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Blessed John de Britto


February 16

DON PEDRO II. of Portugal, when a child, had among his little pages a modest boy of rich and princely parents. Much had John de Britto—for so was he called—to bear from his careless-living companions, to whom his holy life was a reproach. A terrible illness made him turn for aid to St. Francis Xavier, a Saint so well loved by the Portuguese; and when, in answer to his prayers, he recovered, his mother vested him for a year in the dress worn in those days by the Jesuit Fathers. From that time John's heart burned to follow the example of the Apostle of the Indies. He gained his wish. On December 17, 1662, he entered the novitiate of the Society at Lisbon; and eleven years later, in spite of the most determined opposition of his family and of the court, he left all to go to convert the Hindus of Madura. When Blessed John's mother knew that her son was going to the Indies, she used all her influence to prevent him leaving his own country, and persuaded the Papal Nuncio to interfere. "God, Who called me from the world into religious life, now calls me from Portugal to India," was the reply of the future martyr. "Not to answer the vocation as I ought, would be to provoke the justice of God. As long as I live, I shall never cease striving to gain a passage to India." For fourteen years he toiled, preaching, converting, baptizing multitudes, at the cost of privations, hardships, and persecutions. At last, after being seized, tortured, and nearly massacred by the heathens, he was banished from the country. Forced to return to Portugal, John once more broke through every obstacle, and went back again to his labor of love. Like St. John the Baptist, he died a victim to the anger of a guilty woman, whom a convert king had put aside, and, like the Precursor, he was beheaded after a painful imprisonment.

Reflection. —"It is a great honor, a great glory to serve; God, and to contemn all things for God. They will have a great grace who freely subject themselves to God's most holy will."—The Imitation of Christ.   
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition

Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS

Ferial Day

Introit • Ps. 17, 5, 6, 7

The groans of death surround me, the sorrows of hell encompassed me: an in my affliction I called upon the Lord, and He heard my voice, from His holy temple. Ps. 17, 2, 3. I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength: the Lord is my firmament, and my refuge and my deliverer. Glory be …

Collect (Prayer)

Do thou, we beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously hear the prayers of Thy people, that we, who are justly afflicted for our sins, may be mercifully delivered for the glory of Thy name. Through our Lord.

Epistle • 1 Cor. 9, 24-27; 10, 1-5

Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

BRETHREN, know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air: But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.
For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea. And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud, and in the sea: And did all eat the same spiritual food, And all drank the same spiritual drink; (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.) But with most of them God was not well pleased. 

Gradual • Ps. 9, 10, 11, 19, 20

The helper in due time, in tribulation: let them trust in Thee, who know Thee: for Thou dost not forsake them that seek Thee, O Lord. For the poor man shall not be forgotten to the end: the patience of the poor shall not perish for ever: arise, O Lord, let not man be strengthened.

Gospel • Matt. 20, 1-16

Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew. 

[The parable of the labourers in the vineyard. The ambition of the two sons of Zebedee. Christ gives sight to two blind men.]

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: The kingdom of heaven is like to an householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour, he saw others standing in the market place idle. And he said to them: Go you also into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just. And they went their way. And again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did in like manner.
But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing, and he saith to them: Why stand you here all the day idle? They say to him: Because no man hath hired us. He saith to them: Go you also into my vineyard. And when evening was come, the lord of the vineyard saith to his steward: Call the labourers and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first. When therefore they were come, that came about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more: and they also received every man a penny.
And receiving it they murmured against the master of the house, Saying: These last have worked but one hour, and thou hast made them equal to us, that have borne the burden of the day and the heats. But he answering said to one of them: Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst thou not agree with me for a penny? Take what is thine, and go thy way: I will also give to this last even as to thee. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? is thy eye evil, because I am good? So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.

Offertory • Ps. 91, 2

It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name. O Most High.


With our gifts and prayers accepted, we beseech Thee, O Lord, both cleanse us by theses heavenly mysteries and graciously hear us. Through our Lord.

Communion • Ps. 30, 17, 18

Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant, and save me in Thy mercy: Let me not be confounded, O Lord, for I have called upon Thee.


May Thy faithful, O God, be strengthened by Thy gifts, that receiving them they may still desire them and desiring them may constantly receive them. Through our Lord.