Gregory of Tours states that Denis was bishop of the Parisii and was martyred by being beheaded by a sword. The earliest document giving an account of his life and martyrdom, the “Passio SS. Dionysii Rustici et Eleutherii” dates from c. 600, is mistakenly attributed to the poet Venantius Fortunatus, and is legendary. Nevertheless, it appears from the Passio that Denis was sent from Italy to convert Gaul in the third century, forging a link with the “apostles to the Gauls” reputed to have been sent out under the direction of Pope Fabian. This was after the persecutions under Emperor Decius had all but dissolved the small Christian community at Lutetia. Denis, with his inseparable companions Rusticus and Eleutherius, who were martyred with him, settled on the Île de la Cité in the River Seine.
Denis, having alarmed the pagan priests by his many conversions, was executed by beheading on the highest hill in Paris (now Montmartre), which was likely to have been a druidic holy place. The martyrdom of Denis and his companions is popularly believed to have given it its current name, derived from the Latin mons martyrium “The Martyrs’ Mountain”, although in fact the name is more likely to derive from mons mercurei et mons martis, Hill of Mercury and Mars. After his head was chopped off, Denis is said to have picked it up and walked ten kilometres (six miles) from the summit of Mont Mars (now Montmartre), preaching a sermon the entire way! Of the many accounts of this martyrdom, this is noted in detail in the Golden Legend and in Butler’s Lives Of The Saints. The site where he stopped preaching and actually died was marked by a small shrine that developed into the Saint Denis Basilica, which became the burial place for the kings of France.
INTROIT Sir 44:15; 44:14
Let the people shew forth their wisdom, and the church declare their praise. Their name liveth unto generation and generation. Ps 32:1 Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: praise becometh the upright. 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.
O God, Who on this day strengthened blessed Dionysius, Your Martyr and Bishop, with the power to be steadfast in his suffering, and were pleased to join with him Rusticus and Eleutherius to preach Your glory to the pagans, grant us, we beseech You, out of love for You, to despise the favors of this world and to fear not its enmity. 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.
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 glorious 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.
for the Church
Mercifully hear the prayers of thy Church, we beseech thee, O Lord, that all adversities and errors being overcome, she 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. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Acts 17:22 – 34.
Lesson from the Acts of Apostles. In those days, Paul stood up in the midst of the Areopagus, and said, Men of Athens, I see that in every respect you are extremely religious. For as I was going about and observing objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription:‘To the Unknown God.’ What therefore you worship in ignorance, that I proclaim to you. God, Who made the world and all that is in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples built by hands; neither is He served by human hands as though He were in need of anything, since it is He Who gives to all men life and breath and all things. And from one man He has created the whole human race and made them live all over the face of the earth, determining their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands; that they should seek God, and perhaps grope after him and find Him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being, as indeed some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ If therefore we are the offspring of God, we ought not to imagine that the Divinity is like to gold or silver or stone, to an image graven by human art and thought. The times of this ignorance God has, it is true, overlooked, but now He calls upon all men everywhere to repent; inasmuch as He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world with justice by a Man Whom He has appointed, and Whom He has guaranteed to all by raising Him from the dead. Now when they heard of a resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, We will hear thee again on this matter. So Paul went forth from among them. Certain persons however joined him and became believers; among them were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Ps 123:7-8
Our soul hath been delivered as a sparrow out of the snare of the followers. The snare is broken, and we are delivered. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Alleluja, alleluja Ps 67:4 And let the just feast, and rejoice before God: and be delighted with gladness. Alleluja.
GOSPEL Luke 6:17-23
At that time. And coming down with them, he stood in a plain place, and the company of his disciples, and a very great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast both of Tyre and Sidon, Who were come to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases. And they that were troubled with unclean spirits, were cured. And all the multitude sought to touch him, for virtue went out from him, and healed all. And he, lifting up his eyes on his disciples, said: Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for you shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for you shall laugh. Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Be glad in that day and rejoice; for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For according to these things did their fathers to the prophets.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 149:5-6
The saints shall rejoice in glory: they shall be joyful in their beds. The high praise of God shall be in their mouth, alleluia.
Graciously accept, O Lord, the gifts of Your people in honor of Your Saints, and make us holy by their intercession. 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.
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.
for the Church
Protect us, O Lord, who celebrate thy mysteries, that holding fast to divine things, we may serve thee with body and soul. 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 12:4
And I say to you, my friends: Be not afraid of them who kill the body.
We who have received Your sacrament beseech You, Lord, that through the intercession of Your blessed Martyrs, Dionysius, Rusticus, and Eleutherius, we may profit unto an increase of eternal 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.
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.
for the Church
We beseech thee, O Lord, our God, that thou permit not those, to whom thou hast given a participation of divine things to be subjected to human dangers. 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.