Carissimi: Today’s Mass; St Wilfrid of York, Apostle of the South Saxons

St Wilfrid of York, Apostle to the South Saxons, Co-Patron of the Sussex Mission: Missa “Sacerdotes tui

Wilfrid was born in Northumbria in 634. He was educated in the Celtic tradition by Monks in the monastery on Lindisfarne (called Holy Island today) a small island off the Northumberland coast.

As a young man, Wilfrid went to Rome with Benet Biscop and spent time en-route in Lyons (Southern France). When he returned, rather than following the Celtic teaching of the Irish Missionaries under the teachings of Aidan from Iona, he supported the Roman traditions. He was made Abbot of Ripon and then ordained a priest. When Aidan died, the differences between Celtic and Roman traditions and customs began to cause dispute. In 664 a synod was held in St Hilda’s Church in Whitby. It settled the question, abolished Celtic customs and established the Roman traditions to be the order of the day.

Wilfrid became Bishop of Lindisfarne and was consecrated in Paris. He remained in France for so long afterwards that St. Chad (one of Aidan’s pupils) was appointed Bishop in his place. Wilfrid appealed to St. Theodore of Canterbury before he could take possession of his diocese. He established himself at York, but was opposed many times by secular rulers and also by St. John of Beverley. One dispute in 678 occurred when Theodore tried to divide the large diocese of Lindisfarne/York in two parts. Wilfrid strongly objected to this and appealed to Rome against Archbishop Theodore.

Then was made the first appeal to the Roman See, namely, from Wilfrid as Bishop of York against the Archbishop of Canterbury; to which end Wilfrid set out for Rome a second time. And on his way thither he preached the Gospel mightily in Friesland, converting many heathens, and thereby opening the way for the harvest of souls which Saint Willibrord and his companions gathered in. Now when Pope Saint Agatho had decided the case in Wilfrid’s favour, he returned to King Egfrid with the decree, who promptly cast him into prison, and kept him there many months.

And when he was set free he was obliged to flee from one place to another, until he came into the region of the South Saxons. There he settled down, and laboured greatly in the Gospel, converting many, and establishing a bishoprick at Selsey. But in 686, after King Egfrid had died, Wilfrid was recalled to York, through the intervention of Saint Theodore and others.

However, so many difficulties arose that he went to Rome for a third time, to make a second appeal to the Holy See. As a result of which he was again, by papal decree, awarded all his former authority in Northumbria. But he was seventy-two years old, and shortly thereafter died in peace, namely, on April 24th, 709. But his feast is usually kept on October 12th, being the day of the translation of his relics.

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 by reason of the singular merits of thy blessed Bishop Saint Wilfrid, didst cause to shine forth in him many wondrous works, we beseech thee, mercifully to grant, that like as we have learnt from his teaching to seek earnestly after all things heavenly, so we may at all times be defended by his 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.

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.”


My truth and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted.


We offer sacrifice unto Thee, O Lord, on the solemnity of blessed Wilfrid, Thy bishop and confessor, humbly beseeching that the sheep which have gone astray may return to the one fold and be nourished with 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 Apostles

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, to entreat Thee humbly, O Lord, that Thou woulds not desert Thy flock. O everlasting Shepherd; but through Thy blessed Apostles, wouldst keep it under Thy constant protection; that it may be governed by those same rulers, whom as vicars of Thy work, Thou didst set over it to be its pastors. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of The glory, evermore saying:

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.


Refreshed with the victim of salvation, we supplicate Thee, O Lord, that, through the intercessory patronage of blessed Wilfrid, it may always and everywhere be offered to 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.