St Augustine, Bishop & Confessor, Apostle to the Angles: Missa “Sacerdotes tui“
“Your words are fair, but of doubtful meaning; I cannot forsake what I have so long believed. But as you have come from far we will not molest you; you may preach, and gain as many as you can to your religion”Greeting of King Ethelbert, Isle of Thanet, to Augustine in the Summer of 597
Details of Augustine’s life are scarce. Believed to have been a pupil of Felix, bishop of Messana, he became a monk and later Prior of St Andrew’s in Rome. He was sent by Pope Gregory to lead a party of around 30 monks to bring England (such as it was) under the influence of the Roman world. The journey was halted at one point, the monks losing their nerve and returning to Rome, before successfully landing at Ebbsfleet in 597. Received cautiously by the King of Kent, Ethelbert, Augustine managed to estbalish a community of monks based first at St Martin’s church, later transferring to the site of the present Cathedral.
Augustine struggled to establish his authority within the British Isles and did not bring to completion Gregory’s plan to form an English church based on two provinces and twelve bishops.
He died on May 26th, now remembered as his feast day, but the year of his death is uncertain, between 604 and 609. He was buried at what is now called St Augustine’s Abbey.
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. 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. Let Thy priests, O Lord, be clothed with justice…
O God, Who by the preaching and miracles of blessed Augustine, Thy Confessor and Bishop, didst vouchsafe to shed upon the English people the light of the true faith: grant that, thought the intercession , the hearts of the straying may return to the unity of Thy truth, and that we may do Thy will with one accord. 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
Lesson from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Hebrews: Brethren, there were made many priests, because by reason of death they were not suffered to continue: but Jesus, for that He continueth forever, hath an everlasting priesthood. Whereby He is able also to save forever them that come to God by Him; always living to make intercession for us. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, and undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as the other priests, to offer sacrifice first for His own sins, and then for the people’s; for this Jesus Christ our Lord did once, in offering Himself.
GRADUAL Psalm 131: 16-17
I will clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall rejoice with exceeding great joy. There will I bring forth a horn to David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
Alleluia, alleluia. Ps 109:4 The Lord has sworn, and He will not repent: You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedec. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 10:1-9
At that time, Jesus appointed also other seventy-two: and he sent them two and two before his face into every city and place whither he himself was to come. And he said to them: The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send labourers into his harvest. Go: Behold I send you as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes; and salute no man by the way. Into whatsoever house you enter, first say: Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And in the same house, remain, eating and drinking such things as they have: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Remove not from house to house. And into what city soever you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick that are therein, and say to them: The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 88: 25
My truth and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted.
We offer Thee this sacrifice, O Lord, on the solemn feast of blessed Augustine, Thy Bishop and Confessor, humbly entreating that the sheep which are lost may return to the one fold, and be nourished by this food of 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 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.
We who are refreshed by this saving Victim humbly entreat Thee, O Lord, that though the intercession of blessed Augustine pleading for us, It may continually be offered in every place to the glory of Thy name. 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.