Ordinary Time: June 22nd
Optional Memorial of St. Paulinus of Nola, bishop and confessor; Optional Memorial of Sts. John Fisher, bishop and martyr and Thomas More, martyr
Old Calendar: St John Fisher; St. Paulinus; St. Alban
St. Thomas More was born in London, England and was Chancellor of King Henry VIII. As a family man and a public servant, his life was a rare synthesis of human sensitivity and Christian wisdom.St. John Fisher studied Theology in Cambridge (England) and became Bishop of Rochester. His friend, Thomas More, wrote of him, 'I reckon in this realm no one man, in wisdom, learning and long approved virtue together, meet to be matched and compared with him.' He and his friend St. Thomas More gave up their lives in testimony to the unity of the Church and to the indissolubility of Marriage.St. Paulinus was born of a patrician Roman family at Bordeaux. He was successively prefect, senator and consul. His wife, wishing to consecrate herself to God, gave up rank and riches; he followed her example and went to live an austere hermit's life at Nola in Italy. There he became a priest and then bishop of the city, and gave his people not only an example of virtue but also wise guidance during the ravages and calamities of the Gothic invasion. He died in 431, aged 78, and was buried at Nola near the tomb of St. Felix.According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Alban who was venerated as the proto-martyr of Britain. He was a citizen of Verulam and was converted by a persecuted priest whom he sheltered in his house. He was executed on Holmhurst Hill. On that spot King Offa erected the Benedictine abbey of St. Alban's by which name Verulam has since been known.
St. Thomas More
His belief that no lay ruler has jurisdiction over the church of Christ cost Thomas More his life.
- A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt is a wonderful play that captures much of St. Thomas More's vitality. There is a 1966 movie by the same title that stars Paul Scofield as St. Thomas. If you haven't watched the movie or read the play yet, put it on your priority list.
- Read more on the life of St. Thomas More. For youth, Saint Thomas More of London by Elizabeth Ince, a reprint of the wonderful Vision Books series. For adults, the newer book The King's Good Servant but God's First : The Life and Writings of Saint Thomas More by James Monti which explores the life and writings of St. Thomas More. Also Scepter Publishers has a biography Thomas More: A Portrait of Courage by Gerard B. Wegemer.
- For some writings by St. Thomas More, see The Sadness of Christ (Yale University Press Translation) and Four Last Things: The Supplication of Souls: A Dialogue on Conscience.
- If you or your children are considering a career as a lawyer you might find Dr. Charles Rice's article helpful.
St. John Fisher
John Fisher is usually associated with Erasmus, Thomas More and other Renaissance humanists. His life, therefore, did not have the external simplicity found in the lives of some saints. Rather, he was a man of learning, associated with the intellectuals and political leaders of his day. He was interested in the contemporary culture and eventually became chancellor at Cambridge. He had been made a bishop at thirty-five, and one of his interests was raising the standard of preaching in England. Fisher himself was an accomplished preacher and writer. His sermons on the penitential psalms were reprinted seven times before his death. With the coming of Lutheranism, he was drawn into controversy. His eight books against heresy gave him a leading position among European theologians.
- Read more about St. John Fisher.
- Exposition of the Seven Penitential Psalms is available from Amazon.
In 353 Pontius Meropius Anicius Paulinus was born of a prominent Bordeaux family. He received his education in the school of the rhetorician Ausonius. At an early age he attained the dignity of senator and then of consul. As governor of Campania, he chose Nola as his seat. Here he was converted to the faith by St. Felix of Nola. He resigned his position and returned to Gaul, where St. Martin of Tours restored his eyesight.