Thursday, September 28, 2006

Today is the Feast of St. Wenceslaus!

Wenceslaus, King and Martyr

Today the Church recalls St. Wenceslaus, the King (duke) of Bohemia who was renowned for his piety, building and endowing of churches, and spreading the Christian faith throughout his land.

He was murdered while on his way to church on the Feast of SS. Cosmas and Damian, by his brother, Boleslaus, who was aided and abetted by some of the nobles of Bohemia. Boleslaus was jealous of Wenceslaus and desired the throne for himself. He also resented his brother's Christian faith.

Boleslaus later repented of his deed and had Wenceslaus' remains translated to the Cathedral of St. Vitus in Prague.

Wenceslaus is the Patron of Bohemia, the Czech Republic, and brewers.

In Honor of St. Wenceslaus, Here is His Christmas Carol, In Latin

Rex Wenceslaus (Good King Wenceslaus)

Wenceslaus rex prospexit
Stephani ad festum,
agrum alte nivibus
gelidis congestum.
Vidit pauperem sibi
ligna colligentem,
qui sub luna splendida
sensit se frigentem.

"Huc, O puer, siste huc,
dicens, si cognoris,
quis sit, ubi habitet
pauper iste foris?"
"Ere, procul habitat,
subter illum montem,
silvae iuxta limitem,
ad Agnetis fontem."

"Affer carnem, vinum fer,
lignum afferamus,
ut nos illi pauperi
cenam praebeamus."
Rex et puer prodibant
animo aequali,
vento flante acriter
tempore brumali.

"Ere, nox fit atrior,
ventus vi augetur;
plus non possum, nescio cur,
valde cor terretur."
"Puer mi, vestigia tu
sequere libenter;
hiems saeva laedet te
minus violenter."

Puer regem sequitur,
unde nix discessit;
fervor glaebis inerat,
ubi sanctus pressit.
Hoc scitote, divites,
Christum qui amatis,
Vos beate eritis,
si quem vos beatis.

(For those of you who may have forgotten them, you can find the English lyrics online here.)

Later today, I'm going to visit my parish school and tell them about St. Wenceslaus.

I'm also going to sing the Latin song above for them. I suppose Rod Dreher and some of his commentors might think singing a silly Latin Christmas carol to schoolkids too "childish" and lacking in "maturity" for a priest, and will worry that I'm "detracting from the dignity of the Church".

Oh, well. I'm sure the kids will get a kick out of it.