Friday, June 5, 1998
First Reading: 2 Timothy 3: 10-17
Psalms: Psalm 119: 157, 160-161, 165-166, 168
Gospel Reading: Mark 12: 35-37
SAINT BONIFACE, BISHOP, RELIGIOUS AND MARTYR
Known as the "Apostle of Germany," Saint Boniface was born in the 670's in Wessex, England. He became a Benedictine and became a missionary at the approval of Pope Gregory II who ordained him a bishop in 722 and placed him ecclesiastically in charge of Germany. His zeal and perseverance paid off in converting most of this land, producing many saintly monks and nuns. One account tells of him chopping down a huge oak tree which had been dedicated to the god Jupiter. Boniface then proceeded to use the wood from this tree to build a church dedicated to St. Peter. Pope Gregory III saw the fruits and added Bavaria and what is today Austria to Boniface's charge, making the saint an archbishop. Boniface founded numerous dioceses establishing monasteries and abbeys in each. On a trip to Holland, while waiting to confirm 52 newly-Baptized Dutch Catholics, he was murdered by a hostile troop of heathens on June 5, 755. His body was buried at the now-famous abbey in Fulda which Boniface had not only founded, but had managed to receive pontifical exemption for the monastery, a first in the history of the Church. Fulda is the site where the bishops of western Germany still convene today for synods.