Martyr (d. 1591)
+ Brian was born into a wealthy family in Brockdish, Norfolk, England.
+ A layman, Brian was a gentleman of means with land holdings in Yorkshire. He assisted his cousin, Father Montford Scott, in his clandestine ministry of serving the remnant Catholic community in the region during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
+ Arrested in 1586 for helping to harbor Catholic priests, he was released. He was, however, betrayed by his own brother and arrested again in 1591.
+ As Brian was being tortured in London’s Bridewell prison, he refused to offer any names to his captors. He was subsequently condemned to death for the crime of assisting priests and promoting the Catholic Faith. He was hanged at Tyburn on December 10, 1591.
+ Blessed Brian Lacey was beatified with other English martyrs in 1929.
On this day, the Church also honors the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title “Our Lady of Loreto.” This feast is tied to the medieval shrine known as the Holy House of Loreto, which is said to be the house in which the Blessed Virgin lived and which was miraculously transported to Recanati, Italy, in 1294; it was moved to its current location the following year and shrine church was built around the Santa Casa. In 1962, Pope Saint John XXIII visited the shrine at Loreto to pray for blessings on the Second Vatican Council. Two religious communities serving in the United States are named in honor of Our Lady of Loreto: the Sisters of Loretto (formally known as the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross) and the Loretto Sisters (formally known as the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
The ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
They meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning flee away.—Isaiah 35:10
Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Brian to overcome the torments of his passion, grant that we, who celebrate the day of his triumph, may remain invincible under your protection against the snares of the enemy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.