St Erconwald, Bishop & Confessor: Missa “Sacerdotes tui“
Bishop of London, died about 690. He belonged to the princely family of the East Anglian Offa, and devoted a considerable portion of his patrimony to founding two monasteries, one for monks at Chertsey, and the other for nuns at Barking in Essex. Over the latter he placed his sister, St. Ethelburga, as abbess. He himself discharged the duties of superior at Chertsey. Erconwald continued his monastic life till the death of Bishop Wini in 675, when he was called to the See of London, at the instance of King Sebbi and Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury. As monk and bishop he was renowned for his holiness of life, and miracles were wrought in attestation of his sanctity. The sick were cured by contact with the litter on which he had been carried; this we have on the testimony of Venerable Bede. He was present in 686 at the reconciliation between Archbishop Theodore and Wilfrith. King Ini in the preface to his laws calls Erconwald “my bishop”. During his episcopate he enlarged his church, augmented its revenues, and obtained for it special privileges from the king.
According to an ancient epitaph, Erconwald ruled the Diocese of London for eleven years. He is said to have eventually retired to the convent of his sister in Barking, where he died 30 April. He was buried in St. Paul’s, and his tomb became renowned for miracles. The citizens of London had a special devotion to him, and they regarded with pride the magnificence of his shrine. During the burning of the cathedral in 1087 it is related that the shrine and its silken coverings remained intact. A solemn translation of St. Erconwald’s body took place 14 Nov., 1148, when it was raised above the high altar. The shrine was robbed of its jewels and ornaments in the sixteenth century; and the bones of the saint are said to have been then buried at the east end of the choir. His feast is observed by English Catholics on 14 November. Prior to the Reformation, the anniversaries of St. Erconwald’s death and translation of his relics were observed at St. Paul’s as feasts of the first class, according to an ordinance of Bishop Braybroke in 1386.
INTROIT Psalm 131: 9-10
Let Thy priests, O Lord, be clothed with justice, and let Thy saints rejoice: for Thy servant David’s sake, turn not away the face of Thy anointed. V. O Lord, remember David, and all his meekness. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that the devout observance of this festival of blessed Erconwald, thy Confessor and Bishop, may be profitable unto us for our advancement in all godliness, and for the attainment of everlasting salvation. 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. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Ecclesiasticus 44:16
Lesson from the Book of Ecclesiasticus: Behold a great priest who in his days pleased the Lord and was found righteous: and in the time of wrath he was taken in exchange for the world. There was none like unto him to keep the law of the Most High. Therefore by an oath the Lord assured him that he would increase him among his people. He established with him the blessing of all men and the covenant, and made it rest upon his head. He acknowledged him in his blessing: and preserved for him his mercy: so that he found favour in the sight of the Lord. He magnified him in the sight of kings: and gave unto him a crown of glory. An everlasting covenant he made with him and gave him a great priesthood and blessed him with glory, that he should execute the office of the priesthood and have honour in his name and offer unto him incense and a sweet savour.
GRADUAL Ecclus. 44.
Behold a great priest who in his days pleased the Lord. V. There was none like unto him to keep the law of the Most High. Alleluia, alleluia. V. Ps. 110. Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedech. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 25:14-23
At that time: Jesus spake this parable unto his disciples: the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps. 89.
I have found David my servant: with my holy oil have I anointed him: my hand shall hold him fast, and my arm shall strengthen him (alleluia).
GRANT, we beseech thee, O Lord, that we remembering with gladness the righteousness of thy Saints, may at all times and in all places feel the effectual succour of their intercession. 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. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Holy Trinity
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Luke 12.
A faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household: to give them their portion of meat in due season (alleluia).
GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that we may so shew forth our thankfulness for he gifts which we have now received; that, at the intercession of blessed Erconwald thy Confessor and Bishop, we may obtain yet more abundant mercies. 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. R. Amen.