The Lord is the king of martyrs: come, let us adore him.
Year: C(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Red.
St Oliver Plunkett (1625 - 1681)
Oliver Plunkett was archbishop of Armagh and primate of All Ireland from 1668, at a time when the country was in a state of civil and religious disorder after the interventions of Oliver Cromwell. He persevered for ten years in his effort to ameliorate this state of affairs, until the discovery of a non-existent “Popish Plot” against the English government (invented and revealed by Titus Oates, who implicated many before he was executed for his part in it) gave the authorities an excuse to act against many prominent Catholics. Plunkett was arrested in Ireland but taken to London for trial; one of his companions was saved by being appointed as Bavarian Ambassador to London and therefore acquiring diplomatic immunity, but for Plunkett there was no such escape, and he was hanged at Tyburn, cheating his executioners by dying before he could be ceremonially disembowelled.
His remains are preserved at Downside Abbey, together with such other relics as the notes for his defence at his trial; on the occasion of his canonization in 1975 his casket was opened and some parts of his body given to the cathedral at Drogheda in Ireland.
St Oliver Plunkett (1625-1681)
Oliver Plunkett was born in County Meath in 1625, and died at Tyburn in 1681. Little is known about his early life except that he was educated privately by a Cistercian cousin, Dr Patrick Plunkett, who eventually became bishop of Meath. Ordained in Rome in 1654, he was professor at the college of Propaganda Fidei until 1669, when he was appointed archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland. He held synods and visitations and promoted the reforms initiated by the Council of Trent. It was a time when persecution was less severe, though he would often have to dress as a layman. In 1673 the English Parliament forced the king, Charles II, to behave more strictly towards Catholics, and edicts were issued banning bishops and all religious from Ireland. For the next few years he was able to continue his work clandestinely and was even able to hold a provincial synod. Despite the danger he went to visit his uncle, Bishop Plunkett, who was dying. He was arrested and imprisoned in Dublin Castle in 1679, he was tried on the extraordinary charge of having planned to bring seventy thousand French troops into Ireland. There was clearly no hope of a successful conviction in Ireland he was taken to London and duly found guilty of the charge. He was executed in London, the final victim of the ‘Popish Plot’ and the last person to be executed for the faith in England. He is remembered for his pastoral zeal and for the friendly relations he established with those who did not share the Catholic faith. His body rests at Downside Abbey, his head at Drogheda.
Other saints: Blessed Junipero Serra (1713 - 1784)
He was born on the Spanish island of Mallorca, and became a Franciscan. He taught at the university for a number of years before finally giving in to his vocation to be a missionary and sailing to America.
After spending some years in Mexico, he became a missionary in California, then being newly taken over by the Spaniards. Over a period of fifteen years he founded nine missions with about six thousand converts. He frequently came into conflict with the authorities over their treatment of the native population, but nevertheless, when he died, he was buried with full military honours. He was beatified in 1988, and canonized by Pope Francis in Washington, D.C. on 23 September 2015.
Other saints: Bl. Nazju Falzon (1813 - 1865)
He was born into a legal family: his father and maternal grandfather were both judges, and he and his three brothers all became lawyers. Two of his brothers became priests, but Nazju himself (the name is a form of “Ignatius”) did not feel worthy of the priesthood. He taught the catechism to children and gave away all the money he had to help the poor. He also found a special apostolate among the British soldiers and sailors who were using the island as a base, teaching the catechism to those who were interested and making many converts. See also the Nazju Falzon
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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.
Other notes: The Solemnity of the Precious Blood
This feast started in Spain in the 16th century. It was introduced to Italy by St Gaspar del Bufalo in 1815. The feast was extended to the universal Church by Pope Pius IX in 1849, to celebrate the victory of Papal and French troops over the revolutionary forces that had captured Rome and sent him into exile. Initially celebrated on the first Sunday of July, the feast was later moved to July 1, and Pope Pius XI raised it to the rank of a Solemnity to mark the 1900th anniversary of the Crucifixion.
One of the aims of the liturgical reform of 1970 was the simplification of the calendar and in particular a reduction in the number of feasts that took precedence over the celebration of Sundays. Accordingly the feast of the Precious Blood was merged into the solemnity of Corpus Christi, which is now the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Our Lord.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Philippians 2:2-4 ©|
Be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead.
|Noon reading (Sext)||2 Corinthians 13:4 ©|
He was crucified through weakness, but still he lives now through the power of God. So then, we are weak, as he was, but we shall live with him, through the power of God, for your benefit.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Colossians 3:12-13 ©|
You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same.
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Office of Readings for Friday of week 13
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