The Lord is the king of martyrs: come, let us adore him.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Red.
|The Blessed Martyrs of Winchester|
Among the many English martyrs who died for their Catholic faith, five suffered in Winchester.
Roger Dicconson (sometimes spelled Dickenson) was an “undercover priest”, secretly celebrating Mass and the sacraments all over England. He was born and raised in Lincoln, studied in Rheims and was ordained there in 1583. At first he worked in Winchester but was arrested and deported. He came back to work in Worcestershire. Returning to Winchester in 1591, he was arrested while celebrating Mass. He was hung, drawn and quartered alongside Ralph Milner and Laurence Humphreys on 7 July 1591.
John Slade was a native of Manston, Dorset and was educated at New College, Oxford. A schoolmaster, he was arrested in June 1582 and imprisoned along with Blessed John Body (whose feast is on 3 November). They were tried in Winchester, and again in Andover in 1583, and from there John Slade was taken back to Winchester, where he was hung, drawn and quartered on 2 November 1583. He was beatified by Pius XI in 1929.
Ralph Milner was brought up in Flacsted, Hampshire. A practicing Anglican, he converted to Catholicism and was arrested on the very day of his First Communion. His imprisonment was hardly rigorous, for during it he found the opportunity to do much charitable work in the county. Arrested with Roger Dicconson, he was hung, drawn and quartered alongside Dicconson and Laurence Humphreys on 7 July 1591.
Laurence (sometimes spelled Lawrence) Humphreys was born in Hampshire in 1571. He converted to Catholicism at the age of 18 and worked as a catechist. He was arrested after falling ill and uttering insulting language about Queen Elizabeth while in a state of delirium. Condemned to death, he made a public profession of faith on the scaffold. He was executed in 1591 and beatified by Pius XI in 1929.
James Bird (sometimes known as Byrd or Beard) was born in 1574 in Winchester where his father held public office. He became a Catholic in 1584. Arrested in 1592, he was executed for his faith on 25 March that year and beatified by Pius XI in 1929.
|Other saints: St Marcellus (d. 300)|
A centurion from Tingis (Morocco), he not only refused to worship Roman gods but also threw down his soldier’s insignia in front of the legion’s standards. As he did this, he proclaimed his Christian identity, his allegiance to the Lord and rejected the worship of gods made of stone and wood. He was put to death by the sword around the year 300.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Cyprian (210 - 258)|
Cyprian was born in Carthage and spent most of his life in the practice of the law. He was converted to Christianity, and was made bishop of Carthage in 249. He steered the church through troubled times, including the persecution of the emperor Decius, when he went into hiding so as to be able to continue looking after the church. In 258 the persecution of the emperor Valerian began. Cyprian was first exiled and then, on the 14th of September, executed, after a trial notable for the calm and courtesy shown by both sides.
Cyprian’s many letters and treatises shed much light on a formative period in the Church’s history, and are valuable both for their doctrine and for the picture they paint of a group of people in constant peril of their lives but still determined to keep the faith.
Red is the colour of fire and of blood. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate the fire of the Holy Spirit (for instance, at Pentecost) and the blood of the martyrs.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Peter 5:10-11 ©|
You will have to suffer only for a little while: the God of all grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ will see that all is well again: he will confirm, strengthen and support you. His power lasts for ever and ever. Amen.
|Noon reading (Sext)||(Hebrews 11:33) ©|
Through faith the saints conquered kingdoms, did what is right and earned the promises of our Lord Jesus Christ.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Wisdom 3:1-2,3 ©|
The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them. In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, but they are at peace.