Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Prayer to St. Josaphat Kuntsevych

O Saint Josaphat,
wonderful Saint and heroic martyr
for the union of our Church with the Vicar of Christ,
the Pope of Rome.
Thou are glorious on account of thy zeal in the propagation
of the true Catholic faith among our people.
Thou art wonderful because of thy heroic martyrdom
for the unity of faith of our people with the Holy See of Rome,
the true center of orthodox Catholicism.

Thou art admirable on account of thy sublime virtues with which thou has adorned thy soul.
We admire thy ardent love for Jesus and Mary and thy allegiance to the Vicar of Christ.
Thou art a sublime example of all virtues for the people of whom thou were born.
Since thou art so powerful with God as thy miracles prove,
I ask thee to obtain for me from Jesus and Mary a strong attachment to the Catholic faith
and my beautiful Eastern Rite which I shall never betray nor abandon.
Obtain also the grace of indefatigable zeal
that I may labor for the reunion of my separated Eastern Brethren.

O glorious martyr of our Catholic Church,
remember the nation of which thou were a son,
look at our people and pray to God for future reunion of all Ukrainians
under one fold and one shepherd.
May the day come soon in which all thy Brethren will assemble before thy holy relics
in a free and independent Ukraine to give thanks to God for the union of all Ukrainians with the Holy See.



Memorial of Saint Josaphat
Bishop and Martyr

WIS 2:23–3:9

God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made them.
But by the envy of the Devil, death entered the world,
and they who are in his possession experience it.

But the souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19

R. I will bless the Lord at all times.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.

R. I will bless the Lord at all times.

The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.

R. I will bless the Lord at all times.

When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.

R. I will bless the Lord at all times.

LK 17:7-10

Jesus said to the Apostles:

“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say,
‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.’”


November 12

St. Josaphat (1580?-1623)

In 1964, newspaper photos of Pope Paul VI embracing Athenagoras I, the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, 
marked a significant step toward the healing of a division in Christendom that has spanned more than nine centuries.

In 1595, when today’s saint was a boy, the Orthodox bishop of Brest-Litovsk (famous in World War I) in present-day Belarus and five other bishops representing millions of Ruthenians, sought reunion with Rome. John Kunsevich (Josaphat became his name in religious life) was to dedicate his life and die for the same cause. Born in what is now Ukraine, he went to work in Wilno and was influenced by clergy adhering to the Union of Brest (1596). 
He became a Basilian monk, then a priest, and soon was well known as a preacher and as an ascetic.

He became bishop of Vitebsk (now in Belarus) at a relatively young age, and faced a difficult situation. Most monks, fearing interference in liturgy and customs, did not want union with Rome. By synods, catechetical instruction, reform of the clergy and personal example, however, 
Josaphat was successful in winning the greater part of the Orthodox in that area to the union.

But the next year a dissident hierarchy was set up, and his opposite number spread the accusation that Josaphat had "gone Latin" and that all his people would have to do the same. 
He was not enthusiastically supported by the Latin bishops of Poland.

Despite warnings, he went to Vitebsk, still a hotbed of trouble. Attempts were made to foment trouble and drive him from the diocese: A priest was sent to shout insults to him from his own courtyard. When Josaphat had him removed and shut up in his house, the opposition rang the town hall bell, and a mob assembled. The priest was released, but members of the mob broke into the bishop’s home. He was struck with a halberd, then shot and his body thrown into the river. It was later recovered and is now buried in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. He was the first saint of the Eastern Church to be canonized by Rome.

His death brought a movement toward Catholicism and unity, but the controversy continued, and the dissidents, too, had their martyr. After the partition of Poland, 
the Russians forced most Ruthenians to join the Russian Orthodox Church.


O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

The Lord is the king of martyrs:
come, let us adore him.

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

The Lord is the king of martyrs:
come, let us adore him.

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

The Lord is the king of martyrs:
come, let us adore him.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

The Lord is the king of martyrs:
come, let us adore him.

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

The Lord is the king of martyrs:
come, let us adore him.

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

The Lord is the king of martyrs:
come, let us adore him.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Lord is the king of martyrs:
come, let us adore him.


O God of truth and Lord of power,
whose word their course to things assigns,
whose splendor lights the morning hour,
whose fiery sun at noonday shines:
Within us quench the flames of strife,
the harmful heat of passion quell;
give health of body to our life
and give true peace of soul as well.
In this, most loving Father, hear,
and Christ, co-equal Son, our prayer:
with Holy Ghost, one Trinity,
you reign for all eternity.

Psalm 101 (102)
Prayers and vows of an exile

Let my cry come to you, Lord:
do not hide your face from me.

Lord, listen to my prayer
and let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me:
whenever I am troubled,
turn to me and hear me.
Whenever I call on you,
hurry to answer me.
For my days vanish like smoke,
and my bones are dry as tinder.
My heart is cut down like grass, it is dry –
I cannot remember to eat.
The sound of my groaning
makes my bones stick to my flesh.
I am lonely as a pelican in the wilderness,
as an owl in the ruins,
as a sparrow alone on a rooftop:
I do not sleep.
All day long my enemies taunt me,
they burn with anger and use my name as a curse.
I make ashes my bread,
I mix tears with my drink,
because of your anger and reproach –
you, who raised me up, have dashed me to the ground.
My days fade away like a shadow:
I wither like grass.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Let my cry come to you, Lord:
do not hide your face from me.

Psalm 101 (102)

Turn, Lord, to the prayers of the helpless.

But you, Lord, remain for ever
and your name lasts from generation to generation.
You will rise up and take pity on Zion,
for it is time that you pitied it,
indeed it is time:
for your servants love its very stones
and pity even its dust.
Then, Lord, the peoples will fear your name.
All the kings of the earth will fear your glory,
when the Lord has rebuilt Zion
and appeared there in his glory;
when he has listened to the prayer of the destitute
and not rejected their pleading.
These things shall be written for the next generation
and a people yet to be born shall praise the Lord:
because he has looked down from his high sanctuary,
– the Lord has looked down from heaven to earth –
and heard the groans of prisoners
and freed the children of death
so that they could proclaim the Lord’s name in Zion
and sing his praises in Jerusalem,
where people and kingdoms gather together
to serve the Lord.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Turn, Lord, to the prayers of the helpless.

Psalm 101 (102)

You founded the earth, Lord,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.

He has brought down my strength in the midst of my journey;
he has shortened my days.
I will say, “My God, do not take me away
half way through the days of my life.
Your years last from generation to generation:
in the beginning you founded the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will pass away but you will remain;
all will grow old, like clothing,
and like a cloak you will change them, and they will be changed.
“But you are always the same,
your years will never run out.
The children of your servants shall live in peace,
their descendants will endure in your sight.”

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

You founded the earth, Lord,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.

Listen, my people, to my teaching;
– open your ears to the words of my mouth.

First Reading
Daniel 3:8-13,19-24,91-97

Some Chaldaeans then came forward and laid information against the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘O king, live for ever! You have issued a decree, O king, to the effect that everyone on hearing the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe or any other instrument is to prostrate himself and worship the golden statue; and that anyone who does not prostrate himself and worship is to be thrown into the burning fiery furnace. Now there are certain Jews to whom you have entrusted the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; these men have ignored your command, O king; they do not serve your gods, and refuse to worship the golden statue you have erected.’

Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar sent for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual, and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace. They were then bound, fully clothed, cloak, hose and headgear, and thrown into the burning fiery furnace. The king’s command was so urgent and the heat of the furnace was so fierce, that the men carrying Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were burnt to death by the flames from the fire; the three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego fell, still bound, into the burning fiery furnace.

And they walked in the heart of the flames, 
praising God and blessing the Lord.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, O king.’ ‘But,’ he went on ‘I can see four men walking about freely in the heart of the fire without coming to any harm. And the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’ Nebuchadnezzar approached the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and shouted, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, come here!’ And from the heart of the fire out came Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The satraps, prefects, governors, and advisers of the king crowded round the three men to examine them: the fire had had no effect on their bodies: not a hair of their heads had been singed, their cloaks were not scorched, no smell of burning hung about them. Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: he has sent his angel to rescue his servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their own. I therefore decree as follows: Men of all peoples, nations, and languages! Let anyone speak disrespectfully of the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and I will have him torn limb from limb and his house razed to the ground, for there is no other god who can save like this.’ 
Then the king showered favours on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.


The angel of the Lord came down into the furnace beside Azariah and his companions:
he drove the flames of the fire outwards,
so that the fire did not even touch them or cause them any distress.

Blessed be God who sent the angel to rescue his servants who put their trust in him,
so that the fire did not even touch them or cause them any distress.

Second Reading
Pope Pius XI's encyclical "Ecclesiam Dei"

He gave his life for the unity of the Church

In designing his Church God worked with such skill that in the fullness of time it would resemble a single great family embracing all men. It can be identified, as we know, by certain distinctive characteristics, 
notably its universality and unity.

Christ the Lord passed on to his apostles the task he had received from the Father: I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations. He wanted the apostles as a body to be intimately bound together, first by the inner tie of the same faith and love which flows into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and, second, by the external tie of authority exercised by one apostle over the others. For this he assigned the primacy to Peter, the source and visible basis of their unity for all time. So that the unity and agreement among them would endure, God wisely stamped them, one might say, with the mark of holiness and martyrdom.

Both these distinctions fell to Josaphat, archbishop of Polock of the Slavonic rite of the Eastern Church. He is rightly looked upon as the great glory and strength of the Eastern Rite Slavs. Few have brought them greater honor or contributed more to their spiritual welfare than Josaphat, their pastor and apostle, especially when he gave his life as a martyr for the unity of the Church. He felt, in fact, that God had inspired him to restore world-wide unity to the Church and he realized that his greatest chance of success lay in preserving the Slavonic rite and Saint Basil’s rule of monastic life within the one universal Church.

Concerned mainly with seeing his own people reunited to the See of Peter, he sought out every available argument which would foster and maintain Church unity. His best arguments were drawn from liturgical books, sanctioned by the Fathers of the Church, which were in common use among Eastern Christians, including the dissidents. Thus thoroughly prepared, he set out to restore the unity of the Church. A forceful man of fine sensibilities, 
he met with such success that his opponents dubbed him “the thief of souls.”


Jesus prayed:
Holy Father,
keep them safe by the power of your name,
the name you gave me,
so that they may be completely one,
in order that the world may know that you sent me.

I gave them the same glory you gave me,
so that they may be completely one,
in order that the world may know that you sent me.

Let us pray.

Lord, filled with your Holy Spirit
Saint Josaphat laid down his life for his flock.
Renew that Spirit in your Church,
strengthen our hearts with your grace,
so that, with the help of his prayers,
we may be ready to lay down our lives for our brethren.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.