St. Boniface is called the Apostle of the Germans. He was a Benedictine monk in England. Instead of pursing a leadership position at the abbey, he desired to spread Christianity among the Germanic tribes.
On his first mission to Friesland (now the Netherlands) he was largely unsuccessful. During the eighth century, most of these tribes were pagans. Even those who professed Christianity did not truly practice it. Although the gospel had been preached there, the people had lapsed in their faith and an ongoing war between political factions forced him to leave.
He made a report to Rome and Pope Gregory II sent him back with letters of recommendation and instructions to reform the German Church. Now, having the authority of the pope to back him up, he set out again. He continued his missionary work in Friesland and Germany, this time with much greater success.
One story which is told is that he came across a huge oak tree which was a shrine to the pagan God Thor. He easily felled the giant tree with his ax. He did this to demonstrate that Christ is greater than pagan Gods. This story is often cited as the origin of the tradition of the Christmas tree.
St. Boniface was martyred in 754. While baptizing a group of converts in the river, he and his companions were killed by a group of raiders.
His feast day is June 5.
Patron Saint of …
St. Boniface is the patron saint of Germany.
Daily Mass Readings for the Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr
- First Reading – Acts 26:19-23: “That is why the Jews seized me when I was in the temple and tried to kill me.”
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 117: “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.”
- Gospel – John 10:11-16: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.”
Quote and Social Media Graphic
The Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship, but to keep her on her course.St. Boniface