June 22: ST. JOHN FISHER & ST. THOMAS MORE
John Fisher was ordained priest in 1491. He held several teaching posts at the University of Cambridge, and at the same time was responsible for the spiritual direction of Queen Margaret, the mother of Henry VIII. He later occupied the Chair of Theology which the Queen had endowed at Cambridge. Early in 1504 he was named vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University and at the end of the year was consecrated Bishop of Rochester, the smallest and poorest diocese in England. Two days later he was appointed to office as a member of the King’s Council.
Thomas More studied Literature and Philosophy at Oxford and Law at New Inn. In 1504 he was elected member of Parliament and held several public offices. He earned great prestige because of his knowledge of the law and his integrity. Although his professional life was intensely time-consuming, he always found time for his family, which was his most important concern, and for his literary and historical studies. He published various books and essays. In 1529 he was appointed Lord Chancellor of England, in spite of having made it clear to the King that he could not agree with the dissolution of the King’s marriage. Taking a full interest in the problems of his day, he dedicated himself to his work with the desire of implementing the laws and institutions of his times with a Christian approach.
Both men were beheaded in 1535 for refusing to recognise the supremacy of Henry VIII over the Church in England and the annulment of the King’s marriage.
St. John Fisher and his friend St. Thomas More gave up their lives in testimony to the unity of the Church and to the indissolubility of Marriage. They suffered martyrdom through beheading under King Henry VIII.
O God, who in martyrdom have brought true faith to its highest expression, grant graciously that, strengthened through the intercession of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, we may confirm by the witness of our life the faith we profess with our lips, Through our Lord.