Bishop and Martyr
Josaphat, apostle and a martyr of Church unity was baptized John Kuncevyk. When he was 16, in 1595, the Ruthenian Church, to which he belonged, was officially united with Rome. As a young apprentice-merchant with a monastic vocation, he devoted his spare time to learning Church Slavonic, in order to assist more intelligently at the Liturgy and to recite some of the Divine Office each day. As soon as possible he entered the monastery of the Holy Trinity at Vilna. Made Archbishop of Polotsk in 1617, he fought tirelessly to preserve the union with Rome against fierce opposition from many of the people and a schismatic hierarchy. He was beaten to death in a riot incited by his opponents in 1623. St. Josaphat is one of the patrons of Poland.
Let us all rejoice in the Lord as we celebrate the feast in honor of the blessed martyr Josaphat, at whose martyrdom the angels rejoiced and praised the Son of God.
Ps. 32:1. Rejoice in the Lord, you just; praise befits the upright.
V. Glory be . . .
O Lord, infuse into your Church the Spirit that filled the blessed martyr bishop Josaphat when he gave his life for his flock. May that Spirit move and strengthen us through the prayers of this saint so that we may fearlessly sacrifice our lives for our brothers. Through Our Lord . . .
EPISTLE Heb. 5:1-6
Brethren: Every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on them that are ignorant and that err: because he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And therefore he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. Neither doth any man take the honor to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was. So Christ also did not glorify himself, that he might be made a high priest: but he that said unto him: "Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten thee." As he saith also in another place: "Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech."
GRADUAL Ps. 88:21-23
I have found David, My servant; with My holy oil I have anointed him, that My hand may help him and My arm strengthen him.
V. The enemy shall have no advantage over him, nor shall the son of iniquity have power to hurt him.
V. This is the priest whom the Lord has crowned.
GOSPEL St. John 10:11-16
At that time, Jesus said to the Pharisees, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep and flieth: and the wolf casteth and scattereth the sheep, And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd: and I know mine, and mine know me. As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring. And they shall hear my voice: And there shall be one fold and one shepherd."
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON St. John 13:13
Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends.
O Most Merciful God, bless these gifts of ours, and deepen in us that faith which Your blessed martyr bishop Josaphat upheld even at the cost of his life. Through Our Lord . . .
COMMUNION ANTIPHON St. John 10:14
I am the good shepherd, and I know my sheep and mine know me.
O Lord, may the food of heaven which we have taken fill us with the spiritual strength of Your blessed martyr bishop Josaphat, which made him victorious in defending the Church. Through Our Lord . . .