John Leonardi was born at Diecimo, Italy. He became a pharmacist’s assistant at Lucca, studied for the priesthood, and was ordained in 1572. He gathered a group of laymen about him to work in hospitals and prisons, became interested in the reforms proposed by the Council of Trent, and proposed a new congregation of secular priests. Great opposition to his proposal developed, but in 1583, his association (formally designated Clerks Regular of the Mother of God in 1621) was recognized by the bishop of Lucca with the approval of Pope Gregory XIII. John was aided by St. Philip Neri and St. Joseph Calasanctius, and in 1595, the congregation was confirmed by Pope Clement VIII, who appointed John to reform the monks of Vallombrosa and Monte Vergine. He died in Rome on October 9th of plague contracted while he was ministering to the stricken. He was venerated for his miracles and religious fervor and is considered one of the founders of the College for the Propagation of the Faith. He was canonized in 1938 by Pope Pius XI.
The first mention we have of these three martyrs who died around 258 A.D. comes in the sixth century in the writings of Saint Gregory of Tours.
Denis (or Dionysius as he is also called) is the most famous of the three. Born and raised in Italy, he was sent as a missionary to Gaul (now France) circa 250 A.D. by Pope St. Clement along with five other bishops. Denis made his base of missionary activity an island in the Seine near the city of Lutetia Parisorium, what would become Paris. For this reason he is know as the first bishop of Paris and the Apostle of France. There he was captured by the Parisians along with Rusticus and Eleutherius. Later writers have referred to these as Denis’ priest and deacon, or his deacon and subdeacon, but we have no further information on them.
After a long imprisonment and several aborted executions, the three martyrs were beheaded with a sword and their bodies were thrown into the river. Denis’ body was retrieved from the Seine by his converts and buried. The chapel that was built over his tomb grew into the abbey of Saint-Denis.
In the ninth century, Denis’ story and identity became fused and confused with Dionysius the Areopagite and Pseudo-Dionysius, but later scholarship has re-established his identity as a separate saint. Recognized since the time of St. Gregory as a special saint of Paris, Denis is the patron saint of France.
Thursday in the Seventeenth week after Pentecost. Feast of St. John Leonard, Confessor / Commemoration of St. Denis Bishop, Rusticus Priest, and Eleutherius, Martyrs.
Missa – In sermónibus
INTROIT Ecclus. 42: 15-16; Ps. 95: 1
IN sermónibus Dómini ópera ejus: sol illúminans per ómnia respéxit, et glória Dómini plenum est opus ejus. Ps. Cantáte Dómino cánticum no- vum: cantáte Dómino, omnis terra.
Gloria Patri et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
By the words of the Lord are His works: the sun giving light hath looked upon all things, and full of the glory of the Lord is His work.
Ps. O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
O God, Who for the propagation of the Faith among the people wast pleased in a wondrous manner to stir up blessed John, Thy Confessor: and Who, through him, didst in Thy Church gather together a new Society for the instruction of the faithful: do Thou grant unto us Thy servants, that we may so profit by his teaching, as to attain unto the everlasting rewards. Through our Lord.
COLLECT Commemoration of Ss Denis, Rusticus, and Eleutherius
O God, Who on this day didst strengthen blessed Denis, Thy Martyr, with the virtue of fortitude in his suffering, and didst vouchsafe to join with him Rusticus and Eleutherius to preach Thy glory to the nations, grant us, we beseech Thee, to imitate them in contemning the prosperity of the world for the sake of Thy love, and to fear none of its adversity. Through our Lord.
EPISTLE II Corinthians 4: 1-6; 15-18
Brethren: Seeing we have this ministration, according as we have obtained mercy, we faint not, but renounce the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor adulterating the word of God, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience, in the sight of God. And if our Gospel be also hid; it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers that the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God, should not shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord: and ourselves your servants through Jesus. For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus. For all things are for your sakes: that the grace, abounding through many, may abound in thanksgiving unto the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man be corrupted, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we look, not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen, are temporal: but the things which are not seen, are eternal.
GRADUAL Psalm 72: 21; 68: 10
My heart hath been inflamed and my loins have been changed: the zeal of Thy house hath eaten me up.
Isai. 49: 2
He hath made my mouth like unto a sharp sword: in the shadow of His hand hath He protected me, and made me as a chosen shaft.
ALLELUIA Psalm 70: 7
Alleluia, alleluia. I am become to many as a wonder: but Thou art a strong helper. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 10: 1-9
At that time, the Lord appointed also other seventy-two; and He sent them two and two before His face into every city and place whither He Himself was to come. And He said to them, the harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He send laborers into His harvest. Go, behold I send you as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes; and salute no man by the way. Into whatsoever house you enter, first say: Peace be to this house: and if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him: but if not, it shall return to you. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they have: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Remove not from house to house. And into what city so ever you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein; and say to them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
OFFERTORY Colossians 1: 25
I am made a minister of Christ, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God.
Receive, O Lord, the clean oblation of this salutary sacrifice: and, by the intercession of blessed John, Thy Confessor, grant that everywhere among the nations it may fittingly be offered up. Through our Lord.
SECRET Commemoration of Ss Denis, Rusticus, and Eleutherius
Graciously receive, O Lord, the gifts of Thy people in honor of Thy Saints, and sanctify us by their intercession. Through our Lord.
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria Tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.
COMMUNION Philippians 3: 7
The things that were gain to me, the same I counted loss for Christ.
Refreshed by the sacred mysteries of Thy precious body and blood, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that, following the example of blessed John, Thy Confessor, we may set ourselves to profess that which he believed, and in our actions to put into practice that which he taught: Who livest and reignest.
POSTCOMMUNION Commemoration of Ss Denis, Rusticus, and Eleutherius
We who have received Thy sacraments, O Lord, pray that, by the intercession of Thy blessed Martyrs, Denis, Rusticus, and Eleutherius, we may be profited unto the increase of our everlasting redemption. Through our Lord.