Felix was born at the end of the sixth century in Burgundy in what is now eastern France. As a young man he became a monk and priest, perhaps under the influence of the Irish monastery of St Columban at Luxeuil in Burgundy. It was here that he met a royal exile from East Anglia, Sigebert, to whom Felix introduced Christianity and baptised.
When in 630 Sigebert returned to East Anglia, he asked Felix to come and evangelise his kingdom and Felix was duly consecrated, apparently by Honorius, the saintly Archbishop of Canterbury. Sailing up from Kent, local tradition has it that Bishop Felix made landfall at the ruined Roman fortress at what is now Felixstowe. Although some believe that Bishop Felix made his base at Felixstowe, most believe that his See was fixed further up the Suffolk coast at the then thriving port of Dunwich.
Bishop Felix set about missionary work all over East Anglia. Suffolk lore says that it was he who taught local people how to build churches with the flint that lies so abundantly on Suffolk fields. Apart from his Cathedral and a School which we believe were in Dunwich, and his activities in and near the Felixstowe peninsula, for example at Hallowtree and near Sutton Hoo, he was also active in the north of the county. Here at Beccles and in the village of Flixton (believed like Felixstowe to have been named after St Felix), he preached the Faith. Also he seems to have sailed up the Stour and been active in the south of the county, at Sudbury as well as in central Suffolk, founding with the future St Sigebert, a monastery at what is now Bury St Edmunds.
Outside Suffolk St Felix is also said to have founded the oldest church in Norfolk at Babingley, near Sandringham. The nearby villages of Shernborne and Flitcham, which is said to have been named after St Felix, retain links with St Felix. The holy bishop also preached near Swaffham at Saham Toney and perhaps at Cockley Cley where a very ancient church still stands. The saint was also present near Yarmouth at Loddon and Reedham and in this area he worked closely with an Irish missionary, St Fursey. Finally tradition tells that Bishop Felix founded a monastery at Soham in Cambridgeshire.
Bishop Felix worked with the full approval of the pious King of East Anglia, Sigebert. After he died in 635, Sigebert was succeeded by his cousin, Anna. This man was the father of several holy children, the most famous of whom is St Audrey, who was baptised and instructed in the faith by Bishop Felix, thus ensuring the continuation of his apostolic work after his repose. Bishop Felix passed away on 8 March 647 and was at once honoured as the Apostle of East Anglia and a Saint.
INTROIT Ecclesiasticus 45: 30
The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, and made him a prince: that the dignity of priesthood should be to him for ever. (Ps. 131: 1) 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. Repeat Simon Peter, If thou lovest Me…
Grant, we pray Thee, almighty God, that the worshipful festival of Thy blessed confessor and bishop Felix may increase our devotedness and further our 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.
For Feria VI of Lent III
O Lord, graciously be with us during this fast, and, we beseech You, help our spirit to abstain from sin as our body fasts from food. 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. 16-27; 45. 3-20
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. (Noah) Behold, a great priest, who in his days pleased God, and was found just; and in the time of wrath he was made a reconciliation. (Abraham) There was not found the like to him who kept the law of the most High. Therefore by an oath the Lord made him to increase among his people (Isaac) He gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed His covenant upon his head. He acknowledged him in His blessings; He preserved for him His mercy ; and he found grace before the eyes of the Lord. (Moses) He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him a crown of glory. (Aaron) He made an everlasting covenant with him, and gave him a great priesthood : and made him blessed in glory. To execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praised in His name, and to offer him a worthy incense for an odor of sweetness.
GRADUAL Ecclesiasticus 44:16
Here was a great high priest whose life was acceptable to God. V. 20 Where shall we find another to keep the law of the Most High as he kept it?
TRACT Psalm 111:1-3
A blessed man is he who fears the Lord, bearing all love to his commandments. V. Children of his shall win renown in their own country: ever the sons of the just shall find a blessing. V. Esteem dwells with such a man and great prosperity: fame shall record his gracious deeds eternally.
GOSPEL Matthew 25:14-23
For 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 Psalm 88: 21-22
I have found David My servant, with My holy oil I have anointed him : for My hand shall help him, and My arm shall strengthen him.
May Thy saints, we beseech Thee, O Lord, in every place bring us joy; that while we commemorate their merits, we may experience their patronage. 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.
For Feria VI of Lent III
Look with favour, we beseech You, O Lord, upon the gifts we offer You, that they may be pleasing to you and ever helpful to our 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.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Luke 12: 42
This is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord setteth over his family: to give them their measure of wheat in due season.
Grant, we pray Thee, almighty God, that in giving thanks for the gifts we have received, we obtain still greater blessings through the intercession of Thy blessed confessor and bishop Felix; 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.
For Feria VI of Lent III
May the reception of this sacrament, O Lord, cleanse us from sin and bring us into the heavenly kingdom. 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.
Prayer over the people Let us pray. Bow your heads to God. Grant unto Your people, we beseech You, O Lord, health of mind and body, that, by persevering in good works, we may be worthy to be protected by Your mighty power. 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.
PROPER LAST GOSPEL John 4:5-42
At that time, Jesus came, accordingly, to a town of Samaria called Sichar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, wearied as He was from the journey, was sitting at the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a Samaritan woman to draw water. Jesus said to her, Give Me to drink; for His disciples had gone away into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman therefore said to Him, How is it that You, although You are a Jew, ask drink of me, who am a Samaritan woman? For Jews do not associate with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, If you did know the gift of God, and Who it is Who says to you, ‘Give Me to drink,’ you, perhaps, would have asked of Him, and He would have given you living water. The woman said to Him, Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Whence then have You living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well, and drank from it, himself, and his sons, and his flocks? In answer Jesus said to her, Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again. He, however, who drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up unto life everlasting. The woman said to Him, Sir, give me this water that I may not thirst, or come here to draw. Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband and come here. The woman answered and said, I have said well, ‘I have no husband.’ for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband. In this you have spoken truly. The woman said to Him, Sir, I see that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but You say that at Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship. Jesus said to her, Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeks such to worship Him. God is spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. The woman said to Him, I know that Messias is coming Who is called Christ, and when He comes He will tell us all things. Jesus said to her, I Who speak with you am He. And at this point His disciples came; and they wondered that He was speaking with a woman. Yet no one said, What do You seek? or, Why do You speak with her? The woman therefore left her water-jar and went away into the town, and said to the people, Come and see a man who has told me all that I have ever done. Can He be the Christ? They went forth from the town and came to meet Him. Meanwhile, His disciples besought Him, saying, Rabbi, eat. But He said to them, I have food to eat of which you do not know. The disciples therefore said to one another, Has someone brought Him something to eat? Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me, to accomplish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Well, I say to you, lift up your eyes and behold that the fields are already white for the harvest. And he who reaps receives a wage, and gathers fruit unto life everlasting, so that the sower and the reaper may rejoice together. For herein is the proverb true, ‘One sows, another reaps.’ I have sent you to reap that on which you have not labored. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labors. Now many of the Samaritans of that town believed in Him because of the word of the woman who bore witness, He told me all that I have ever done. When, therefore, the Samaritans had come to Him, they besought Him to stay there; and He stayed two days. And far more believed because of His word. And they said to the woman, We no longer believe because of what you have said, for we have heard for ourselves and we know that this is in truth the Savior of the world.