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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Bernard Mizeki, Catechist and Martyr in Mashonaland, 1896.

As a teenager Bernard Mizeki fled from the oppression of his native Portuguese East Africa, escaping to Cape Town, South Africa. There he was educated, converted, and baptized by Anglican missionaries. At age thirty he volunteered to serve as a teacher at a small pioneer mission in Mashonaland, Southern Rhodesia. There, in isolated and primitive Nhowe, he worked for five years, gaining many converts.

These were very troubled times in Rhodesia and missionaries were often regarded as the stooges of European imperialists. So it was with Bernard Mizeki. When a native uprising occurred in 1896 he was warned to flee, but not regarding himself as an enemy of the natives, and not wishing to leave his recent converts, he remained. He was brutally stabbed to death. His body, mysteriously, was never found. Today, a shrine at the site of his martyrdom attracts many pilgrims.

Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Bernard triumphed over suffering, and was faithful even to death: Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit for ever. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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