A Note From Fr. Tom
My dear friends in Christ, as this is my last bulletin article, I want to thank you all for a great year, as it’s been an honor to serve these parishes as a priest. Thanks especially for all the good wishes and kind words as I prepare to move on to my new assignment next week. Also, thank you for the great “Welcome-Farewell” party after the 4:30pm Mass last week… what a great send-off!
For this week’s article, I want to highlight two great saints: St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More. We celebrate their feast day this Tuesday, June 22nd. St. John Fisher was a bishop, and St. Thomas More was the chancellor of England.
These two saints are known for their courage in the face of King Henry VIII. Here’s a quick summary of what went down: King Henry VIII was married to Catherine of Aragon, but because they were unable to bring about a male heir together, Henry decided to divorce her. He then married Anne Boleyn. Both John Fisher and Thomas More opposed this second marriage because it was unlawful… in the eyes of the Lord, the king was still married to Catherine. Rather than following Church teaching and the teaching of Christ himself, King Henry VIII formally left the Catholic Church and made himself the supreme Head of the Church of England.
Both saints were imprisoned in the Tower of England and each were charged with high treason, as neither of them submitted to Henry VIII’s authority. Throughout all of their trials, they maintained a spirit of humility so as to not make themselves heroes. St. John Fisher, the only bishop to oppose the king's actions, said, “I condemn no other man’s conscience: their conscience may save them, and mine must save me.” Ultimately, St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More were both martyred in 1535.
What’s amazing about St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More is that they remained faithful to Christ even in the face of imprisonment and death. If you haven’t seen it yet, I would encourage you to check out the 1966 film, “A Man for All Seasons.” It’s one of my favorite movies, and it’s a beautiful depiction of St. Thomas More’s integrity and bravery. To close with his own words, “I do not care very much what men say of me, provided that God approves of me.”
Fr. Tom Skaja