Christ is the chief shepherd, the leader of his flock: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: White.
St Paulinus (-644)
Paulinus was a monk from Rome sent to England by St Gregory the Great in 601. We have an idea of his appearance. St Bede describes him as ‘tall, with a slight stoop, black hair, a thin face, a slender aquiline nose, at once venerable and awe-inspiring in appearance’. Though he worked for nearly twenty-five years in Kent, almost nothing is known about this period of his life save that he was greatly respected. In 625 he played a large part in the conversion of Northumberland which by then had become the most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, stretching from the Humber to the Firth of Forth, and from the North Sea to the Pennines. He accompanied Ethelburga (sister of the King of Kent) when she went north to marry the pagan King Edwin of Northumbria. On Easter Sunday 627 Edwin was baptised along with ‘all the nobility and a large number of humbler folk’ in a wooden chapel in York.
From this time onwards, Paulinus was able to make a series of missionary journeys over the whole region, converting and baptising huge numbers of people. He ministered as far south as Lincoln, where he built a stone church. The success of his ministry was given recognition when he was appointed Archbishop of York by Pope Honorius I in 632.
Almost at the same time, his work was cut short by the death of King Edwin while fighting the pagan leader, Cadwallon. Paulinus was persuaded to take the widowed Queen Ethelburga and her children, by sea, to safety in her native Kent. He himself spent the remaining twelve years of his life as Bishop of Rochester. He died there in 644.
In other years: St Denis (- 258)
As might be expected for a saint of such an early period, practically no hard facts about Saint Denis survive. According to St Gregory of Tours, writing some 300 years later, Denis came to Gaul from Rome in the middle of the third century. He arrived at what is now the Ile de la Cité in Paris, where he built a church, arranged the regular celebration of Mass, and preached the Gospel. Together with two members of his clergy he was martyred near the city.
Denis (in Latin, Dionysius) is not Dionysius the Areopagite, whom St Paul converted to Christianity, nor is he the author of the writings of the “Pseudo-Dionysius,” but both these confusions helped to popularise devotion to him from the seventh century onwards.
Nevertheless, the real St Denis did exist, he brought the Gospel to Paris, and he was its first martyr. For these things alone devotion to him is proper and justified.
In other years: Saint John Leonardi (1541 - 1609)
He was born at Lucca in Tuscany. Trained initially as an apothecary, he fought hard to become a priest and was ordained in 1572. A few laymen attached themselves to him in 1574 and something began to grow that looked as if it might become a religious order. A storm of persecution erupted. It seems possible that the Republic of Lucca felt that being the birthplace of a religious order might be dangerous for the independence of the state, given the complicated international politics of the time. Whatever the reason, Leonardi spent most of the rest of his life in exile from Lucca, only occasionally obtaining permission to visit it after extreme pressure from the Pope.
The order that he founded, now known as the Order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, is in charge of eight churches in Italy and is also involved in missionary work. In addition, his work was taken up and extended by the Popes into the Work of the Propagation of the Faith (de propaganda fidei), of which he is therefore honoured as the founder.
The web site of Order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God is here
Other saints: St Daniel Comboni (1831 - 1881)
Kenya, Southern Africa
Daniel Comboni was born in Italy in 1831. Early in life he felt the call to evangelize the peoples of Central Africa, who, at that time, were the poorest and most abandoned. He set off to Africa and established several missions. He presented an appeal to the Fathers of the first Vatican Council, founded two missionary Institutes and was given the responsibility of the whole Apostolic Vicariate of Central Africa. Faithful to his motto “Africa or death” and his plan for the salvation of Africa, he lived and worked for the success of the mission until he died in Khartoum (Sudan) on 10 October 1881, at the age of fifty.
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: 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 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.