6 July: St. Thomas More

I read this morning in the 2004 Martyrologium Romanum (p. 372) that today is the anniversary of the death of St. Thomas More, whose feast is celebrated together with St. John Fisher is 22 June.

9. Londini in Anglia, passio sancti Thomae More, qui die vigesima secunda iunii una cum sancto Ioanne Fisher commemoratur.


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  1. Andrew says:

    Father Z:

    Do you read the Martyrologium regularly? Is this part of a formal spiritual exercise you do?

  2. I see that the Angelus Press (www.angeluspress.org) has just reprinted the 1962 Roman Martyrology to use at the point in Prime – for those saying the traditional Divine Office – where the day’s martyrology is to be read.

  3. Don Marco says:

    The Martyrology is read daily in most monasteries. In my own home abbey of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome it is read daily at the Chapter Office that precedes Tierce. On certain solemnities of the year (e.g. Christmas Eve) the chanting of the Martyrology is solemnized with cope, candles and incense.
    The rubric in the current Martyrologium Romanum reads: “In choro lectio fit de more ad Laudes matutinas, post orationem conclusivam Horae.” The Martyrology can also be read sive in choro sive in capitulo outside the Liturgy of the Hours.
    For folks living alone I think it a good idea to read the Martyrology (for the following day) either after Lauds or before Compline. How wonderful to be surrounded by “so great a cloud of witnesses!”

  4. Don Marco: I could not agree more!

  5. Andrew: Reading the MartRom is not part of any specific practice. However, more often than not I read the entry for the day before celebrating Mass in the morning. I find it fascinating and inspiring.

  6. Henry: I cannot fathom why anyone would prefer the older MartRom to the new edition, except for the ease involved in use with the office, etc.

  7. Jon says:

    I’ve long considered St. Thomas More my patron. I’ve always considered his life the model of holiness for a layman; especially for us laymen who are trying to fulfill our duties as husbands and fathers and at the same time trying be good citizens and employees, often having to sacrifice perhaps not our lives, but often careers and respect in living out the Gospel.

    As a matter of fact,whenever I’ve sponsored a young man for confirmation, I give him as a gift a video of A Man For All Seasons, a medal of the Saint, and a copy of The Life of St. Thomas More by his son-in-law, William Roper.

    Although St. Thomas’ martyrdom wasn’t commemorated in the pre-reform ’61 Roman Breviary (although it may have been in the UK edition, I’m not sure)it is commemorated in the Anglican Breviary, of which I have a copy, on July 9th. The collect is quite beautiful.

    O God, Who amid the pleasures
    of this world, and likewise
    admist the sorrows of imprisonment
    and death, didst grant Thy blessed
    Martyr Thomas with cheerfulness
    and courage to embrace Thy
    Cross: mercifully grant, that by his
    intercession and example; we may
    be counted worthy readily to strive
    for faith and righteousness, and to
    attain in gladness unto everlasting
    felicity. Through Jesus
    Christ Thy Son Our Lord, Who liveth and
    reigneth with Thee, in the unity
    of the Holy Ghost, ever one God,
    world without end. Amen.

  8. CaesarMagnus says:

    I have the new Martyrology in Latin which is nice to have so many new Saints.
    I assume it has not been translated into English yet.
    It is also nice to be able to celebrate liturgically commemorations of a Saint of the day when the day is just ferial.
    I have a big devotion to Saint Eutizio, Saint Spes, and Saint Fiorenzo (celebrated together on May 23rd) from my days in Norcia, so that is a blessing of having the Martyrology.
    It’s also nice to have the actual chant for the Christmas entry. We sang it before Midnight Mass last year.

  9. Caesar: Yes, the new MartRom is great. I think I would hesitate to celebrate liturgically the saints or blesseds in the MartRom entries if they are not on the universal (or local) calendar. On ferial days I usually use votive Masses, sometimes the classic Masses for the week days, and sometimes Masses for special purposes. Often I will choose a Mass for the Dead.

  10. Don Marco says:

    Hmmm. The Institutio Generalis, art. 353 does say: “In feriis per annum, eligi potest aut Missa de feria, aut Missa de memoria ad libitum forte occurrente, aut Missa de aliquo Sancto eo die in Martyrologio inscripto. . . .” So there you have it! That being said, I celebrated the Votive Mass of the Most Precious Blood today. Splendid. Tomorrow, Mass 33 from the Collectio Missarum BMV: Mater Boni Consilii.

  11. Don Marco: Thanks for that. I had not remembered that point abou the MartRom. We should, however, render our Latin so that people can follow the discussion, right?

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