English Saints & Martyrs of the Reformation Era

4 May -- Lesser Festival -- Of any Saint -- White

This day is set aside to remember all who witnessed to their Christian faith during the conflicts in church and state in England, which lasted from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries but were at their most intense in the sixteenth century. Though the reform movement was aimed chiefly at the Papacy, many Christian men and women of holiness suffered for their allegiance to what they believed to be the truth of the gospel. As the movement grew in strength, it suffered its own internecine struggles, with one group determined that they were the keepers of truth and that all others were therefore at least in a state of ignorance and at worst heretical. In the twentieth century, ecumenical links drew the churches closer to each other in faith and worship and all now recognise both the good and evil that evolved from the Reformation Era.


Merciful God,
who, when your Church on earth was torn apart
   by the ravages of sin,
raised up men and women in this land
who witnessed to their faith with courage and constancy:
give to your Church that peace which is your will,
and grant that those who have been divided on earth
   may be reconciled in heaven,
and share together in the vision of your glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the prophecy of Isaiah.

Thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.

Because you are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, "Give them up," and to the south, "Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth -- everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."

This is the word of the Lord.         Isaiah 43. 1-7

Responsorial Psalm

RDo not fear, for I have redeemed you;
[I have called you by name, you are mine].
On the holy mountain stands the city he has founded
and the Lord loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwellings of Jacob. R

Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of our God.
Of Zion it shall be said: "Everyone was born in her,
and the Most High himself shall sustain her." R

The Lord will record as he enrols the peoples:
"These also were born there."
The singers and the dancers will say:
"All my fresh springs are in you." R         From Psalm 87

A reading from the Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

We do not proclaim ourselves, we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

This is the word of the Lord.         2 Corinthians 4. 5-12

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour."

This is the gospel of Christ.         John 12. 20-26

Post Communion

God, the source of all holiness
   and giver of all good things:
may we who have shared at this table
   as strangers and pilgrims here on earth
be welcomed with all your saints
   to the heavenly feast on the day of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.