Readings
for the Feast of

St Charles Lwanga and Companions
Martyrs
Go to the Liturgy of the Hours

MASS

ENTRANCE ANTIPHON          Cf. Wis 3: 6-7, 9
Tamquam aurum in fornáce probávit eléctos Dóminus et quasi holocáusti hóstiam accépit illos et in témpore erit respéctus illórum quóniam donum et pax est eléctis Dei.
As gold in the furnace, the Lord put his chosen to the test;
as sacrificial offerings, he took them to himself;
and in due time they will be honored,
and grace and peace will be with the elect of God (E.T. alleluia).


COLLECT
O God, who have made the blood of Martyrs
the seed of Christians,
mercifully grant that the field which is your Church,
watered by the blood
shed by Saints Charles Lwanga and his companions,
may be fertile and always yield you an abundant harvest.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


FIRST READING          2 Maccabees 7:1-2,9-14
It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested
and tortured with whips and scourges by the king,
to force them to eat pork in violation of God's law.
One of the brothers, speaking for the others, said:
"What do you expect to achieve by questioning us?
We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors."

At the point of death he said:
"You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life,
but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever.
It is for his laws that we are dying."

After him, the third suffered their cruel sport.
He put out his tongue at once when told to do so,
and bravely held out his hands, as he spoke these noble words:
"It was from Heaven that I received these;
for the sake of God's laws I disdain them;
from him I hope to receive them again."
Even the king and his attendants marveled at the young man's courage,
because he regarded his sufferings as nothing.

After he had died,
they tortured and maltreated the fourth brother in the same way.
When he was near death, he said,
"It is my choice to die at the hands of men
with the God-given hope of being restored to life by him;
but for you, there will be no resurrection to life."


RESPONSORIAL PSALM           124:2-3, 4-5, 7b-8
Ánima nostra sicut passer erépta est de láqueo venántium.

R./ (7) Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.
Had not the Lord been with us–
When men rose up against us,
    then would they have swallowed us alive,
When their fury was inflamed against us.
R./ Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us;
The torrent would have swept over us;
    over us then would have swept
    the raging waters.
R./ Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.
Broken was the snare,
    and we were freed.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.
R./ Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.


ALLELUIA          Matt 5:3
Beáti páuperes spíritu, quóniam ipsórum est regnum cælórum.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


GOSPEL          Matthew 5:1-12a
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven."


PRAYER OVER THE OFFERINGS
We offer you sacrifice, O Lord, humbly praying
that, as you granted the blessed Martyrs
grace to die rather than sin,
so you may bring us to minister at your altar
in dedication to you alone.
Through Christ our Lord.


COMMUNION ANTIPHON          Ps 116 (115): 15
Pretiósa in conspéctu Dómini mors sanctórum eius.
How precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his holy ones. (E.T. alleluia).


PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
We have received this divine Sacrament, O Lord,
as we celebrate the victory of your holy Martyrs;
may what helped them to endure torment, we pray,
make us, in the face of trials,
steadfast in faith and in charity.
Through Christ our Lord.


Liturgy of the Hours
Charles Lwanga and Companions

From the Common of Several Martyrs, except the following:
From the Office of Readings


From a homily at the canonization of the martyrs of Uganda by Pope Paul VI
(AAS 56 [1964], 905-906)

The glory of the martyrs - a sign of rebirth

The African martyrs add another page to the martyrology – the Church’s roll of honour – an occasion both of mourning and of joy. This is a page worthy in every way to be added to the annals of that Africa of earlier which we, living in this era and being men of little faith, never expected to be repeated.

In earlier times there occurred those famous deeds, so moving to the spirit, of the martyrs of Scilli, of Carthage, and of that "white robed army" of Utica commemorated by Saint Augustine and Prudentius; of the martyrs of Egypt so highly praised by Saint John Chrysostom , and of the martyrs of the Vandal persecution. Who would have thought that in our days we should have witnessed events as heroic and glorious?

Who could have predicted to the famous African confessors and martyrs such as Cyprian, Felicity, Perpetua and – the greatest of all – Augustine, that we would one day add names so dear to us as Charles Lwanga and Matthias Mulumba Kalemba and their 20 companions? Nor must we forget those members of the Anglican Church who also died for the name of Christ.

These African martyrs herald the dawn of a new age. If only the mind of man might be directed not toward persecutions and religious conflicts but toward a rebirth of Christianity and civilisation!

Africa has been washed by the blood of these latest martyrs, the first of this new age (and, God willing, let them be the last, although such a holocaust is precious indeed). Africa is reborn free and independent.

The infamous crime by which these young men were put to death was so unspeakable and so expressive of the times. It shows us clearly that a new people needs a moral foundation, needs new spiritual customs firmly planted, to be handed down to posterity. Symbolically, this crime also reveals that a simple and rough way of life – enriched by many fine human qualities yet enslaved by its own weakness and corruption – must give way to a more civilised life wherein the higher expressions of the mind and better social conditions prevail.


RESPONSORY          
We are warriors now, fighting on the battlefield of faith, and God sees all we do;
the Angels watch and so does Christ.
-What honor and glory and joy, to do battle in the presence of God
and to have Christ approve our victory.

Let us arm ourselves in full strength
and prepare ourselves for the ultimate struggle
with blameless hearts, true faith and unyielding courage.
-What honor and glory and joy, to do battle in the presence of God
and to have Christ approve our victory.


COLLECT
O God, who have made the blood of Martyrs
the seed of Christians,
mercifully grant that the field which is your Church,
watered by the blood
shed by Saints Charles Lwanga and his companions,
may be fertile and always yield you an abundant harvest.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.



The English translation of Psalm Responses, Alleluia Verses, Gospel Verses from Lectionary for Mass 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL); the English translation of Antiphons, Invitatories, Responsories, Intercessions, Psalm 95, the Canticle of the Lamb, Psalm Prayers, Non-Biblical Readings from The Liturgy of the Hours 1973, 1974, 1975, ICEL; excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved. Used with permission.



 
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