Saturday, July 9, 2016

July 9: SS. John, O.P., and Companions , Mm., III Cl.

On this day, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the Feast of SS. John of Cologne, O.P., and companions, the Martyr's of Gorcum. The feast is III Class, so the Ordinary Office is prayed according to the rubrics. This feast is one of those III Class feasts where everything is provided in the Proper of the Saints, so nothing is required from the Common of the Saints. At Pretiosa, the obit of Fr. Thomas Hyacinth Cipolletti of Ascoli, 70th Master General of the Order, is made.

Given the almost complete lack of belief, on the part of Roman Catholics today, in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist, this feast gives us reason to pause.  What have we done, or failed to do, that has caused such a reversal of belief in this great mystery of our Faith.  The Second Person of the Holy Trinity, who is eternal and thus outside of time and the material universe, nevertheless becomes present in his flesh and blood for us to receive, for the sole purpose of aiding us in becoming more like him.  What has happened to us, that this is not taught and emphasized to our children in Catholic schools, and at Mass.  Ss. John and your companions, who died for refusing to deny this great mystery, please pray for us.

From the III Lesson of Matins:

The sixteenth century, memorable for the disturbances of the error of Calvinism, provided in Holland a striking example of christian fortitude. The nineteen martyrs of Gorcum, as they are called, strove gloriously in defense of the Real Presence of Christ's body in the Eucharist and the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff. Among these was John, of the Order of Preachers, an alumnus of the house at Cologne. At the direction of his superiors, he had been administering the parish of Hoornaer in Holland. Having gone to the town of Gorcum to baptize an infant, he was taken by Calvinist followers and thrown into prison. There he shared the lot of other priests and religious already imprisoned for the faith. For several days and nights, their constancy was tried by various forms of ridicule and ill-treatment. Then, half naked, they were taken by boat to Briel, and, on the way, suffered incredible tortures at the hands of the soldiers, the sailors, and the heretical mob. Finally, they were hanged from a beam and strangled, thus receiving the palm of martyrdom on July 9 in the year 1572. Renowned for miracles, they were canonized by Pius IX.

From the Office of Lauds:

Night now is over, rising sun casts splendor

Over the triumph of those valiant soldiers

Fallen in battle on the field of Gorcum;

Great in their courage!
Joyously rising, they ascend the heavens.
God, himself, greets them in celestial mansions;
There does he crown them with his light eternal;
He is their glory.
Earth, too, applauding, tells the martyr's story,
Name of these victors flies through every nation;
Fame, then, resulting, in a praise most worthy,
Signs of their merits.
O worthy offfspring of Christ's holy martyrs,
With brows encircled by triumphal garlands!
Hear, and be mindful of your own who praise you:
By your prayer, save us.
Might, honor, power, be to God the Father;
Give worship, likewise, to the Son forever;
And to the Spirit, sing, with voice unceasing,
Hymns in his praises.


O God, you crowned with the laurel of immortality the struggle made for the faith by your blessed martyrs, John and his companions; mercifully grant that, striving here on earth, we may likewise deserve, through their merits and following their example, to be crowned with them in heaven. Through Our Lord…