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.
Sabbato post Cineres
Hear, O Lord, our humble prayers, and grant that we may devoutly keep this fast that has been established to cure our souls and bodies.
Collect of the Souls
From all perils of soul and body defend us, O Lord, we beseech thee, and by the intercession of blessed and gloriosus ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and of blessed N. and all the Saints, graciously grant us safety and peace that all adversities and errors being overcome, thy Church may serve thee in security and freedom. 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.
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.
Sabbato post Cineres
Receive, O Lord, this sacrifice by which You have graciously willed to be appeased: grant, we beseech You, that, cleansed by its effects, we may offer You the love of our hearts as an acceptable gift.
Of the souls
Hear us, O God, our salvation that through the power of this Sacrament thou mayest defend us from all enemies of soul and body and bestow upon us grace here and glory hereafter. 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.
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.
Sabbato post Cineres
Fortified by the Bread of Life, we beseech You, O Lord, that what is a sacrament in this life may become a help to life eternal.
Of the souls
May the offering of this divine Sacrament cleanse and protect us, O Lord we beseech thee, and by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of blessed N. and all the Saints, may it purify us from all sin, and free us from all adversity. 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 Mark 6:47-56
At that time, when it was late, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and Jesus alone on the land. And seeing His disciples straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking upon the sea, and He would have passed by them. But they, seeing Him walking upon the sea, thought it was a ghost, and cried out. For they all saw Him, and were troubled. Then He immediately spoke to them, and said to them, Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid. And He got into the boat with them, and the wind fell. And they were utterly beside themselves with astonishment, for they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was blinded. And crossing over, they came to the land of Genesareth and moored the boat. And when they had gotten out of the boat, the people at once recognized Him; and they hurried through the whole country, and began to bring the sick on their pallets, wherever they heard He was. And wherever He went, into village or hamlet or town, they laid the sick in the market places, and entreated Him to let them touch but the tassel of His cloak; and as many as touched Him were saved.