Tuesday, June 5, 2018

His Word Today: Saint Boniface

Good morning everyone,

Saint Peter reminds us today that we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13).  This is the hope that we strive to proclaim through our words and actions every day.

Today, the Church celebrates one example of a holy man who did just that: Saint Boniface, lived in the 7th and the early part of the 8th century.  It is believed that from an early age, Boniface, who was given the Christian name of Winfrid (or Winifred) when he was born, was educated in a monastery somewhere near to present-day Exeter (England) and was later instructed by the Benedictines at another monastery not far from Winchester.

Winfrid became a priest at the age of 30 and later wrote a Latin grammar (known as the Ars grammatica).  Following the death of Wynburth of Nursling - around the year 716 - Winfrid was invited to succeed him but he declined the invitation and soon afterward set out on a missionary expedition to Frisia (along the border of present day Netherlands and north-western Germany).

Winfrid's first efforts at evangelization around Utrecht were frustrated by a war that was being fought so he returned to his monastery in Nursling but returned to the continent the following year and went directly to Rome where Pope Gregory II gave him the name Boniface and appointed him as a missionary Bishop for Germania.  He was therefore appointed as Bishop for a territory that - at the time - had no Church organization.  In fact, it was he who first determined the structures of dioceses within the territory of that land.

In 754, Boniface returned to Frisia along with a group of others.  There he baptized a great number of people and summoned a general meeting for the purposes of celebrating Confirmation which was to take place at Dokkum.  Those who came to meet him though, were not his converts but rather a group of armed robbers who killed the aged Archbishop - he was 79 years old.

Today, let us ask Saint Boniface to intercede for us, to help us to be zealous ambassadors for Christ, never shrinking from opportunities to share the joy of our faith with those we meet.

Have a great day.

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