St. David Edwards

a Priest
of the
Orthodox-Catholic Church of America
Was Declared a Saint
of the
Orthodox-Catholic Church of America
on July 27, 2002

Feast Day is May 19




David Edwards once described himself as a "maverick pilgrim in quest." The God and Lord to which he had been introduced through the Holiness Church was a stern and demanding God; a "taking God: as opposed to a "giving Lord". He was a God ever-ready to punish, and seldom inclined toward reward, at least not in this earthly life.

"In a way, I have crossed over the Jordan", he commented on the day of his Baptism and Chrismation at the as Orthodox-Catholic Christian in 1961. He took up residence at the House of Studies of the OCCA Society of Domestic Missionaries in Washington, D.C. In 1963 he was advanced to the diaconate and in 1966 was ordained a priest of the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America.

Shortly after his ordination Father Edwards expressed to his Bishop a desire to begin his ministry as a missionary in the North Georgia region from which he had exited. Not unlike the Apostle Paul in his own missionary ventures, Father Edwards was to suffer assorted abuse for his effort.

David Edwards was an active and visible missionary. He worked not only to place the faith at the disposal of the region-at-large, but embrace another very particular ministry. He paid the greatest attention to disenfranchised individuals whose lifestyle and orientation conflicted with the social and moral standards and attitudes of the Holiness and other ultra-conservative segments of the "institution church".

Because of this Father Edwards was many times the victim of physical abuse. Early in his ministry he was attacked and beaten by persons who objected to his giving succor and spiritual guidance to two or three individuals in their community considered by them to be morally aligned with an "ungodly" life-style. In another instance, at gun point, he was removed from his car by a group of three men, later identified as having ties with the KKK.

After the incidents of discrimination and physical abuse become known to his Bishop, Father Edwards was asked to give up his mountain apostolate. He declined.

In the Spring of 1972, Fr. Edwards was returning home, after having spent the day visiting members of his scattered and isolated flock. Within a few minutes of stepping out of his car to admire a clear sky filled with stars,, he was assaulted -- thrown to the ground and subsequently beaten and kicked into unconsciousness. His internal injuries were so severe that his condition was terminal.

Father David Edwards reposed in the Lord on May 19, 1972. As was fit for this mountain apostle, he was buried on May 21,1972 in the hill area from whence he had come, and to which he had eagerly returned. While no member of his human family was present, there was present several dozen members of his immediate "spiritual family", and a small number of persons who had learned from him that God was more concerned with their spirituality than their sexuality; and to whom he had responded with love to their plead to "look at me, not with the eyes of a stranger; speak to me with familiar words. Help me in ways that I can understand".





St. Mychal Judge



St. Mychal Judge, O.F.M.
Image provided by Robert Lentz of Trinity Stores


Fr. Mychal Judge, O.F.M
Was Declared a Saint
of the
Orthodox-Catholic Church of America
on July 27, 2002

Feast Day is September 11




As Muslim extremists flew high jacked commercial airplanes into the towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, they screamed, "God is Great!" to complete their act of self-chosen "martyrdom". Thousands of innocent people were killed, of many nationalities and different walks of life. The first official casualty was an elderly Franciscan priest who had just administered the last rites to a fireman who had been struck by the body of a woman who had jumped from the towers. His name was Mychal Judge and he was chaplain of the fire department.

The Koran begins with the words, "In the name of God most beneficent, most merciful." Most world religions proclaim God's mercy and compassion. The word martyr comes from the Greek word for witness. Mychal Judge was a true martyr who died bearing witness to God's mercy and beneficence, after a long life spent in the same way.

Fr. Mychal Judge was a devout, gay, recovering-alcoholic priest, who wore his Franciscan habit almost everywhere and rejoiced in his vow of poverty. The holy foolishness of the first Franciscans weaves in and out of the story of his life. As a priest he often sought out and confronted people who had been rebuffed by the harshness of other priests. His chief ministries were to the firemen of New York City, to recovering alcoholics in AA, to people suffering from AIDS, and to Franciscans preparing to make their solemn vows. When church authorities urged a boycott of the first gay-inclusive St. Patrick's Day parade in Queens, Mychal showed up in his habit and went out of his way to be interviewed by reporters. He once told an angry monsignor in the chancery who frequently called to admonish him, "If I've ever done anything to embarrass or hurt the church I love so much, you can burn me at the stake in front of St. Patrick's."

The word "martyr" has been twisted out of shape in the 21st century as religious extremists throughout the world try to impose their version of God's will. This joyful Franciscan friar from New York can remind us of the stuff of which martyrs are really made and challenge us to witness to God's compassion, however mad our world may seem.



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