Apostle of Frisia, Netherlands, a missionary archbishop. Saint Willibrord was born in Northumbria, England, circa 658, where he studied at Ripon monastery under St. Wilfrid and spent twelve years studying in Ireland at the abbey of Rathmelsigi (most likely Mellifont, County Louth) under Sts. Egbert and Wigbert.

After receiving ordination and extensive training in the field of the missions, he set out about 690 with a dozen companions for Frisia, or Friesland. In 693, he went to Rome to seek papal approval for his labors, Pope Sergius I (r. 687-701) gave his full approbation and, during Willibrord’s second Roman visit, the pontiff consecrated him archbishop to the Frisians, in 696, with his see at Utrecht. In his work, Willibrord also received much support and encouragement from the Frankish leader; Pepin of Heristal (r. 687-714).

Willibrord founded the monastery of Echternach, Luxembourg, to serve as a center of missionary endeavors, and extended the efforts of missionaries into Denmark and Upper Friesland. He faced chronic dangers from outraged pagans, including one who nearly murdered him after he tore down a pagan idol. In 714, Duke Radbod reclaimed the extensive territories acquired by Pepin, and Willilbrord watched all of the progress he had made be virtually undone. After Radbod’s death, Willibrord started over with great enthusiasm, receiving invaluable assistance, from St. Boniface. Willibrord died on retreat at Echternach on November 7. For his efforts, he is called the Apostle of the Frisians.

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  1. O God, the Saviour of all,
    who sent Thy bishop Willibrord as a pilgrim for Christ
    to proclaim the Gospel to many peoples
    and confirm them in their faith,
    grant us, we beseech you,
    so to witness to Thy steadfast love by word and deed
    that Thy Church may flourish and wax strong in holiness.
    Through Christ our Lord.

  2. Matthew 8:24-26
    24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

    Saints Willibrord and Boniface, pray for us. Grant us patience and faith while we await Christ’s response to this current pagan crisis, knowing that our own Gethsemane and Good Friday must precede Easter Sunday. Darkness and chaos before light and calm. Betrayal reveals itself inevitably. Lord God the Father Almighty, be consoled as fallen angels flee when divine light blinds them. Holy Spirit, reveal all concealed hoaxes, fraud, instigated turmoil, etc. Bring justice first and mercy later. Amen


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