John was one of the leaders of the Northumbrian Church following the conversion of the North to Christianity in the 620s and 630s. According to later tradition he was born at Harpham near Driffield, and he was certainly Bishop of Hexham (687-706) and then York (706-c.714).
In old age he retired to a monastery he had founded in a secluded spot called by Bede Inderawuda, ‘in the wood of Deira’ (an old name for East Yorkshire), where he died in 721. Tradition identified this place with Beverley, probably correctly; certainly a major church stood on this site before the Norman Conquest, as excavations have confirmed, and John’s tomb seems always to have been here.
His holy life, and miracles after his death, persuaded the Pope to canonize him in 1037 as St. John of Beverley. It was John’s reputation that made the Minster a privileged sanctuary and a centre of pilgrimage, and which turned the remote spot to which he had retired into a thriving town. By 1377 Beverley was one of the dozen largest towns in England.
INTROIT Psalm 131: 9-10
Let Thy priests, O Lord, be clothed with justice, and let Thy saints rejoice: for Thy servant David’s sake, turn not away the face of Thy anointed. Alleluia, alleluia. V. 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 Let Thy priests…
O God, who has hallowed this day by the festival of Thy blessed Confessor Bishop John, grant that Thy Church may keep his feast with due rejoicing, so that his merits and example may help us at Thy mercy-seat. 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 Hebrews 7:23-27
Brethren, of other priests there was a succession. Since death denied them permanence; whereas, Jesus continues forever, and his priestly office is unchanging; that is why He can give eternal salvation to those who through Him make their way to God, He lives on still to make intercession on our behalf. Such was the high priest that suited our need, holy and guiltless and undefiled, not reckoned among us as sinners, lifted high above all the heavens; one who has no need to do as those other priests did, offering a twofold sacrifice day by day, first for his own sins, then for those of the people. What He has done, He has done once for all: and the offering was Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Ecclus. 44:16; 44:20
Here was a great high priest whose life was acceptable to God V. Where shall we find another to keep the law of the Most High as he kept it? Alleluia, alleluia. V. Ecclus 45:9 The Lord loved him well and ennobled him: He clothed him about with a robe of honour. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 24. 42-47
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Watch ye, because you know not what hour your Lord will come. but this know ye, that , if the good man of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly watch, and would not suffer his house to be broken open. Wherefore be you also ready: because at what hour you know not the Son of Man will come. Who, thinkest thou, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath appointed over his family, to give them meat in season? Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord shall come he shall find so doing. Amen I say to you, he shall place him over all his goods.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 88:25
My truth and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted.
O God, accept with gracious kindness from our hands this sacrificial offering, and at the prayer of Thy holy Confessor Bishop John, absolve us from all our sins. 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 Matthew 24: 46-47
Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord cometh he shall find watching: Amen I say to you, he shall place him over all his goods.
Sanctified by this life-giving rite, we beg Thee, Lord, that Thy blessed Confessor Bishop John, whom Thou hast given us for our protector and guide, may not cease to help us with his prayer. 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.