The Lord is the king of martyrs: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Red.
The Blessed Martyrs of Winchester
Among the many English martyrs who died for their Catholic faith, five suffered in Winchester.
Roger Dicconson (sometimes spelled Dickenson) was an “undercover priest”, secretly celebrating Mass and the sacraments all over England. He was born and raised in Lincoln, studied in Rheims and was ordained there in 1583. At first he worked in Winchester but was arrested and deported. He came back to work in Worcestershire. Returning to Winchester in 1591, he was arrested while celebrating Mass. He was hung, drawn and quartered alongside Ralph Milner and Laurence Humphreys on 7 July 1591.
John Slade was a native of Manston, Dorset and was educated at New College, Oxford. A schoolmaster, he was arrested in June 1582 and imprisoned along with Blessed John Body (whose feast is on 3 November). They were tried in Winchester, and again in Andover in 1583, and from there John Slade was taken back to Winchester, where he was hung, drawn and quartered on 2 November 1583. He was beatified by Pius XI in 1929.
Ralph Milner was brought up in Flacsted, Hampshire. A practicing Anglican, he converted to Catholicism and was arrested on the very day of his First Communion. His imprisonment was hardly rigorous, for during it he found the opportunity to do much charitable work in the county. Arrested with Roger Dicconson, he was hung, drawn and quartered alongside Dicconson and Laurence Humphreys on 7 July 1591.
Laurence (sometimes spelled Lawrence) Humphreys was born in Hampshire in 1571. He converted to Catholicism at the age of 18 and worked as a catechist. He was arrested after falling ill and uttering insulting language about Queen Elizabeth while in a state of delirium. Condemned to death, he made a public profession of faith on the scaffold. He was executed in 1591 and beatified by Pius XI in 1929.
James Bird (sometimes known as Byrd or Beard) was born in 1574 in Winchester where his father held public office. He became a Catholic in 1584. Arrested in 1592, he was executed for his faith on 25 March that year and beatified by Pius XI in 1929.
Other saints: St Marcellus (d. 300)
30 Oct (where celebrated)
A centurion from Tingis (Morocco), he not only refused to worship Roman gods but also threw down his soldier’s insignia in front of the legion’s standards. As he did this, he proclaimed his Christian identity, his allegiance to the Lord and rejected the worship of gods made of stone and wood. He was put to death by the sword around the year 300.
Other saints: Blessed Dominic Collins (1566-1602)
30 Oct (where celebrated)
Dominic Collins (1566-1602) was born in Youghal, Ireland. As a young man, he enlisted in the army of the Duke of Mercoeur, France. He served with distinction the cause of the Catholic League for nine years, and was appointed governor of Brittany. At thirty-two, he settled into a comfortable life in Spain. He felt, however, the call to religious life, and in 1598 was accepted into the novitiate in Santiago de Compostela as a novice Brother. In February 1601, he accompanied a Jesuit chaplain to Ireland on a mission from the King of Spain. When they landed, Ireland was being besieged by the English. Collins was arrested, imprisoned and finally sentenced to death.
Other saints: Blessed Maria Teresa Tauscher (1855-1938)
30 Oct (where celebrated)
Anna Maria Tauscher van den Bosch was born in 1855 in Sandow, Brandenburg (now in Poland), the daughter of a Lutheran pastor. At a young age, she was attracted to the Catholic Church and desired to become a “sister”. While serving as Director of Nursing at a mental hospital in Berlin, her desires were realised; she made her profession of faith 30 October 1888. In the following year, she read the autobiography of St. Teresa and understood that her vocation was profoundly Carmelite and one of service to the poor. She opened her first home for needy children in Berlin; others followed. In 1906, she received permission to gather her companions, to profess vows and establish the religious institute “Carmel of the Divine Heart of Jesus”, taking the name Maria Teresa of St Joseph. Despite much suffering, her work grew and prospered in Europe and North America. After a long illness, she died in the odour of sanctity, 20 September 1938 and was beatified 13 May 2006.
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: red
Red is the colour of fire and of blood. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate the fire of the Holy Spirit (for instance, at Pentecost) and the blood of the martyrs.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Deuteronomy 8:5-6 ©|
The Lord your God was training you as a man trains his child. Keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and so follow his ways and reverence him.
|Noon reading (Sext)||1 Kings 2:2-3 ©|
Be strong and show yourself a man. Observe the injunctions of the Lord your God, following his ways and keeping his laws, his commandments, his customs and his decrees, so that you may be successful in all you do and undertake.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Jeremiah 6:16 ©|
Put yourselves on the ways of long ago and enquire about the ancient paths: which was the good way? Take it then, and you shall find rest.