June 5: The feast of *Saint Boniface*

Today, June 5, we celebrate the feast day of *Saint Boniface* (673-754), patron saint of Germany, bishop, and martyr of the Church.

Born and named Winfrith in Devonshire, England, Boniface grew up in a noble family. As a boy Boniface begged his parents to allow him to enter the nearby monastery at Exeter following a visit by some local monks. So impressed with their life, Boniface joined the community. After a short time, he transferred to a larger monastery, in Bursling, and there became a well-respected teacher. At age thirty, Boniface was ordained a priest, and began preaching, as well as teaching, with great impact.

Winfrith felt called to missionary work but the first missionary endeavour proved unsuccessful. Winfrith, then, returned to England and later travelled to Rome for a personal audience with the Pope who instructed him to reform the German Church, renaming him Boniface.

Saint Boniface set off with zeal and had amazing success, converting two local chieftains who became zealous Christians, leading to the conversion of their tribes. He was granted a plot of land, upon which he founded the monastery at Amoeneburg.

Pope Gregory II consecrated him a bishop and granted general jurisdiction over “the races in the parts of Germany and east of the Rhine. Boniface now devoted his time and talent to the ecclesiastical organization of the Church
in Germany. He installed worthy bishops, set diocesan boundaries, promoted the spiritual life of the clergy and laity, held national synods and in 744 founded the monastery of Fulda, which became a centre of religious life in central Germany.

The final years of his busy life were spent, as were his earlier ones, in missionary activity. Word came to him in 754 that a part of Frisia had lapsed from the faith. During the final mission to the Frisians, he and 53 companions were massacred while he was preparing converts for Confirmation. In the moment of his death, Saint Boniface raised the Bible he was reading above his head. The sword of his slayer passed through the Book before cleaving the blessed saint.

*St. Boniface, pray for us.*

*✝️Prayer to Saint Boniface*

O God, through the zeal of your martyr and bishop blessed Boniface,
you brought a great multitude of peoples to the knowledge of your Name;
grant that we may enjoy the protection of him whose feast we celebrate.

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.