZT)
Symbols: bell; crucifix; vessel; Pilgrim’s staff; rosary; lily; font; ship and crucifix; globe: to which we add a china tea cup and saucer.
Often portrayed as: young bearded Jesuit with a torch, flame, cross and lily; young bearded Jesuit in the company of Saint Ignatius Loyola; preacher carrying a flaming heart. From now on he will also be portrayed drinking tea, or at least with teapot and cup. (when we find someone who can draw that for us.)
Purpose of the Guild of Tea Liturgists:
We want to bring together people around the world who are practising, or interested in practising, the art of using tea drinking in its various forms to restore broken and lost connections between people and between people and the imago dei in them. We want people to flourish as they were created to do.
Founders: Neil Lambert (London, UK), Mark Pierson (Auckland, New Zealand)
It is our intention to set up a mediated Facebook group, and upload photos and articles and projects of interest. This may take a while to get around to as we are both a bit busy at present and not very social-media-tech savvy. (That’s why we have launched off my website. We haven’t figured out a better way yet.)