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)
30 Oct (where celebrated)
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.
Other saints: Blessed Dominic Collins (1566-1602)
30 Oct (where celebrated)
Dominic Collins (1566-1602) was born in Youghal, Ireland. As a young man, he enlisted in the army of the Duke of Mercoeur, France. He served with distinction the cause of the Catholic League for nine years, and was appointed governor of Brittany. At thirty-two, he settled into a comfortable life in Spain. He felt, however, the call to religious life, and in 1598 was accepted into the novitiate in Santiago de Compostela as a novice Brother. In February 1601, he accompanied a Jesuit chaplain to Ireland on a mission from the King of Spain. When they landed, Ireland was being besieged by the English. Collins was arrested, imprisoned and finally sentenced to death.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Pope St Clement I
Clement was Bishop of Rome after Peter, Linus and Cletus. He lived towards the end of the first century, but nothing is known for certain about his life. Clement’s letter to the Corinthian church has survived. It is the first known Patristic document, and exhorts them to peace and brotherly harmony.
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)||Deuteronomy 1:16-17 ©|
At that time I told your judges: You must give your brothers a fair hearing and see justice done between a man and his brother or the stranger who lives with him. You must be impartial in judgement and give an equal hearing to small and great alike. Do not be afraid of any man, for the judgement is God’s.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Isaiah 55:8-9 ©|
My thoughts are not your thoughts,
my ways not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks.
Yes, the heavens are as high above earth
as my ways are above your ways,
my thoughts above your thoughts.
|Afternoon reading (None)||1 Samuel 16:7 ©|
God does not see as man sees; man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart.