The Lord is the king of martyrs: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Red.
St Alphege (- 1012)
Alphege (Old English Ælfheah) became a monk at Deerhurst, Gloucestershire, about 970, and eventually Abbot of Bath. In 984 he became Bishop of Winchester where he was known for his personal austerity and almsgiving. The king sent him to parley with the Danish raider Anlaf, and this he did with such success that Anlaf never raided England again.
In 1005 Alphege became Archbishop of Canterbury. The Danes were raiding once more and in 1011 they besieged Canterbury and captured it. Alphege was imprisoned and an enormous ransom was asked for his release, which he forbade to be paid. On 19 April 1012, at Greenwich, his captors, drunk with wine, and enraged at ransom being refused, pelted him with bones of oxen and stones, till one of them, called Thurm, dispatched him with an axe. He was buried in St. Paul’s and by his death he became a national hero.
As an act of reconciliation Canute, king of Denmark, England and Norway, in 1023 translated the body to Canterbury where it was buried near the high altar. Later Lanfranc confirmed the cult, and had a Life and Office written in his honour, and Thomas Becket just before his death commended his cause to God and Alphege.
Other saints: Bl. Isnard of Chiampo OP ( - 1244)
19 Apr (where celebrated)
Dominican Friar and Priest.
Blessed Isnard was born at Chiampo, near Vicenza, Italy, toward the end of the twelfth century and entered the Dominican Order at Bologna around 1218. He was known as “a fervent religious, a grace-filled preacher, and a virgin in body and mind,” as well as a worker of miracles. He founded the priory of Pavia which he wisely governed until his death on March 19, 1244.
Other saints: Bl. Sibyllina Biscossi OP (c.1287 - 1367)
19 Apr (where celebrated)
Lay Dominican and Virgin.
Blessed Sibyllina, born at Pavia, Italy, about 1287, was left an orphan when quite young and at the age of twelve was afflicted with total blindness. The Sisters of Penance befriended her and clothed her in the habit of the Dominican Order. She had a special devotion to Christ crucified and to the Holy Spirit. She lived as a recluse at the church of the Preachers where many people sought her out, asking for her prayers. She died on March 19, 1367.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Bede the Venerable (673 - 735)
Bede was born in the north of England, near the monastery of Wearmouth. He joined that monastery, and spent all his life there or at Jarrow, teaching and writing. He was the outstanding ecclesiastical author of his time. He wrote commentaries on Scripture; an ecclesiastical history of the English people, which is a unique and irreplaceable resource for much of early English history; and the first martyrology (collection of saints’ lives) to be compiled on historical principles. He was also the first known writer of English prose, though this has not survived. He died at Jarrow on 25 May 735, teaching and working until the last moments of his life. He is venerated as the “light of the Church” in the Dark Ages, and as a forerunner of the 8th and 9th century renaissance of the Western Church.
Liturgical colour: red
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)||(Apocalypse 1:17-18) ©|
I saw the Son of Man, and he said to me, ‘Have no fear! I am the First and the Last. I was dead and now I am to live for ever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and of the underworld.’
|Noon reading (Sext)||Colossians 2:9,12 ©|
In Christ lives the fullness of divinity, and in him you too find your own fulfilment. You have been buried with him, when you were baptised; and by baptism, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead.
|Afternoon reading (None)||2 Timothy 2:8,11 ©|
Remember the Good News that I carry, ‘Jesus Christ risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David’. Here is a saying that you can rely on: ‘If we have died with him, then we shall live with him.’