Thursday 28 September 2023    (other days)
Thursday of week 25 in Ordinary Time 
 or Saint Wenceslaus, Martyr 
 or Saints Laurence Ruiz and his Companions, Martyrs 

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Come, let us adore the Lord, for he is our God.

Year: A(I). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Green.

St Wenceslaus (907 - 935)

He was born into the Bohemian royal family, and brought up as a Christian by his aunt. When he became king, he worked hard to promote order in his kingdom and the free exercise of Christianity. This raised considerable opposition, and he was eventually murdered by his brother’s henchmen. He was immediately acclaimed as a martyr and is the patron saint of the Czech republic.
  See the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

Saints Lawrence Ruiz and his Companions, Martyrs

The followers of Christ, arriving unexpectedly in Japan, without any permission, have spread and propagated their wicked law, destroying the good and legitimate one and plotting to overthrow authority in the country. This is the beginning of great calamity, which we should avoid by all means. All these Christians should be eliminated without any delay. If anyone dares to contravene this order, he will be put to death.
  Lawrence Ruiz was born in Manila of a Chinese father and Filipino mother. He was married and had three children. He joined a Dominican missionary expedition to Japan in order to escape arrest for a crime of which he was accused. He was arrested by the Japanese authorities in Nagasaki, tortured and executed in September 1637. He is the first Filipino martyr.
  August and October 1633
  Dominic Ibañez de Erquicia was a Spanish Dominican priest. He worked secretly in Japan from 1623. He was 44 at the age of his execution.
  Francis Shoyemon was Japanese. He was a companion of Domingo Ibañez in his apostolate. He received the Dominican habit while in prison.
  James Kyushei Tomonaga of St Mary was a Japanese Dominican priest. He was born of a noble Christian family in Kyudetsu, and studied at the Jesuits’ College at Nagasaki. He was expelled from Japan in 1614 for working as a catechist. In 1632 he returned to Japan to help his fellow-Christians. He was arrested, tortured and later killed, “because he was a religious and propagated the faith”. He was 51 years old when he died.
  Michael Kuroboiye was a Japanese lay catechist, a companion of Father James of St Mary. Under torture he revealed Father James’s hiding-place. Repenting, he proclaimed his faith and joined his companion in his martyrdom.
  Lucas Alonso of the Holy Spirit was a Spanish Dominican priest. He went to Japan in 1623 and worked there, encountering great risks and hardships for ten years. He was arrested in Osaka and killed in Nagasaki after being tortured, at the age of 39.
  Matthew Kohioye of the Rosary was a Dominican novice, a catechist and helper of Lucas Alonso. He was arrested in Osaka and endured terrible tortures without apostatizing. He was 18 at the time of his death.
  September 1637
  The Dominicans in Manila organised a missionary expedition to the Christians in Japan. They arrived in Okinawa in 1636 and were arrested and held in prison for a year before being condemned to death.
  Antonio González was a Spanish Dominican priest. He died in prison after being tortured, at the age of 45.
  William Courtet, or Thomas of St Dominic, was born in France. He was a Dominican. He endured horrible tortures, singing psalms and praises to Our Lady of the Rosary. He was 47 when he was executed.
  Niguel de Aozaraza was a Spanish Dominican priest. He was executed at the age of 39 after tremendous suffering.
  Vincent Schiwozuka of the Cross was a Japanese Dominican priest. He was expelled from Japan in 1614. He became a priest in Manila and worked among the Japanese exiles. He became a Dominican before his return to Japan in 1636. He apostatized after a year of imprisonment and torture but soon returned to the faith and died a martyr.
  Lázaro of Kyoto was a Japanese layman. He contracted leprosy and was deported to the Philippines with other lepers. In 1636 he joined Antonio González as his guide and interpreter. Unable to endure the torture he apostatized for a few hours, but then repented and died for Christ together with the others.

Other saints: Saint Lioba (c.710-782)

Born of a noble Wessex family, she became a nun in the Benedictine double monastery at Wimborne (Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England). Because of her holiness and learning St Boniface asked for her assistance in the evangelisation of Germany, along with Saints Thecla and Walburga. He established a convent at Tauberbischofsheim in Franconia (in the modern German state of Baden-Württemberg) and Lioba was its abbess. She had responsibility over all the convents of the region and played a leading part in its evangelisation.

About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:

Second Reading: St Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430)

Augustine was born in Thagaste in Africa of a Berber family. He was brought up a Christian but left the Church early and spent a great deal of time seriously seeking the truth, first in the Manichaean heresy, which he abandoned on seeing how nonsensical it was, and then in Neoplatonism, until at length, through the prayers of his mother and the teaching of St Ambrose of Milan, he was converted back to Christianity and baptized in 387, shortly before his mother’s death.
  Augustine had a brilliant legal and academic career, but after his conversion he returned home to Africa and led an ascetic life. He was elected Bishop of Hippo and spent 34 years looking after his flock, teaching them, strengthening them in the faith and protecting them strenuously against the errors of the time. He wrote an enormous amount and left a permanent mark on both philosophy and theology. His Confessions, as dazzling in style as they are deep in content, are a landmark of world literature. The Second Readings in the Office of Readings contain extracts from many of his sermons and commentaries and also from the Confessions.

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)Amos 4:13 ©
He it was who formed the mountains, created the wind, reveals his mind to man, makes both dawn and dark, and walks on the top of the heights of the world; the Lord, the God of Hosts, is his name.

Noon reading (Sext)Amos 5:8 ©
He made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns the dusk to dawn and day to darkest night. He summons the waters of the sea and pours them over the land. ‘The Lord’ is his name.

Afternoon reading (None)Amos 9:6 ©
He has built his high dwelling place in the heavens and supported his vault on the earth; he summons the waters of the sea and pours them over the land. ‘The Lord’ is his name.

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Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
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