Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lord's Day Eucharists in Baysville, Dwight, ON - St. Henry

"Cottage country" parishes render a wonderful service to the People of God by assuring timely Masses for the influx of visitors.

On the weekend, I had the joy of presiding at Sunday Mass at two missions of Huntsville's St. Mary of the Assumption Parish:

--on Saturday afternoon at 4PM at the Seniors' Centre in Dwight, which operates from the first weekend in July until the Labour Day weekend, when there are so many more visitors in the Muskokas;

--and on Sunday morning at Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Church, Baysville, which operates year-round, but with greater attendance in summer.

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Today's optional memorial is of St. Henry, successively Duke of Bavaria, King of Germany and Emperor, who devoted himself to the spread of religion by rebuilding churches and founding monasteries.

Henry II, son of Henry, Duke of Bavaria, and of Gisella, daughter of Conrad, King of Burgundy, was born in 972. He succeeded his father as Duke of Bavaria, and in 1002, he was elected emperor. In 1014, he went to Rome and received the imperial crown at the hands of Pope Benedict VIII.

Henry worked hard to establish peace in Europe. However, to defend justice, he had to fight many wars. He was honest in battle and insisted that his armies be honorable too.

Henry married a gentle and loving woman named Cunegund (or Kunigunda) around 998. She, too, has been proclaimed a saint. The couple remained childless. Some sources claim the two lived chastely, but there is no proof of this.

Emperor Henry was one of the best rulers of the Holy Roman Empire. He promoted needed reforms in the monasteries and strengthened the various ecclesiastical sees of his kingdom, built churches and monasteries, and ruled wisely, tempering justice with mercy. He was a man of prayer and was greatly attracted to religious life, but accepted his role as husband and ruler and fulfilled his duties generously.

Henry was just fifty-two when he died in 1024. He was proclaimed a saint by Blessed Eugene III in 1146. Pope St. Pius X named Emperor Henry the patron of Benedictine Oblates.

O God, whose abundant grace prepared St. Henry to be raised by you in a wonderful way from the cares of earthly rule to heavenly realms, grant, we pray, through his intercession, that amid the uncertainties of this world, we may hasten towards you with minds made pure. Through Our Lord....

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