Above: The Flag of England
SAINT JOHN JONES (DIED JULY 12, 1598)
Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr
His feast transferred from July 12
SAINT JOHN RIGBY (CIRCA 1570-1600)
Roman Catholic Martyr
His feast = June 21
I could make my usual (for British martyrs) statement about freedom of religion and the need for governments to refrain from labeling a certain religious affiliation as treasonous, but I will move directly to telling the story of two saints.
St. John Jones (died 1598), a Welsh Roman Catholic, became a Franciscan in 1559. He made his vows in France and worked in Rome before undertaking his English mission in 1592. Jones served as the Franciscan Minister Provincial in England before authorities arrested him in 1596. Richard Topcliffe, the priest hunter with at best a casual relationship with facts, lied, saying that Jones had said a home Mass for two Catholics who, at the time , were in prison. So Jones could not have been in their company at their home, could he? But why let objective reality prevent one from arresting, torturing, and incarcerating someone? Jones was never a legally free man again. Authorities executed him by hanging, drawing, and quartering on July 12, 1598. Two Catholics who retrieved his dismembered remains from poles received long prison terms.
Before Jones died he helped St. John Rigby (circa 1570-1600) return to the Roman Catholic Church. Rigby worked in an Anglican household and attended Anglican services despite his Roman Catholic background. Then he reverted to Roman Catholicism and refused to deny this fact. So he met the same fate as did Jones on June 21, 1600.
These examples testify convincingly to the faith for which these men died and to the sin of killing people over theological disagreements. Their executions were legal–they were not crimes–but they were immoral.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
MAY 20, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR C
THE FEAST OF SAINT ALCUIN OF YORK, DEACON AND ABBOT
THE FEAST OF SAINT HELENA, MOTHER OF EMPEROR CONSTANTINE I
Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs
Saints John Jones and John Rigby
triumphed over suffering and were faithful even to death:
Grant us, who now remember them in thanksgiving,
to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,
that we may receive with them the crown of life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12
Psalm 116 or 116:1-8
—Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 714