The Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servants Of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Mass Propers

February 12 - Logo for Servite Order, Servants of Mary

Servite Order

The Servite Order is one of the five original Catholic mendicant orders. Its objects are the sanctification of its members, preaching the Gospel, and the propagation of devotion to the Mother of God, with special reference to her sorrows. The members of the Order use O.S.M. (for Ordo Servorum Beatae Mariae Virginis) as their post-nominal letters. The male members are known as Servite Friars or Servants of Mary.

The Order of Servants of Mary (The Servites) is a religious family that embraces a membership of friars (priests and brothers), contemplative nuns, a congregation of active sisters and lay groups.


The Servites lead a community life in the tradition of the mendicant orders (such as the Dominicans and Franciscans). The Servite Order was founded in 1233 AD, when a group of cloth merchants of Florence, Italy, left their city, families and professions to retire outside the city on a mountain known as Monte Senario for a life of poverty and penance. These men are known as the Seven Holy Founders; they were canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.

These seven were: Buonfiglio dei Monaldi (Bonfilius), Giovanni di Buonagiunta (Bonajuncta), Amadeus of the Amidei (Bartolomeus), Ricovero dei Lippi-Ugguccioni (Hugh), Benedetto dell’ Antella (Manettus), Gherardino di Sostegno (Sostene), and Alessio de’ Falconieri (Alexius). They belonged to seven patrician families of that city. As a reflection of the penitential spirit of the times, it had been the custom of these men to meet regularly as members of a religious society established in honor of Mary, the Mother of God.

From the beginning, the members of the Order dedicated themselves to Mary under her title of Mother of Sorrows. Dedicating their devotion to the mother of Jesus, they adopted Mary’s virtues of hospitality and compassion as the order’s hallmarks. The distinctive spirit of the order is the sanctification of its members by meditation on the Passion of Jesus and the Sorrows of Mary, and spreading abroad this devotion.

The bishop of Florence approved the Friar Servants of Mary as a religious Order sometime between the years 1240 and 1247. The Servants decided to live by the Rule of St. Augustine, and added to the Rule their own expression of Marian devotion and dedication. By 1250 there were a number of Servants who were ordained to the priesthood, thus creating an Order with priests as well as brothers.

Pope Alexander IV, favored a plan for the amalgamation of all institutes following the Rule of St. Augustine. This was accomplished in March 1256, and about the same time a Rescript was issued confirming the Order of the Servites as a separate body with power to elect a general. Four years later a general chapter was convened at which the order was divided into two provinces, Tuscany and Umbria, the former of which St. Manettus directed, while the latter was given into the care of St. Sostene. Within five years two new provinces were added: Romagna and Lombardy.

St. Philip Benizi

                             St. Philip Benizi

Suppression and expansion

St. Philip Benizi was elected general on June 5, 1267, and afterwards became the great propagator of the order. The Second Council of Lyons in 1274 put into execution the ordinance of the Fourth Lateran Council, forbidding the foundation of new religious orders, and suppressed all mendicant institutions not yet approved by the Holy See. In the year 1276 Pope Innocent V in a letter to St. Philip declared the order suppressed. St. Philip proceeded to Rome, but before his arrival there Innocent V had died. His successor lived but five weeks. Finally Pope John XXI, decided that the order should continue as before. It was not definitively approved until Pope Benedict XI issued the Bull “Dum levamus” (February 11, 1304). Of the seven founders, St. Alexis alone lived to see their foundation raised to the dignity of an order. He died in 1310.

Pope Boniface IX granted the Servites the power to confer theological degrees on January 30, 1398, and the order established the Marianum in Rome.

The new foundation enjoyed considerable growth in the following decades. Even in the thirteenth century there were houses of the order in Germany, France, and Spain. Early in the fourteenth century the order had more than one hundred convents including branch houses in Hungary, Bohemia, Austria, Poland, and Belgium; there were also missions in Crete, the Philippines (St. Peregrine-Philippine Vicariate) and India.

The disturbances during the Protestant Reformation caused the loss of many Servite convents in Germany, but in the south of France the order met with much success. The Convent of Santa Maria in Via (1563) was the second house of the order established in Rome; San Marcello al Corso had been founded in 1369. Early in the eighteenth century the order sustained losses and confiscations from which it has scarcely yet recovered. The flourishing Province of Narbonne was almost totally destroyed by the plague which swept Marseilles in 1720. In 1783 the Servites were expelled from Prague and in 1785 Emperor Joseph II desecrated the shrine of Maria Waldrast. Ten monasteries were suppressed in Spain in 1835. A new foundation was made at Brussels in 1891.

After the Risorgimento in 1870, the government of Italy closed the Marianum along with many other papal institutions. The institute was re-founded as the College of Sant Alessio Falcioneri in 1895. At this period the order was introduced into England and America, chiefly through the efforts of Fathers Bosio and Morini. The latter, having gone to London in 1864 as director of the affiliated Sisters of Compassion, obtained charge of a parish from Archbishop Manning in 1867. His work prospered; besides St. Mary’s Priory at London, convents were opened at Bognor Regis (1882) and Begbroke (1886). In 1870 Fathers Morini, Ventura, Giribaldi, and Brother Joseph Camera, at the request of Bishop Joseph Melcher of Green Bay, Wisconsin, took up a mission in America, at Neenah. Father Morini founded at Chicago (1874) the monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows. A novitiate was opened at Granville, Wisconsin, in 1892. The American province was formally established in 1908.

Pope Pius XII, through the Congregation of Seminaries and Universities, elevated the Marianum to a pontifical theological faculty on 30 November 1950.

After the Second Vatican Council, the order renewed its Constitutions starting with its 1968 general chapter at Majadahonda, Madrid, a process which was concluded in 1987. In the same year, Prior General Michael M. Sincerny oversaw the creation of the International Union of the Servite Family (UNIFAS).

6th sunday after pentecost holy sacrifice of the mass

     February 12

Friday after Ash Wednesday

The Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servants Of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Confessors

    Double – White vestments

  Missa ‘Justi Decantaverunt’


INTROIT – Wisdom 10: 20-21; Psalm 8: 2

Justi decantaverunt, Domine, nomen sanctum tuum, et victricem manum tuam laudaverunt pariter: quoniam sapientia aperuit os mutum, et linguas inflantium fecit disertas. Ps. Domine Dominus noster, quam admirabile est nomen tuum in universa terra. Gloria Patri.

Justi decantaverunt…

The just sang to Thy holy name, O Lord, they praised with one accord Thy victorious hand. For wisdom opened the mouth of the dumb, and made the tongues of infants eloquent. Ps. O Lord our God, how admirable is Thy name in the whole earth. Glory be to the Father.

The just sang…

Ceiling in the Servite mother church, Santissima Annunziata, Florence

Ceiling in the Servite mother church, Santissima Annunziata, Florence


O Lord Jesus Christ Who, in order to renew the memory of the sorrows of Thy most holy Mother, hast through the seven blessed fathers enriched Thy Church with the new Order of Servites; mercifully grant that we may be so united in their sorrows as to share in their joys: Who livest and reignest.


May Your kindly favour, we beseech You, O Lord, accompany the fast we have begun, that we may be able to practice with a pure mind what we perform bodily. Through our Lord.

EPISTLE – Ecclus. 44: 1-15

Let us now praise men or renown, and our fathers in their generation. The Lord hath wrought great glory through His magnificence from the beginning. Such as have borne rule in their dominions, men of great power and endued with their wisdom, showing forth in the prophets the dignity of prophets, and ruling over the present people, and by the strength of wisdom instructing the people in most holy words. Such as by their skill sought out musical tunes, and published canticles of the Scriptures. Rich men in virtues, lovers of beautifulness: living at peace in their houses. All these have gained glory in their generations, and were praised in their days. They that were born of them have left a name behind them, that their praises might be related. And there are some of whom there is no memorial; who are perished, as if they had never been, and are born as if they had never been born, and their children with them. But these were men of mercy, whose godly deeds have not failed. Good things continue with their seed. Their posterity are a holy inheritance, and their seed hath stood in the covenants. And their children for their sakes remain for ever; their seed and their glory shall not be forsaken. Their bodies are buried in peace, and their name liveth unto generation and generation. Let the people show forth their wisdom, and the Church declare their praise.

Servite church in Innsbruck, Austria

Servite church in Innsbruck, Austria

GRADUAL – Isaias 65: 23; Ecclus. 44: 14

My elect shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth in trouble, for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their posterity with them. Their bodies are buried in peace, and their name liveth unto generation and generation.

TRACT – Psalm 125: 5-7

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  Going they went and wept, casting their seeds. But coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves.

GOSPEL – Matthew 19: 27-29

At that time, Peter said to Jesus: Behold we have left all things and have followed Thee: what therefore shall we have? And Jesus said to them: Amen I say to you, that you, who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of His majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold and shall possess life everlasting.

OFFERTORY – Isaias 56: 7

I will bring them into My holy mount, and I will make them joyful in My house of prayer; their holocausts and their victims shall please Me upon My altar.


Lord, the sacrifice we offer up to Thee, and do Thou grant that, through the prayers of Thy Saints, being inflamed with love for the sorrowing Virgin, Mother of Thy Son, we may serve Thee with a free mind. Through the same our Lord.


Grant, O Lord, we beseech You, that as we offer the sacrifice of Lent, our hearts may be made acceptable to You; and the sacrifice may give us greater willingness for self denial. Through our Lord.


It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise…

St. John at the Crucifixion of Jesus by Pietro Perugino, c. 1482 (Detail)

COMMUNION – John 15: 16

I have chosen you from the world that you should go and bring forth fruit, and your fruit should remain.


Quickened anew by the heavenly mysteries, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that following the example of the saints whose feast we are keeping, we may steadfastly abide at the foot of the cross of Jesus with Mary His mother, and merit to partake in the fruits of His redemption. Through the same our Lord.


Fill us, O Lord, with the spirit of Your love, to unite in charity those whom You have filled with one and the same heavenly Bread. Through our Lord.


Watch over Your people, O Lord, and mercifully cleanse them from all their sins; for no harm can come to them if no evil has power over them. Through our Lord.



FEBRUARY 9 FEAST DAY - Cyril of Alexandria


Bishop, Confessor and Doctor

                  (Born c. 375—died June 27, 444)

Cyril is best known for his role in the Council of Ephesus, where the Church confirmed that Christ is both God and man in one person.

Cyril is counted among the Church Fathers and the Doctors of the Church, and his reputation within the Christian world has resulted in his titles ‘Pillar of Faith’ and ‘Seal of all the Fathers’, but Theodosius II, the Roman Emperor, condemned him for behaving like a “proud pharaoh”, and the Nestorian bishops at the Council of Ephesus declared him a heretic, labeling him as a “monster, born and educated for the destruction of the church.”


During the fourth century, the Greek Church had already held two ecumenical councils to confirm Christ’s eternal preexistence as God prior to his incarnation as a man. From this perennial belief, it followed logically that Mary was the mother of God. Veneration of Mary as “Theotokos” confirmed the doctrine of the incarnation, and Christ’s status as equal to the God the Father.

Nestorius insisted that he, too, held these doctrines. But to Cyril, and many others, his refusal to acknowledge Mary as the Mother of God seemed to reveal a heretical view of Christ which would split him into two united but distinct persons: one fully human and born of Mary, the other fully divine and not subject to birth or death.

The council was a tumultuous affair. Patriarch John of Antioch, a friend of Nestorius, came to the city and convened a rival council which sought to condemn and depose Cyril. Tension between the advocates of Cyril and Nestorius erupted into physical violence at times, and both parties sought to convince the emperor in Constantinople to back their position.

During the council, which ran from June 22 to July 31 of the year 431, Cyril brilliantly defended the orthodox belief in Christ as a single eternally divine person who also became incarnate as a man. The council condemned Nestorius, who was deposed as patriarch and later suffered exile. Cyril, however, reconciled with John and many of the other Antiochian theologians who once supported Nestorius.

The Catholic Church did not commemorate St. Cyril in the Tridentine Calendar: it added his feast only in 1882, assigning to it the date of 9 February. The 1969 revision moved it to 27 June, considered to be the day of the saint’s death.

St. Cyril of Alexandria died on June 27, 444, having been a bishop for nearly 32 years and in 1883 he was declared a Doctor of the Church.

Torture of Saint Apollonia,1513 Heilsbronn Cathedral, Bavaria

Torture of Saint Apollonia,1513 Heilsbronn Cathedral, Bavaria


Born – 2nd century

Died –249, Alexandria, Egypt

Attributes – Tongs (sometimes with a tooth in them), depicted holding a cross or martyr’s palm or crown

Patronage – Dentists, Tooth problems, Achterbos, Belgium Ariccia, Italy Cuccaro Monferrato, Italy

She is represented in art with pincers in which a tooth is held. In a late 14th-century illumination from a French manuscript, the tooth in her pincers glows from within, like a lightbulb.

At Alexandria, in 249, the mob rose in savage fury against the Christians. Metras, an old man, perished first. His eyes were pierced with reeds, and he was stoned to death. A woman named Quinta was the next victim. She was led to a heathen temple and bidden worship. She replied by cursing the false god again and again, and she too was stoned to death. After this the houses of the Christians were sacked and plundered. They took the spoiling of their goods with all joy.

St. Apollonia, an aged virgin, was the most famous among the martyrs. Her teeth were beaten out; she was led outside the city, a huge fire was kindled, and she was told she must deny Christ, or else be burned alive. She was silent for a while, and then, moved by a special inspiration of the Holy Ghost, she leaped into the fire and died in its flames. The same courage showed itself the next year, when Decius became emperor, and the persecution grew till it seemed as if the very elect must fall away. The story of Dioscorus illustrates the courage of the Alexandrian Christians, and the esteem they had for martyrdom. He was a boy of fifteen. To the arguments of the judge he returned wise answers: he was proof against torture. His older companions were executed, but Dioscorus was spared on account of his tender years; yet the Christians could not bear to think that he had been deprived of the martyr’s crown, except to receive it afterwards more gloriously. “Dioscorus,” writes Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria at this time, “remains with us, reserved for some longer and greater combat.” There were indeed many Christians who came, pale and trembling, to offer the heathen sacrifices. But the judges themselves were struck with horror at the multitudes who rushed to martyrdom. Women triumphed over torture, till at last the judges were glad to execute them at once and put an end to the ignominy of their own defeat.



 St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor

Commemoration St. Apollonia, Virgin and Martyr

Double – White vestments

      Missa ‘In Medio’

 INTROIT Ecclesiasticus 15: 5; Psalm 91: 2 

In Medio Ecclesiæ aperuit os ejus: et implevit eum Dominus spiritu sapientiæ, et intellectus: stolam gloriæ induit eum. Ps. Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime. Gloria Patri.

In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory. Ps. It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy Name, O Most High. Glory be to the Father.

St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Nicholas' Church, Prague


O God, who didst render blessed Cyril, Thy Confessor and Bishop, the invincible champion of the divine motherhood of the most blessed Virgin Mary: grant by his intercession, that we who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be saved through her maternal intercession. Through the same Lord.


O God, who among the wonders of Thy power hast granted even to the weaker sex the triumph of martyrdom: mercifully grant that we who celebrate the heavenly birthday of blessed Apollonia Thy Virgin and Martyr may, through her example, advance nearer to Thee. Through our Lord.

EPISTLE – II Timothy 4: 1-8

Dearly beloved, I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the living and the dead, by His coming and His kingdom: preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and will indeed turn away from the truth, but will be turned into fables. But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil thy ministry. Be sober. For I am even now ready to be sacrificed. and the time of my dissolution is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord, the just Judge, will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love His coming.

GRADUAL – Psalm 36: 30-31

The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment. The law of His God is in his heart: and his steps shall not be supplanted.

TRACT – Psalm 111: 1-3

Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: he shall delight exceedingly in His commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the righteous shall be blessed. Glory and wealth shall be in his house: and his justice remaineth for ever and ever.

Coptic Icon – Christ, eternally divine person who also became incarnate as a man.

Coptic Icon – Christ, eternally divine person who also became incarnate as a man.

GOSPEL – Matthew 5: 13-19

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and be trodden on by men You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, Who is in heaven. Do not think that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and so shall teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

OFFERTORY – Psalm 91: 13

The just shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus.


O Almighty God, graciously regard our gifts: and grant that by the intercession of blessed Cyril we may worthily receive in our hearts our Lord Jesus Christ, Thine only-begotten Son, co-eternal with Thee in Thy glory: Who with Thee liveth and reigneth.


Receive, O Lord, the gifts which we bring on the solemnity of blessed Apollonia Thy Virgin and Martyr, through whose intercession we hope for deliverance. Through our Lord.

God the Father Creating the Material World by Philippe de Champaigne


It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:

COMMUNION – Luke 12: 42

The faithful and wise servant, whom his lord setteth over his family: to give them their measure of wheat in due season.


Refreshed by these mysteries, we humbly beseech Thee, O Lord: that, aided by the example and merits of the blessed Bishop Cyril, we may be able to render fitting service to the most holy Mother of Thine only-begotten Son: Who with Thee liveth and reigneth.

St. Apollonia


May the mysteries which we have received be a help unto us, O Lord, and through the intercession of blessed Apollonia, Thy Virgin and Martyr, may they cause us to rejoice in Thine everlasting protection. Through our Lord.


Feb 8 - St John of Matha Founder of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity

              February 8


Born – June 23, 1160, Faucon-de-Barcelonnette

Died – December 17, 1213, Rome

Canonized – Cultus confirmed 21 October 1666 by Pope Alexander VII

Attributes – purse, man in Trinitarian habit, with the white with blue and red cross on the breast, with chains in his hands or at his feet, captives near him, and his mitre at his feet.

Between the eighth and the fifteenth centuries medieval Europe was in a state of intermittent warfare between the Christian kingdoms of southern Europe and the Muslim polities of North Africa, Southern France, Sicily and portions of Spain. According to James W. Brodman, the threat of capture, whether by pirates or coastal raiders, or during one of the region’s intermittent wars, was a continuous threat to residents of Catalonia, Languedoc, and the other coastal provinces of medieval Christian Europe. Raids by militias, bands, and armies from both sides was an almost annual occurrence.


The threat of capture, whether by pirates or coastal raiders, or during one of the region’s intermittent wars, was not a new but rather a continuing threat to the residents of Catalonia, Languedoc, and the other coastal provinces of medieval Christian Europe.

The redemption of captives is listed among the corporal works of mercy. The period of the Crusades, when so many Christians were in danger of falling into the hands of non-Christians, witnessed the rise of religious orders vowed exclusively to this pious work.


Most of the story of John of Matha’s life is based on legends that circulated after his death. It is reasonably certain that he was born to noble parents at Faucon-de-Barcelonnette, on the borders of Provence on June 23, 1169. He was baptized John, in honour of St. John the Baptist. His father Euphemius sent him to Aix, where he learned grammar, fencing, riding, and other exercises fit for a young nobleman. It is said that while there he gave the poor a considerable part of the money his parents sent him, and he visited the hospital every Friday, assisting the sick poor.

He studied theology at the University of Paris and was ordained a priest at the age of 32 in December 1192. According to Trintarian tradition, on January 28, 1193, John celebrated his first Mass. During that Mass, he was struck with a vision of Christ holding by the hand two chained captives, one a Moor, the other a Christian (the Crusades were in full force at the time). The Christian captive carried a staff with a red and blue cross. After the Mass, John decided to devote himself to the task of ransoming Christian captives from the Moors. Before entering upon this work, he thought it needful to spend some time in retirement, prayer, and mortification; and having heard of a holy hermit, St. Felix of Valois, living in a great wood near Gandelu, in the diocese of Meux, he repaired to him and requested him to instruct him in the practice of perfection.

St. John of Matha and other Saints of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity

Order of the Most Holy Trinity

One day while walking with Felix, John had another vision – a white stag appeared at a stream with a red and blue cross between its antlers. John disclosed to Felix the design he had conceived on the day on which he said his first mass, to succour captive Christians under slavery, and Felix offered his help in carrying it out. They set out for Rome in the midst of a severe winter, towards the end of the year 1197, to obtain the pope’s benediction.

On December 17, 1198, he obtained the preliminary approval of Pope Innocent III for a new order dedicated in honour of the Blessed Trinity for the redemption of Christian captives. This order was fully approved in 1209. The Order of the Most Holy Trinity’s first monastery was established at Cerfroid (just north of Paris) and the second at Rome at the church of San Tommaso in Formis. Christian slaves were first rescued by the Order in 1201. In 1202 and 1210 John travelled to Tunisia himself and brought back countless Christian slaves.

Before his death, Trinitarian tradition says he met St. Francis of Assisi and introduced Francis to the Frangipani family, one of the benefactors of the Franciscan order. St. John of Matha died on December 17, 1213 in Rome in the house of St. Thomas In Formis on the Caelian Hill.

Our Lady of Good Remedy

St. John founded the Trinitarians to go to the slave markets, buy the Christian slaves and set them free. To carry out this plan, the Trinitarians needed large amounts of money. So, they placed their fund-raising efforts under the patronage of Mary. In gratitude for her assistance, St. John of Matha honored Mary with the title of “Our Lady of Good Remedy.” Devotion to Mary under this ancient title is widely known in Europe and Latin America, and the Church celebrates her feast day on October 8. Our Lady of Good Remedy is often depicted as the Virgin Mary handing a bag of money to St. John of Matha.


In 1655, his relics were transferred from Rome to Madrid. His cultus was approved in 1665 and his feast day is December 17.

St Felix of Valois and John of Matha, Prague

      Mass – Missa ‘Os justi’

         ST. JOHN OF MATHA

Confessor and Founder of the Trinitarians

INTROIT – Psalm 36: 30-31

Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium: lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius. Alleluia. Ps. 36: 30-31. Noli æmulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem. Gloria Patri.

The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment: the law of his God is in his heart.  Ps. Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity. Glory be to the Father.


O God, Who sendest us joy year by year on the feast of blessed John, Thy Confessor, which we are now keeping: mercifully grant on this day of his heavenly birth that we may grow like him in deed. Through our Lord.

EPISTLE – Ecclesiasticus 31: 8-11

Blessed is the man that is found without blemish, and that hath not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasures. Who is he, and we will praise him? for he hath done wonderful things in his life. Who hath been tried thereby, and made perfect, he shall have glory everlasting: he that could have transgressed, and hath not transgressed: and could do evil things, and hath not done them: therefore are his goods established in the Lord, and all the Church of the Saints shall declare his alms.

GRADUAL – Psalm 91: 13, 14, 3

The Just shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus in the house of the Lord. To show forth Thy mercy in the morning, and Thy truth in the night.

TRACT – Psalm 111: 1-3

Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: he shall delight exceedingly in His commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the righteous shall be blessed. Glory and wealth shall be in his house: and his justice remaineth for ever and ever.

Feb 8 - St John of Matha - Founder the Most Holy Trinity

GOSPEL – Luke 12.: 35-40

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: Let your loins be girt and lamps burning in your hands, and you yourselves like to men who wait for their lord, when he shall return from the wedding: that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching: amen I say to you that he will girt himself and make them sit down to meat, and passing will minister unto them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But this know ye, that if the householder did know at what hour the thief would come, he would surely watch. and would not suffer his house to be broken open. Be you then also ready, for at what hour you think not the Son of man will come.

OFFERTORY – Psalm 88: 25

My truth and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted.


In memory of Thy Saints, O Lord, we offer Thee the sacrifice of praise, by which we trust to be freed from both present and future evils. Through our Lord.


It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:

the Sanctus

COMMUNION – Matthew 24: 46-47

Blessed is that servant, whom when his Lord shall come he shall find watching: amen I say to you, he shall place him over all his goods.


Refreshed by meat and drink from heaven, O God, we humbly entreat Thee, that we may be protected by the prayers of him in whose memory we have partaken. Through our Lord.




Consider first, how much sinners are indebted to the divine goodness, in patiently waiting for their conversion; and that very often for a long time, notwithstanding their continual abuse of all his mercy. Alas! may it not be truly said of you too, that every night when you went to rest, you did not know but that before the morning you should find yourself in hell; and that you, yourself are indebted solely to this infinite goodness, for your daily preservation? Perhaps fewer sins than you have committed have plunged millions into eternal flames. Bless, then, that wonderful mercy by which you have so long escaped.

Consider, secondly, how many ways God seeks to reclaim, sinners, and to call them to their duty. He visits them with frequent inward motions of his grace, and that remorse of conscience, which ceases not powerfully, though silently, to remind them of the state from whence they are fallen. He sets before them the terrors of his judgments, and the allurements of his mercies. He presses them continually by his word, by his preachers, by good books and good example, to forsake their evil ways and return to him. Ah! remember that the land which has been often watered with rain from heaven, and still brings forth nothing but thorns, is in danger of incurring a dreadful curse, and of being condemned to the fire.

Consider, thirdly, how tenderly God invites all sinners to return to him. “As I live, saith the Lord, I desire not the death of a sinner, but that he be converted from his ways and live. Why will you die, O house of Israel? Return to me, and live, Thou hast gone astray after many lovers; but return to me, and I will receive thee,” Reflect how the Son of God treated the penitent Magdalene, the thief upon the cross, and all other sinners who had recourse to his mercy and how he has declared, that “there is more joy in heaven over one penitent sinner, than over ninety-nine just persons.”

Conclude to arise without delay, and return, with the prodigal son, by the most sincere conversion, to so good and so loving a father.


sacrament of penance - confession

On the multitude of our sins

Consider, first, how early you abandoned your God by sin, and how much your sins have been daily multiplied since that unhappy hour. Lucifer and his companions were cast down headlong into hell, because immediately after their creation, instead of turning to God as their duty required, they deserted him by pride, and by shaking off his sweet yoke: and have you not imitated these rebels at the first dawning of your reason by burning your back upon your Maker, and preferring your own disorderly inclinations before him?

Consider, secondly, how you have gone on daily adding sin to sin, against God, against your neighbor, and against yourself, by word, by action, or by desire. Alas! is it not true that even from your childhood you have been given to lies, to passion, and impurity? Is it not true that even then your thoughts wandered continually from God after vanity: that your prayers were without attention, your confessions without sincerity, repentance or amendment; and your whole life and conversation without any true sense of God, and of your duty?

Consider, thirdly, to the end you make a better judgment of the immense number of your offences, how little you have complied in any part of your life with the great duty of “loving God with your whole heart,” and dedicating to him your whole self with all your thoughts, words, and actions, by a pure intention of pleasing him. How little restraint have you put upon your corrupt inclination; how little guard upon your roving thoughts! How little care you have taken not to offend in words, nor to give occasion of offense to others.


Reflect also, how much of your precious time you have squandered away, and how many graces you have received in vain. From these, and the like considerations, you will have some Imperfect idea of the multitude and enormity of your sins.

Conclude to be always humble, by a true sense of your innumerable sins; and offer up daily for them the sacrifice of a contrite and humble heart, together with a life of penance.






“Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “absolve.”

The word shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of Confession and doing penance. Thus Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the custom for Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent.

Shrove Tuesday is exactly 47 days before Easter Sunday, a moveable feast based on the cycles of the moon. The date can be anything between 3 February and 9 March inclusive.


“Shrove Tuesday” was the day in which everyone was expected to go to church to confess their sins and be “shriven” ready for the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday. During the period of Lent the devout were expected to practice complete abstinence, including not eating meat, and so frugal housewives, mindful of the waste of perishable foodstuffs if they were not eaten before the Lent fasting commenced, would cook up all the dairy produce and make pancakes – filling and nourishing, to fortify their families for the lean days to come.

this world and the world to come are enemies


by Richard Challoner

The opposition between the World and the Gospel

Consider, first, that the Son of God often declares the world his capital enemy; because light and darkness are not more opposite than the world and the gospel. The world continually recommends what the gospel condemns, and condemns what the gospel recommends. The world is made up of pride, ambition, and vain glory; is a slave to riches and sensual pleasures; and in these it places its whole happiness. The gospel breathes nothing but humility, self-contempt, and the amiable simplicity of little children: it inculcates the necessity of self-denial, of patient suffering, and of being in a disposition at least, to quit all things in order to follow Christ; assuring us, that otherwise there is no heaven for us.

Consider, secondly, that Christianity never had a more dangerous enemy than the world, its bad example, and its fashionable maxims; and never yet suffered half so much from the most cruel persecutions, as it continually suffers from those false brethren, who, in their daily practice and discourse, recommend the spirit of the world, in opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us beware of this mortal enemy of our salvation, this torrent of worldly custom, and the maxims of earthly-minded Christians. Consider, thirdly, that the church sets apart this time of Shrove-tide (so strangely perverted by the world) for the exercise of penance and devotion, as a suitable preparation for the solemn fast of Lent. The very name of Shrove-tide, in the ancient English, signifies the time of confession of sins: and our Catholic ancestors were taught to turn to God at this time with their whole hearts, by humble confession and penance. Alas! what a deplorable change has the spirit of the world and irreligion introduced!

Conclude to give ear to the divine oracles: “Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” (I John, 2: 15.) “The friendship of this world is the enemy of God: whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world, becometh an enemy of God,” (James 4: 4.)




Eutychia and Lucy at the Tomb of Saint Agatha, by Jacobello del Fiore

Eutychia and Lucy at the Tomb of Saint Agatha, by Jacobello del Fiore

             FEBRUARY 5


          Virgin and Martyr     

           (231 AD – 251 AD)

Agatha was born at Catania or Palermo, Sicily, and she was martyred in approximately 251. She is one of seven women, who, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, are commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.

Born – c. 231

Died – c. 251, Catania, Sicily

Attributes – shears, tongs, breasts on a plate

Canonized – Pre-congregation by tradition confirmed by Gregory the Great

Patronage – Sicily; bellfounders; breast cancer; bakers; Catania, Sicily; against fire; earthquakes; eruptions of Mount Etna; fire; jewelers; martyrs; natural disasters; nurses; Palermo, Sicily; rape victims; San Marino; single laywomen; sterility; torture victims; volcanic eruptions; nurses; wet nurses; Zamarramala, Spain

Agatha is buried at the Badia di Sant’Agata, Catania. She is listed in the late 6th-century Martyrologium Hieronymianum associated with Jerome, and the Synaxarion, the calendar of the church of Carthage, ca. 530. Agatha also appears in one of the carmina of Venantius Fortunatus.

Two early churches were dedicated to her in Rome, notably the Church of Sant’Agata dei Goti in Via Mazzarino, a titular church with apse mosaics of ca. 460 and traces of a fresco cycle, overpainted by Gismondo Cerrini in 1630. In the 6th century AD, the church was adapted to Arianism, hence its name “Saint Agatha of Goths”, and later reconsecrated by Gregory the Great, who confirmed her traditional sainthood.

St Agatha bearing her severed breasts on a platter, by Piero della Francesca (ca. 1460–70)

St Agatha bearing her severed breasts on a platter, by Piero della Francesca (ca. 1460–70)

Taken from: The Liturgical Year – Ven. Abbot Dom Guéranger

Since the commencement of the ecclesiastical year, we have kept the feasts of two out of the four illustrious virgins whose names are daily honoured in the holy Sacrifice of the Lamb: the third comes today, lighting up the heaven of the Church with her bright soft rays. Lucy first, then Agnes, and new the gracious visit of Agatha. The fourth, Cecily, the immortal Cecily, is to be one of that magnificent constellation which gives such splendour to the closing of the year. Today, then, let us keep a feast in honour of Agatha, the virgin daughter of that same fair Sicily which can boast of her Lucy. We must not allow the holy sadness of our present season to take aught from the devotion we owe to our saint. The joy wherewith we celebrate her merits will lead us to study her virtues. She will repay us by her prayers; she will encourage us to persevere in the path which is to bring us to the God she so nobly loved and served, and with whom she is now for ever united.

Let us begin by reading what the Church tells us of the virtues and combats of this glorious bride of Christ.

The holy virgin Agatha was born in Sicily, of noble parents. The cities of Palermo and Catania both claim the honour of having been the place of her birth. She received the crown of a glorious martyrdom at Catania, under the persecution of the Emperor Decius.

Her beauty, which was as great as her chaste and innocent life was praiseworthy, attracted the notice of Quintianus, the governor of Sicily. He spared no means whereby to compass his lustful designs upon the innocent virgin; but seeing that she scorned his offers, he had her apprehended as being guilty of the Christian superstition, and gave her in charge of a woman, named Aphrodisia, who was noted for her power of alluring to evil. But finding that her words and company had no effect on the holy maiden, and that she was immovable in her resolution to maintain both her faith and her virginity, Aphrodisia told Quintianus that she was but losing her time with Agatha. Whereupon, he ordered the virgin to be brought before him, and he said to her: ‘Art not thou, that art so noble by birth, ashamed to lead the life of a base and slavish Christian? ‘She replied: ‘Better by far is the baseness and slavery of a Christian than the wealth and pride of kings.’Angered by her words, the governor bids her choose one of these two: adoration of the gods, or sharp tortures. On her refusal to deny her faith, he ordered her to be buffeted, and cast into prison. On the following day, she was again led to trial. Finding that she was still firm in her purpose,they hoisted her on the rack, and laid hot iron plates on her flesh, and cut off her breast. While suffering this last torture, she thus spoke to Quintianus: Cruel tyrant, art thou not ashamed to cut a woman’s breast, who wast thyself fed at the breast of thy mother?

St. Peter Healing St Agatha by Giovanni Lanfranco, c. 1614

St. Peter Healing St Agatha by Giovanni Lanfranco, c. 1614

She was then sent back to prison, where, during the night, a venerable old man, who told her that he was the apostle of Christ, healed her. A third time she was summoned by the governor, and being still firm in confessing Christ, she was rolled upon sharp potsherds, and burning coals.

Suddenly, the whole city was shaken by a violent earthquake, and two of the governor’s intimate friends were killed by the falling of two walls. The people were in such a state of excitement that the governor began to fear a sedition, and therefore ordered the almost lifeless Agatha to be secretly conveyed back to her prison. She thus prayed to our Lord:

‘O God! who hast watched over me from my infancy, who hast separated me from the love of this world, and hast given me strength to bear the tortures of my executioners, receive my soul!’

Her prayer being ended, her soul took its flight to heaven, on the Nones of February (February 5), and the Christians buried her body.




 Double/Red vestments

 Missa ‘Gaudeamus omnes’

INTROIT – Psalm 44: 3

Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes sub honore beatæ Agathæ Virginis et Martyris: de cujus passione gaudent Angeli, et collaudant Filium Dei. Ps.Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi. Gloria Patri.

Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival in honour of blessed Agatha, Virgin and Martyr; at whose passion the Angels rejoice, and give praise to the Son of God. Ps. My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak my words to the King. Glory be to the Father.

Martyrdom of St. Agatha by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1520

Martyrdom of St. Agatha by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1520


O God, who among other miracles of Thy power, hast granted even to the weaker sex the victory of martyrdom, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who celebrate the festival of blessed Agatha, Thy Virgin and Martyr, may draw nearer to Thee by her example. Through our Lord.

EPISTLE – I Corinthians 1: 26-31

Brethren: See your vocation, that there are not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble: but the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that He may confound the wise, and the weak things of the world hath God chosen that He may confound the strong; and the base things of the world, and the things that are contemptible hath God chosen, and things that are not, that He might bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His sight. But of Him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption; that as it is written: He that glorieth may glory in the Lord.

GRADUAL – Psalm 45: 6, 5

God will help her with His countenance; God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved. The stream of the river makes the city of God joyful; the most High hath sanctified His own tabernacle.

TRACT – Psalm 125: 5-6

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  Going they went, and wept, casting their seeds. But coming, they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves.

Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery. Luke 16:18 - DRV

Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery.

GOSPEL – Matthew 19: 3-12

At that time, the Pharisees came to Jesus tempting Him, and saying: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Who answering, said to them: Have ye not read, that He Who made man from the beginning, made them male and female? And He said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. They say to Him: Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce, and to put away? He saith to them: Because Moses, by reason of the hardness of your heart, permitted you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery. His disciples say unto Him: If the case of a man with his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry. Who said to them: All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given; for there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made so by man; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take it, let him take it. 

10 Virgins - Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet Christ the Lord.

OFFERTORY Psalm 44: 15

After her shall virgins be brought to the King; her neighbours shall be brought to Thee.


Receive, O Lord, the offerings we bring Thee on the solemn festival of Thy blessed Virgin and Martyr, Agatha; by whose intercession we hope for deliverance. Through our Lord.


It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:

Chalice with instruments of the passion


I invoke Him the living God, who vouchsafed to cure me of every wound, and to restore my breast to my body.


May we be helped, O Lord, by the mysteries we have received; and blessed Agatha, Thy Virgin and Martyr, interceding for us, may they strengthen us with everlasting protection. Through the Lord.