We are the people of the Lord, the flock that is led by his hand: come, let us adore him, alleluia.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Green.
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
In other years: 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.
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 Cyril of Alexandria (370 - 444)
Cyril was born in 370 . He entered a monastery, became a priest and in 412 succeeded his uncle as Bishop of Alexandria. Alexandria was the largest city in the ancient world. Rather like Los Angeles, it was a sprawling mixture of races and creeds; and it was a byword for the violence of its sectarian politics, whether of Greeks against Jews or of orthodox Christians against heretics.
In 428, Nestorius, the new Patriarch of Constantinople (and hence one of the most important bishops in the world) made statements that could be interpreted as denying the divinity of Christ. The dual nature – human and divine – has always been hard for us to accept or understand, and if it seems easy it is only because we have not thought about it properly. Those who dislike problems have had two responses: to deny the human nature of Christ or to deny his divinity: and either leads to disaster, since both deny the Incarnation and hence the divinisation of human nature.
Cyril fought strongly against the teachings of Nestorius and took the lead at the Council of Ephesus, plunging into the turbulent politics of the time and defending the Catholic faith through to its ultimate victory.
Cyril wrote many works to explain and defend the Catholic faith. He died in 444.
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 Corinthians 6:19-20 ©|
Your body, you know, is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you since you received him from God. You are not your own property; you have been bought and paid for. That is why you should use your body for the glory of God.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Deuteronomy 10:12 ©|
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you? Only this: to fear the Lord your God, to follow all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Song of Songs 8:6-7 ©|
Love is strong as death,
jealousy as relentless as Sheol.
The flash of it is a flash of fire,
a flame of the Lord himself.
Love no floods can quench,
no torrents drown.