Come, ring out our joy to the Lord; hail the God who saves us, alleluia.
Year: C(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Green.
In other years: Pope St Sixtus II and his companions ( - 258)
Sixtus was elected Pope in 257. Twelve months later, on 6th August, as he was celebrating Mass in the catacomb of St Calixtus, he was seized by the authorities (it was the time of Valerian’s persecution) and beheaded along with four of his deacons. He was buried in the same catacomb.
St Laurence, another deacon, was captured and executed four days later.
We know most of the details of this martyrdom from a letter of St Cyprian, who was himself martyred later in the same year.
In other years: St Cajetan (1480 - 1547)
He was born in Vicenza and became a priest at the age of 36. He worked hard for the poor and the sick and for the reform of the Church; with this last aim in mind, he founded a congregation of secular priests which became known as the Theatines. These had three functions: preaching, the administration of the sacraments, and the celebration of the liturgy.
He encouraged the growth of pawn-shops as a means of helping the poor out of temporary financial difficulties and keeping them out of the hands of usurers. His congregation also cared for incurable syphilitics (a particularly virulent form of syphilis was sweeping Europe, having been imported from the Caribbean by Columbus’s men).
His example encouraged many others on the path to active sanctity. He said [in a letter to Elisabeth Porto]: “Do not receive Christ in the Blessed Sacrament so that you may use him as you judge best, but give yourself to him and let him receive you in this Sacrament, so that he himself, God your saviour, may do to you and through you whatever he wills.”
Other saints: Bl. Nicholas Postgate (1598 - 1679)
Nicholas Postgate was born around 1598 at Kirkdale House, Egton, one of the children of James and Margaret Postgate. His father died in 1602 leaving his widow with four young children to bring up. His mother was fined several times for non-attendance at the parish church before her death in 1624. The influence of missionary priests in the area probably led to Nicholas leaving home in 1621 to attend the training college for Catholic priests at Douai in northern France. Ordained priest on 2 April 1629 and knowing that he faced a sentence of death if he was caught, he returned to England on 29 June 1630.
His first home was at Saxton near Tadcaster, later moving to Holderness in East Yorkshire. After the death of Lady Dunbar in 1659 he is believed to have gone to Everingham. He was over 60 years of age when he returned to his native moors and settled in a small thatched cottage at Ugthorpe near Whitby. Here he lived in virtual poverty serving the Catholics of the whole of the North Yorkshire moors from northern Cleveland to well south of Whitby and inland to Pickering. In 1664 he wrote to the President of the English College at Douai that during his 34 years working in Yorkshire he had performed 226 marriages, baptised 593 infants and buried 719 dead. He also brought 2,400 persons into the Catholic Church.
On 8 December 1678 Father Postgate walked from Red Barn Farm at Littlebeck to baptise the infant son of Matthew and Mary Lythe. Unfortunately John Reeves, an Excise Collector from Whitby, decided to organise a search at Red Barn Farm in the hope of finding a connection with the Titus Oates Plot. Arriving as the baptism was taking place and finding Catholic books, relics, wafers etc, he arrested Father Postgate together with Matthew Lythe and two other farmers.
The following day after appearing before Magistrate Sir William Cayley, at Brompton, he was sent to York to await trial. The trial was lengthy and in 1679 he was indicted for high treason for being a Catholic priest. The death of the 83 year old priest took place on 7 August 1679 at the Knavesmire, York, where he was hung, drawn and quartered, which the Law inflicted on Catholic priests.
Ever since his death, Father Nicholas Postgate has been honoured not only by local Catholics but by families who have moved abroad.
On 22 November 1987, along with 84 other martyrs, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II.
Other saints: St Albert of Trapani (c.1240-1307)
7 Aug (where celebrated)
Albert is one of the earliest saints of the Carmelite Order remembered in the liturgical calendar, along with St Angelus and St Simon Stock. Like these other saints, his life is captured in the tradition that grew up around his memory, following his death, a tradition that is recorded in the legends written about him in the mid to late 14th century. Albert was born in Trapani, Sicily, in the mid-1200s the only child of a married couple who had struggled for many years to conceive. As is likely to have been a tradition, he was dedicated to God by his parents in thanksgiving for his birth and later joined the Carmelites in Trapani. He was ordained a priest and during his life is known to have moved between Trapani and Messina, also serving for a time as the Carmelite Provincial of Sicily. As such, Albert would have been an instrumental person in the establishment of the Carmelites in Europe as a mendicant Order following their move from Mount Carmel. His contribution to the foundation of the Order in Europe is recognised by his naming in tradition as one of the ‘fathers’ of the Order along with St Angelus, also from Sicily. Tradition attributed to Albert the gifts of a skilled preacher, healer and reconciler, the spirit of which continues to be recognised by pilgrims who visit his relics. Albert died in Messina, Sicily, in 1307.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Catherine of Siena (1347 - 1380)
Catherine was born in Siena and, seeking perfection, entered the Third Order of the Dominicans when she was still in her teens. In 1370 she was commanded by a vision to leave her secluded life and enter the public life of the world. She wrote letters to many major public figures and carried on a long correspondence with Pope Gregory XI, urging him to reform the clergy and the administration of the Papal States. She burned with the love of God and her neighbour. As an ambassador she brought peace and harmony between cities. She fought hard to defend the liberty and rights of the Popes and did much for the renewal of religious life. She also dictated books full of sound doctrine and spiritual inspiration. She died on 29 April 1380. In 1970 Pope Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church.
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)||Romans 8:15-16 ©|
The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Romans 8:22-23 ©|
From the beginning until now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.
|Afternoon reading (None)||2 Timothy 1:9 ©|
God has saved us and called us to be holy, not because of anything we ourselves have done but for his own purpose and by his own grace. This grace had already been granted to us, in Christ Jesus, before the beginning of time.