St Athenodorus of Neo-Caesarea
St Auctus of Amphipolis
St Baud of Tours
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St Ernest of Mecca
St Florentius of Strasburg
St Gebetrude of Remiremont
St Herculanus of Perugia
St Hesychius of Mytilene
St Hieron of Mytilene
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Bl John Duns Scotus
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St Thessalonica of Amphipolis
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St Vincent Liem St Vincenzo Grossi (1845-1917)
Thought for the Day – 7 November – The Memorial of St Willibrord (c 658 – 739) “Apostle to the Frisians”
The king demanded to know why he had violated their sacred places and insulted their god. The herald of truth answered him with steady courage:
“O king, you do not adore God but the devil. He has foully deluded you so that he can thrust your soul into everlasting fire. For there is no God but one. He created sky, earth, sea and everything that is in them. Whoever worships Him with true faith will have life forever. I urge you finally to renounce that foolish delusion of your ancestors, and to believe in the one Almighty God and Our Lord Jesus Christ. I call on you to be baptised in the font of life and wash away all your sins. Then with all wickedness and wrongdoing cast away from you, you may live as a new man in all reasonableness, righteousness and holiness. If you do this you will win an eternal life of glory with God and His saints. But if instead you reject the path of salvation, then be most assured that you will suffer eternal tortures and hellish flames along with the devil to whom you pay court.”
One Minute Reflection – 7 November – Today’s Gospel: Luke 14:25–33 – Wednesday of the Thirty First week in Ordinary Time, Year B and The Memorial of St Willibrord (c 658 – 739) “Apostle to the Frisians” and Bl Anthony Baldinucci SJ (1665-1717)
So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple...Luke 14:33
REFLECTION – “Francis’ father led this child of his before the bishop. He wanted to have Francis renounce into his hands his family possessions and return everything he had. A true lover of poverty, Francis showed himself eager to comply; he went before the bishop without delaying or hesitating. He did not wait for any words nor did he speak any but immediately took his clothes and gave them back to his father… Drunk with remarkable fervour, he even took off his underwear, stripping himself completely naked before all. He said to his father : “Until now I have called you father here on earth, but now I can say without reservation, ‘Our Father who art in heaven’ (Matt. 6:9), since I have placed all my treasure and all my hope in him.”
When the bishop saw this, he was amazed at such intense fervour in the man of God. He immediately stood up and in tears drew Francis into his arms, covering him with the mantle he was wearing, like the pious and good man that he was. He bade servants give Francis something to cover his body. They brought him a poor, cheap cloak of a farmer who worked for the bishop. Francis accepted it gratefully and with his hand marked a cross on it with a piece of chalk, thus signifying it as the covering of a crucified man and a half-naked beggar. Thus the servant of the Most High King was left naked so that he might follow his naked crucified Lord, whom he loved.”… St Bonaventure (1221-1274) Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Holy God and Father, You sent your Son to show us the way to our eternal home. Teach us always to understand that by relinquishing the things of this world and focusing our efforts only on following the Light He shines on our path, we may attain the eternal victory. May the prayers of St Willibrord and St Anthony, assist us in carrying our cross after Him. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 7 November – St Willibrord (c 658 – 739) “Apostle to the Frisians” – Bishop, Missionary – born in c 658 at Northumbria, England and died on 7 November 739 of natural causes, aged 81. Patronages – Convulsion, epilepsy, epileptics, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Archdiocese of Utrecht, Netherlands, Heusden, Belgium, Waalre, Netherlands.
Willibrord was born in Northumberland in c 658 and when twenty years old, went to Ireland, to study under St Egbert. Twelve years later, he felt drawn to convert the great pagan tribes who were hanging as a cloud over the north of Europe, at the request of Pepin of Herstal, Austrasian mayor of the palace, who had nominal sovereignity over that region.
Willibrord travelled to Rome twice. Both of these trips to Rome have historical significance. As Venerable Bede tells us, Willibrord was not the only Anglo-Saxon to travel to Rome. The way in which he described the visit and its purpose is important; unlike all the others, Willibrord was not on the usual pilgrimage to the graves of the apostles Peter and Paul and the martyrs. Rather “he made haste to Rome, where Pope Sergius then presided over the apostolic see, that he might undertake the desired work of preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, with his licence and blessing”. As such he came to the pope not as a pilgrim but specifically as a missionary.
The second time he went to Rome, on 21 November 695, in the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Pope Sergius I gave him a pallium and consecrated him as bishop of the Frisians. He returned to Frisia to preach and establish churches, among them a monastery at Utrecht, where he built his cathedral. Willibrord is counted the first Bishop of Utrecht.
In 698 he established the Abbey of Echternach on the site of a Roman villa in Echternach, which was donated to him by Pepin’s mother-in-law, Irmina of Oeren, the wife of seneschal and Count Palatine Hugobert. After Hugobert died, Irmina founded a Benedictine convent at Horren in Trier. When a plague threatened her community, she gained the help of Willibrord and when the pestilence passed by the convent, she gave Willibrord the lands for his abbey in Echternach.
Pepin of Heristal died in 714. In 716 the pagan Radbod, king of the Frisians, retook possession of Frisia, burning churches and killing many missionaries. Willibrord and his monks were forced to flee. After the death of Radbod in 719, Willibrord returned to resume his work, under the protection of Charles Martel. Winfrid, better known as St Boniface, joined Willibrord and stayed for three years, before travelling on to preach in Frankish territory.
He laboured unceasingly as bishop for more than fifty years, beloved alike of God and of man and died full of days and good works. According to his wish, was buried in Echternach. He was quickly judged to be a saint. Willibrord springs, which skirted his missionary routes, were visited by the people, to solicit the healing of various nervous diseases, especially of children.
Numerous miracles and relics have been attributed to him. On one occasion, the transport of his relics was celebrated thus “the five bishops in full pontificals assisted; engaged in the dance were 2 Swiss guards, 16 standard-bearers, 3,045 singers, 136 priests, 426 musicians, 15,085 dancers, and 2,032 players”. A Dancing Procession continues to be held in Echternach every year on Whit Tuesday and attracts thousands of participants and an equal number of spectators, to honour the memory of a saint who is often called the apostle of the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg). His relics are enshrined at Echternach, Luxembourg and in the Cathedral of Saint Catherine in Utrecht, Netherlands.