Christ is the chief shepherd, the leader of his flock: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: White.
|Pope St Pius V (1504 - 1572)|
He was born near the Italian town of Alexandria, on the Adriatic, and joined the Dominicans and taught theology. He was made a bishop and fought to reform the moral laxity of the clergy. He was elected Pope in 1566. He strenuously promoted the Catholic Reformation that was started by the Council of Trent. He encouraged missionary work and reformed the liturgy. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
|Other saints: Saint Marie of the Incarnation (1599-1672)|
Born in Tours, France, Marie married and had a son before her husband, Claude Martin, died. He left behind a struggling business that Marie was able to make profitable before selling. Free to pursue her religious inclinations, she experienced a mystical vision on 24 March 1620, that set her on a new path of devotional intensity. After working with a Spiritual Director for many years, she decided to enter the Ursuline Convent in Tours to try her vocation. She abandoned her son to the care of her family, but the emotional pain of the separation would remain with her. Later, when her son become a monk, they corresponded candidly about their spiritual and emotional trials.
Sometime near 1638, Marie de l’Incarnation was guided by visions to go to Canada and found a convent. Marie, along with two Ursulines and Madame de la Peltrie, landed at Québec City in August 1639. They managed to found the first hospital in Canada as well as an Ursuline Congregation.
|Other saints: Our Lady, Mother of Africa|
Nigeria, Southern Africa
North Africa gave the Church many saints, such as Monica and Augustine, and many important theologians. It remained Christian until the Arab invasions.
The first Christian Bishop of Algiers in modern times, Bishop Antoine-Adolphe Dupuch, was appointed in 1838 to minister to the French colonists who lived in Algeria, but felt called by God to restore Christianity to the whole population, hoping that in time it would spread from Algeria to the whole of Africa.
At the beginning, Bishop Dupuch found it impossible to build a church because the local population was hostile to the French. He went back to France for assistance. The Sodality of Our Lady in Lyon offered to the bishop a bronze statue of the Immaculate Conception with the understanding that she would be the Protectress of both the Muslims and the natives. It was brought from France in 1840 and was entrusted to the Cistercian monks of Staueli. Later, Cardinal Lavigiers, founder of the White Sisters, enshrined it in the new basilica at Algiers, where in 1876 the image was crowned. This bronze statue, very dark in colour, is known as Our Lady of Africa.
Pilgrims began to come to venerate the image where the lame, the blind, and the crippled were miraculously healed, and sailors came also to beg for protection of their long and perilous voyages. At this and other North African shrines the veneration given to Mary by Muslims is very marked. This feast commemorates the crowning of the Algiers statue.
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.
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)||(Apocalypse 1:17-18) ©|
I saw the Son of Man, and he said to me, ‘Have no fear! I am the First and the Last. I was dead and now I am to live for ever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and of the underworld.’
|Noon reading (Sext)||Colossians 2:9,12 ©|
In Christ lives the fullness of divinity, and in him you too find your own fulfilment. You have been buried with him, when you were baptised; and by baptism, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead.
|Afternoon reading (None)||2 Timothy 2:8,11 ©|
Remember the Good News that I carry, ‘Jesus Christ risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David’. Here is a saying that you can rely on: ‘If we have died with him, then we shall live with him.’