Come before the Lord, singing with joy.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St Augustine Zhao Rong and his Companions, Martyrs
Augustine Zhao Rong was one of the Chinese soldiers who escorted Bishop John Gabriel Taurin Dufresse to his execution. Moved by his patience, he asked to be baptized, and in due course was sent to the seminary and ordained a priest. He was arrested and savagely tortured. He died in 1815.
With him are celebrated 119 of his companions in martyrdom in China between 1648 and 1930 (including Bishop Dufresse).
Official persecution of Christians by the Emperors ceased in 1842, but violent anti-religious sentiments persisted, and in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, Christians were particularly attacked and many thousands were killed.
Other saints: The Martyrs of Gorcum (-1572)
On 1 April 1572 a group called the Watergeuzen or Gueux de mer (water-/sea-beggars, i.e. rebels) rebelled against the Spanish Habsburg crown which ruled the Low Countries, and conquered Brielle and later Vlissingen and other places. The town of Gorcum (also Gorkum or Gorinchem) fell into their hands in June, and they captured nine Franciscan friars and two lay brothers, as well as the parish priest, his assistant, and two others. These fifteen endured much abuse and suffering in prison and were then transported to Brielle, being exhibited for money to curious crowds on the way. At Brielle they were joined by four others. At the command of William de la Marck, Lord of Lumey, commander of the Gueux de mer, they were each interrogated and ordered to renounce their belief in the Blessed Sacrament and in papal supremacy. They all remained firm in their faith – even those who had been less than perfect Christians before their arrest. The prince of Orange, William the Silent, ordered those in authority to leave priests and religious unmolested, but Lumey ignored this command and had them all hanged, in a turf-shed on the night of 9 July.
Other saints: Saint Paulina of the Heart of the Dying Jesus (1865-1942)
Amabile Lucia Visintainer was born on 16 December 1865 in the town of Vigolo Vattaro (then in the Austro-Hungarian province of the Tyrol and now in Italy). When she was ten her family emigrated to Brazil, where she dedicated herself to good works, teaching children their catechism and visiting the sick.
In 1890 she and a friend formally dedicated themselves to a life of religious life and service. A third friend joined them a year later, and as more young women joined them, they established a religious congregation called the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, which was approved by the local bishop. They took their vows as members of the new order in December 1890, and Amabile took the name by which she is now known.
In 1903 Paulina was elected Superior General of the order and moved to Ipiranga, near São Paulo, where she opened a convent of the congregation in order to take care of orphans, the children of former slaves. Following internal disputes within the congregation she was dismissed as Superior General by the Archbishop of São Paulo. She was sent to work for the sick and the elderly. She was brought back in 1918 to live at the mother house at Ipiranga. In 1933 the Congregation of the Little Sisters was formally approved by Pope Pius XI and Paulina was acknowledged as the ‘Venerable Mother Foundress’ of the order.
From 1938 onwards Mother Paulina suffered severely from diabetes, and her health declined until her death on 9 July 1942.
She was beatified in 1991 by Pope John Paul II on a visit to Brazil and canonized by him in Rome on 19 May 2002.
Other saints: Saints Leo Ignatius Mangin, Priest, Mary Zhu Wu and Companions, Martyrs (-1900)
9 Jul (where celebrated)
The four French Jesuit priests commemorated today, Leo Ignatius Mangin, Paul Denn, Rémy Isoré and Modeste Andlauer, were martyred in China during the Boxer rebellion in 1900, together with a large number of Christian lay men and women. When the Boxers, a militant organization, attacked the mission at Wuxi, Mary Zhu-Wu, one of the faithful, stood in front of Fr Mangin with arms extended, and was shot dead.
Other saints: Bl Jane Scopelli (1428-1491)
9 Jul (where celebrated)
Giovanna (Jane) Scopelli was born in 1439, in Reggio Emilia, Italy. She lived with her parents and cared for them into their old age, while leading a simple life of prayer. During this time she became a Carmelite “mantellata” (member of a Carmelite lay confraternity, wearing the white cloak or mantella). After the death of her parents in 1480, she joined a group of like-minded women to form a community of prayer. Five years later, she acquired for the community the house and church of St Bernard of the Humiliati, which she transformed into a monastery that became commonly known as the “White Nuns”. Two years later, in 1487, the community was affiliated to the Carmelite Mantuan Congregation. In that time, the community had grown to 20 members and Jane served as prioress. She is remembered as living out an intense Marian piety and spirit of penitence throughout her life as she cared for her aging parents and in her work establishing a Carmelite monastery. Jane died on 9 July 1491 in the same town she had been born. In 1797, the Carmelite Church and monastery Jane had founded was suppressed, and her relics were transferred to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Reggio Emilia.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Ambrose of Milan (340? - 397)
Ambrose was born in Trier (now in Germany) between 337 and 340, to a Roman family: his father was praetorian prefect of Gaul. Ambrose was educated at Rome and embarked on the standard cursus honorum of Roman advocates and administrators, at Sirmium, the capital of Illyria. In about 372 he was made prefect of Liguria and Emilia, whose capital was Milan.
In 374 the bishopric of Milan fell vacant and when Ambrose tried to pacify the conflict between the Catholics and Arians over the appointment of a new bishop, the people turned on him and demanded that he become the bishop himself. He was a layman and not yet baptized (at this time it was common for baptism to be delayed and for people to remain for years as catechumens), but that was no defence. Coerced by the people and by the emperor, he was baptized, ordained, and installed as bishop within a week, on 7 December 374.
He immediately gave his money to the poor and his land to the Church and set about learning theology. He had the advantage of knowing Greek, which few people did at that time, and so he was able to read the Eastern theologians and philosophers as well as those of the West.
He was assiduous in carrying out his office, acting with charity to all: a true shepherd and teacher of the faithful. He was unimpressed by status and when the Emperor Theodosius ordered the massacre of 7,000 people in Thessalonica, Ambrose forced him to do public penance. He defended the rights of the Church and attacked the Arian heresy with learning, firmness and gentleness. He also wrote a number of hymns which are still in use today.
Ambrose was a key figure in the conversion of St Augustine to Catholicism, impressing Augustine (hitherto unimpressed by the Catholics he had met) by his intelligence and scholarship. He died on Holy Saturday, 4 April 397.
Liturgical colour: green
The theological virtue of hope is symbolized by the colour green, just as the burning fire of love is symbolized by red. Green is the colour of growing things, and hope, like them, is always new and always fresh. Liturgically, green is the colour of Ordinary Time, the season in which we are being neither especially penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Galatians 5:13-14 ©|
My brothers, you were called, as you know, to liberty; but be careful, or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence. Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbour as yourself.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Galatians 5:16-17 ©|
Let me put it like this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Galatians 5:22,23,25 ©|
What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit.