The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness: come, let us adore him.
Year: C(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Green.
Saturday memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary
‘On Saturdays in Ordinary Time when there is no obligatory memorial, an optional memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary is allowed.
‘Saturdays stand out among those days dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These are designated as memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This memorial derives from Carolingian times (9th century), but the reasons for having chosen Saturday for its observance are unknown. While many explanations of this choice have been advanced, none is completely satisfactory from the point of view of the history of popular piety.
‘Whatever its historical origins may be, today the memorial rightly emphasizes certain values to which contemporary spirituality is more sensitive. It is a remembrance of the maternal example and discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, strengthened by faith and hope, on that “great Saturday” on which Our Lord lay in the tomb, was the only one of the disciples to hold vigil in expectation of the Lord’s resurrection. It is a prelude and introduction to the celebration of Sunday, the weekly memorial of the Resurrection of Christ. It is a sign that the Virgin Mary is continuously present and operative in the life of the Church.’
Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2001), §188
Other saints: St Ambrose Barlow OSB (1585-1641)
Liverpool, Salford, Shrewsbury
Ambrose was born at Barlow Hall, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, near Manchester in 1585. He was the fourth son of the nobleman Sir Alexander Barlow and his wife Mary. Ambrose’s grandfather died in 1584 whilst imprisoned for his beliefs and Sir Alexander Barlow had two thirds of his estate confiscated as a result of his refusing to conform to the new established religion. In 1597, Ambrose was taken into the stewardship of a relative who would care for him whilst he served out his apprenticeship as a page. However, upon completing this service, Barlow realised that his true vocation was for the Catholic priesthood, so he travelled to Douai in France to study at the English College there before attending the College of St Alban in Valladolid, Spain. In 1615, he returned to Douai where he became a member of the Order of Saint Benedict and was ordained as a priest in 1617. He then returned to Morley’s Hall, Astley. From there he looked after the local Catholics, celebrating daily Mass and reciting his Office and Rosary. He would often visit his cousins, the Downes, at their residence of Wardley Hall (now the residence of the Bishop of Salford) and celebrate Mass for the gathered congregation. He was arrested several times during his travels. His parishioners implored him to flee or at least go into hiding but he refused. Their fears were compounded by a recent stroke which had resulted in the 56-year-old priest being partially paralysed. “Let them fear that have anything to lose which they are unwilling to part with” he told them.
On 25 April 1641, Easter Sunday, Ambrose and his congregation of around 100 people, were surrounded at Morley’s Hall, Astley by the Vicar of Leigh and his large (and armed) congregation. Ambrose surrendered, and his parishioners were released after their names had been recorded. The priest was then taken on horseback with a man behind him to prevent his falling, and escorted by a band of some sixty people to the Justice of the Peace at Winwick, before being transported to Lancaster Castle. Ambrose appeared before the presiding judge, Sir Robert Heath, on the 7 September when he professed his adherence to the Catholic faith and defended his actions. On the following day, the feast of the Nativity of Mary, Sir Robert Heath found Ambrose guilty, and sentenced him to be executed. Two days later, he was taken from Lancaster Castle, drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution, hanged, dismembered, quartered, and boiled in oil. His head was afterwards exposed on a pike. When the news of his death and martyrdom reached his Benedictine brothers at Douai Abbey, a Mass of Thanksgiving and the Te Deum were ordered to be sung.
Other saints: Saint Egwin, Bishop
The foundation of the abbey dedicated to Our Lady at Evesham is attributed to an early eighth-century Bishop of Worcester called Egwin. Very little is known about him, since the earliest account of his life, written in Latin c. 1020, is almost entirely composed of fables. However it does contain some local material which may reflect older traditions; among these is the account of the appearance of Our Lady to a swineherd at a place on the Avon where Egwin built the Church in her honour. This would be the earliest record of the appearance the Blessed Virgin Mary in England. Since 1952 Evesham has become the place of an annual pilgrimage to Our Lady; the Catholic Church there is dedicated to St Mary and St Egwin. In the Middle Ages St Egwin was commemorated on 30 December: September 10 is the day of the translation of his relics in 1039.
Other saints: Blessed Agnellus of Pisa, Priest
Agnellus was born at Pisa in northern Italy and was received into the Order of Friars in 1211, probably by St Francis himself. In 1224, S. Francis sent him and eight other friars to England where they made a great impression by their penury and simplicity. Agnellus was the first Minister Provincial in this country and founded friaries at Canterbury, London and Oxford. At Oxford, then in the period of the university’s first development, he established a school for the friars which rapidly grew into a major centre of theology, combining apostolic poverty with study based on scriptures. Agnellus died on 7 May 1236, aged 41, and was buried at Oxford. The cult of Blessed Agnellus of Pisa was approved in 1892; September 10 is the date of the arrival of the first Franciscans in Dover in 1224.
Other saints: Blessed Francis Gárate (1857-1929)
10 Sep (where celebrated)
Francis Gárate (1857-1929) was born in a farmhouse just a hundred yards from the Loyola Castle in Spain. After some elementary education, at the age of fourteen he began work as a domestic servant at the Jesuit College in Orduna, Spain. In 1874, he joined the Society as a Brother. From 1877 to 1888 he served as infirmarian and sacristan at the Jesuit College in La Guardian, near the Portuguese border. He went about his duty most meticulously, caring for the sick, often spending whole nights by their bedside. The strain was too much for him and he was transferred to the University college at Deusto, in Bilbao, Spain, as doorkeeper, remaining there for the next forty-one years. He was known for his holiness, piety, kindness and courtesy.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Saint Athanasius (295 - 373)
Athanasius was born in Alexandria. He assisted Bishop Alexander at the Council of Nicaea, and later succeeded him as bishop. He fought hard against Arianism all his life, undergoing many sufferings and spending a total of 17 years in exile. He wrote outstanding works to explain and defend orthodoxy.
The matters in dispute with the Arians were vital to the very nature of Christianity; and, as Cardinal Newman put it, the trouble was that at that time the laity tended to be champions of orthodoxy while their bishops (seduced by closeness to imperial power) tended not to be. The further trouble (adds Henry Chadwick) is that the whole thing became tangled up with matters of power, organization and authority, and with cultural differences between East and West. Athanasius was accused of treason and murder, embezzlement and sacrilege. In the fight against him, any weapon would do.
Arianism taught that the Son was created by the Father and in no way equal to him. This was in many ways a “purer” and more “spiritual” approach to religion, since it did not force God to undergo the undignified experience of being made of meat. Islam is essentially Arian. But Arianism leaves an infinite gap between God and man, and ultimately destroys the Gospel, leaving it either as a fake or as a cruel parody. Only by being orthodox and insisting on the identity of the natures of the Father and the Son and the Spirit can we truly understand the goodness of creation and the love of God, and live according to them. For this reason many extracts from the works of St Athanasius have been adopted as Second Readings in the Office of Readings.
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 orderly sequence of weeks through the year, a season in which we are being neither single-mindedly penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Samuel 15:22 ©|
Is the pleasure of the Lord in holocausts and sacrifices or in obedience to the voice of the Lord? Obedience is better than sacrifice, submissiveness better than the fat of rams.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Galatians 5:26,6:2 ©|
We must stop being conceited, provocative and envious. You should carry each other’s troubles and fulfil the law of Christ.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Micah 6:8 ©|
What is good has been explained to you, man; this is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.