DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     April 22, 1999     vol. 10, no. 79


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Thursday, April 22, 1999

      First Reading: Acts 8: 26-40
      Psalms: Psalm 66: 1, 8-9, 16-17, 20
      Gospel Reading: John 6: 44-51

Friday, April 23, 1999

    Friday, April 23: Easter Weekday and
    Feast of Saint George, Martyr and
    Feast of Saint Adalbert, Bishop and Martyr

      First Reading: Acts 9: 1-20
      Psalms: Psalm 117: 1-2 and Mark 16: 15
      Gospel Reading: John 6: 52-59


          Born near the end of the third century, Saint George became a great Roman soldier, being elevated to tribune for his bravery by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Though he had been born of Christian parents, George did not become a Christian until he realized the atrocities being done to the Christians by his emperor. George openly rebuked Diocletian and begged the emperor to follow Jesus. For his efforts George was thrown into prison and eventually beheaded by the evil emperor around 303 AD. He became the icon for the Christian cause as his courage reinforced fortitude in every Christian. He has always been depicted as the great dragon-slayer - defeating the devil in the same vein as Saint Michael except George was upon a horse, garbed in Roman armor. Legend of his exploits spread throughout Europe and many miracles were attributed to his intercession after his death by those pilgrims who visited his tomb. Devotion to St. George was one of the most ancient and wide spread in the early Church. His fame prompted England to choose him as her patron saint and his feast was declared a national holiday there in the 13th Century. He is the patron saint of soldiers and Boy Scouts.


          Born during the dark ages and the great turmoil in Rome, Saint Adalbert of Magdeburg became a monk in the St. Maximin Monastery in Treves, Italy. With the demise of the Theophylact family influence, the Holy Roman Empire was resurrected with the election of Otto I who dispatched Adalbert to Russia to convert the Russian subjects of the newly-converted Russian princess Olga who had been baptized in Constantinople. However her pagan son Svyatoslav rejected his mother's faith and wrestled the crown from her in 961. He tried to kill the missionaries but most escaped including Adalbert who fled west toward Kiev where some were captured and killed, but Adalbert managed to elude his captors and returend to Mainz where he spent four years in Otto's court. In 962 the Emperor appointed him the first archbishop of Magdeburg in Saxony where Adalbert would have jurisdiction over the Slavs. For the next nineteen years Adalbert evangelized and baptized the Slavic people as well as reforming religious congregations in his diocese. While visiting Merseburg in 981, a group of pagans ganged up on the bishop and killed him, making Adalbert a martyr of the Church.

April 22, 1999       volume 10, no. 79


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