Universalis
Thursday 21 May 2020    (other days)
Thursday before Ascension Sunday 
 or Saint Christopher Magallanes and his Companions, Martyrs 
 or Saint Eugène de Mazenod, Bishop 

The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Year: A(II). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: White.

Saint Christopher Magallanes and his Companions

Cristóbal Magallanes Jara was born in the state of Jalisco in Mexico in 1869. He was ordained priest at the age of 30 and became parish priest of his home town of Totatiche. He took a special interest in the evangelization of the local indigenous Huichol people and founded a mission for them. When government persecution of the Catholic Church began and the seminaries were closed, he opened a small local “auxiliary seminary.” He wrote and preached against armed rebellion but was falsely accused of promoting the Cristero rebellion. He was arrested on 21 May 1927 while on the way to celebrate Mass at a farm. He was executed without a trial, but not before giving his remaining possessions to his executioners and giving them absolution.
  With him are celebrated 24 other Mexican martyrs of the early 20th century.
  See the article in Wikipedia.

St Eugène de Mazenod (1782 - 1861)

He was born at Aix-en-Provence in the south of France and had to flee together with his family when the French Revolution broke out. He returned in 1802 in a penniless and uncertain state, but after a period of depression he began to develop a concern for the French Church, which had been attacked and half destroyed by the Revolution. He discerned a vocation to the priesthood and was ordained in 1811.
  He returned to Aix-en-Provence and lived as a wandering priest with no parish church. He and the companions he gathered round him went from village to village, preaching in Provençal, the language of the people. Facing opposition from the local clergy, Eugène went straight to the Pope and obtained official recognition of the “Oblates of Mary Immaculate,” of which he was then elected Superior General. He continued to guide the order until his death.
  He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Marseilles in 1832, provoking a furious and debilitating five-year diplomatic row with the French government. At length he became Bishop of Marseilles in 1837, on the retirement of his predecessor. He continued to rebuild the strength of the French Church, and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate were persuaded to send missionaries to other parts of the world, so that they are now active in 68 countries.
  See the biography on the Vatican web site.

About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:

Second Reading: Pope St Leo the Great (- 461)

Leo was born in Etruria and became Pope in 440. He was a true shepherd and father of souls. He constantly strove to keep the faith whole and strenuously defended the unity of the Church. He repelled the invasions of the barbarians or alleviated their effects, famously persuading Attila the Hun not to march on Rome in 452, and preventing the invading Vandals from massacring the population in 455.
  Leo left many doctrinal and spiritual writings behind and a number of them are included in the Office of Readings to this day. He died in 461.

Liturgical colour: white

White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
  In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.

Mid-morning reading (Terce)1 Corinthians 12:13 ©
In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

Noon reading (Sext)Titus 3:5,7 ©
God saved us by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our saviour. He did this so that we should be justified by his grace, to become heirs looking forward to inheriting eternal life.

Afternoon reading (None)(Colossians 1:12-14) ©
We thank the Father who has made it possible for us to share in the saints’ inheritance of light. He has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves. In him, we gain our freedom and the forgiveness of our sins.
Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
 
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