Mass Schedule – Christmas I (December 27, 2015)
28, Holy Innocents
29, Thomas Becket Archbishop
+ Wednesday Agape & Christian Education for all ages is on break. We will our Winter & Spring sessions on the Epiphany, Wednesday, January 6, 2016.
+ On December 29, we remember Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, slain in his own cathedral in 1170, for his defiance of King Henry II. The death of Thomas reminds us that a Christian, even when safe from pagans, can be in danger from his fellow-Christians. It also reminds us that one can be martyred in a cause where the merits of the particular issue at hand are not obvious to all men of good will. The issue here, or one of the issues, was one of court jurisdiction. King Henry claimed that a cleric accused of an ordinary crime ought to be tried in the King’s Courts like any layman. Thomas, who was Henry’s Chancellor and his close friend, vigorously upheld the king’s position. However, when he was made Archbishop of Canterbury with the king’s support, he reversed himself completely and upheld the right of clergy to be tried only in Church courts, which could not inflict capital punishment. Henry wanted an arrangement by which (for example) a priest accused of murder would be tried by a Church Court, which if it found him guilty would degrade him to the rank of a layman, whereupon a King’s Court would try him, and if it found him guilty would order him hanged. Thomas objected that a man could not be tried and punished twice for the same offense. Henry, being angered at opposition from someone whom he had counted on for support, was heard to exclaim in anger, “This fellow who has eaten my bread has lifted up his heel against me [see Psalm 41:9]. Have I no friend who will rid me of this upstart priest?” Four of his knights promptly rode to Canterbury, where they confronted the Archbishop and demanded that he back down. When he did not, they killed him. Henry swore that he had not intended his remark to be taken seriously, and had himself publicly whipped at the tomb of Thomas. Thomas was very soon canonized, and his tomb was one of the most popular places of pilgrimage in Europe for the next three-and-a-half centuries. During a war between England and France, a King of France obtained a cease-fire to enable him to make a pilgrimage to Canterbury. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is concerned with a group of pilgrims on their way to the tomb of Thomas.
+ The Holy Communion is celebrated Monday through Saturday at 12:15 p.m.
+All Saints parishioner may obtain a Mass card from the Church office. A Mass card is a greeting card given to someone to inform him or her that a deceased loved one or friend was remembered and prayed for at a weekly Mass. It is a specifically Christian way to express one’s love. Call Julie McDermott at the Church office (434-979-2842) and she will help you fill out the form. The celebrant will sign the card and we will mail it from the Church to the family of the loved one.