Old Calendar: St. Boniface, martyr
After the Ascension of Jesus, St. Peter proposed to the assembled faithful that they choose a disciple of Christ to fill the place of the traitor Judas in the first missionary band. Lots were drawn, with the result in favor of Matthias. According to one ancient tradition, this missioner labored in Ethiopia and was martyred there. Thus did St. Matthias receive "the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him." The Church venerates St. Matthias on an equal footing with the other Apostles, whose voices resound throughout the world, from generation to generation, giving testimony of what they saw and heard in their life with our Lord. His name is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass.According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, St. Matthias' feast was celebrated on February 24 or 25. Today is the commemoration of St. Boniface who after a stormy youth, was converted to the Catholic faith, suffered numerous tortures, and was beheaded in 307.The Novena to the Holy Spirit begins today.
Mathias was one of the first to follow our Savior; and he was an eye-witness of all His divine actions up to the very day of the Ascension. He was one of the seventy-two disciples; but our Lord had not conferred upon him the dignity of an apostle. And yet, he was to have this great glory, for it was of him that David spoke, when he prophesied that another should take the bishopric left vacant by the apostasy of Judas the traitor. In the interval between Jesus' Ascension and the descent of the Holy Ghost, the apostolic college had to complete the mystic number fixed by our Lord Himself, so that there might be the twelve on that solemn day, when the Church, filled with the Holy Ghost, was to manifest herself to the Synagogue. The lot fell on Mathias; he shared with his brother-apostles the persecution in Jerusalem, and, when the time came for the ambassadors of Christ to separate, he set out for the countries allotted to him. Tradition tells us that these were Cappadocia and the provinces bordering on the Caspian Sea.
- Celebrate the triumph of St. Matthias by reading the hymn taken from the Menaea of the Greeks.
According to certain very unreliable "Acts", Boniface was a Roman citizen who for a time lived in sinful union with a noble woman named Aglae. Upon his conversion he determined to do penance by seeking the remains of martyrs and giving them honorable burial. At Tarsus he found many confessors about to be martyred for professing the faith; he kissed their chains and encouraged them to bear their sufferings courageously, assuring them that everlasting rest would follow a brief struggle. Finally he himself was taken captive, his body mangled with iron hooks, and boiling lead poured into his mouth. In spite of excruciating pain only one cry came from the lips of Boniface: "I thank You, Christ Jesus, Son of God!"