The Lord is the king of martyrs: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Red.
The Martyrs of Lancashire
Today we remember eight martyrs from the Preston, Garstang and Fylde area who were martyred elsewhere. The group includes: St. John Plessington, St. John Wall O.F.M., Blessed Thomas Cottam S.J., William Harcourt S.J., William Marsden, George Haydock, John Sandys, and George Beesley. As the martyrs received strength through the Eucharist, we pray for strength to witness to our faith from that same source of Christ’s living presence.
Other saints: St John Plessington (c.1637-1679)
John Plessington was born at Dimples Hall, near Garstang, Lancashire, the son of Robert Plessington and Alice Rawstone, into a family at odds with the authorities for both their religious and political beliefs. Educated by Jesuits at Scarisbrick Hall, at Saint Omer’s in France, and then at the College of Saint Alban at Valladolid, Spain, he was ordained in Segovia on 25 March 1662. He returned to England in 1663 ministering to Catholics in the areas of Holywell and Cheshire, often hiding under the name William Scarisbrick. He was also tutor at Puddington Hall near Chester. Upon arrest in Chester during the Popish Plot scare caused by Titus Oates, he was imprisoned for two months, and then hanged, drawn and quartered for the crime of being a Catholic priest. His speech from the scaffold at Gallow’s Hill in Boughton, Cheshire was printed and distributed: He said: “I know it will be said that a priest ordayned by authority derived from the See of Rome is, by the Law of the Nation, to die as a Traytor, but if that be so what must become of all the Clergymen of the Church of England, for the first Church of England Bishops had their Ordination from those of the Church of Rome, or not at all, as appears by their own writers so that Ordination comes derivatively from those now living.” He was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius XI, and canonized as one of the Forty Martyrs on 25 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Ignatius of Antioch (- 107)
He was the second bishop of Antioch after St Peter (the first being Evodius). He was arrested (some writers believe that he must have been denounced by a fellow-Christian), condemned to death, and transported to Rome to be thrown to the wild beasts in the arena. In one of his letters he describes the soldiers who were escorting him as being like “ten leopards, who when they are kindly treated only behave worse.”
In the course of his journey he wrote seven letters to various churches, in which he dealt wisely and deeply with Christ, the organisation of the Church, and the Christian life. They are important documents for the early history of the Church, and they also reveal a deeply holy man who accepts his fate and begs the Christians in Rome not to try to deprive him of the crown of martyrdom.
He was martyred in 107.
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)||Leviticus 20:26 ©|
Be consecrated to me, because I, the Lord, am holy, and I will set you apart from all these peoples so that you may be mine.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Wisdom 15:1,3 ©|
You, our God, are kind, loyal and slow to anger, and you govern all things with mercy. To acknowledge you is indeed the perfect virtue, to know your power is the root of immortality.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Baruch 4:21-22 ©|
Take courage, my children, call on God: he will deliver you from tyranny, from the hands of your enemies; for I look to the Eternal for your rescue, and joy has come to me from the Holy One at the mercy soon to reach you from your saviour, the Eternal.