Who is St. Boniface?.... Who is St. Boniface?

 This great apostle of Germany was born in Wessex, England, between the years 672 and 680. When he was small, some missionaries stayed a while at his home. They told the boy all about their work. They were so happy and excited about bringing the Good News to people. Boniface decided in his heart that he would be just like them when he grew up. While still young, he went to a monastery school to be educated. Some years later, he became a popular teacher. When he was ordained a priest, he was a powerful preacher because he was so full of enthusiasm.

Boniface wanted everyone to have the opportunity to know about and love Jesus and his Church. He became a missionary to the western part of Germany. Pope St. Gregory 11 blessed him and sent him on this mission. Boniface preached with great success. He was gentle and kind. He was also a man of great courage. Once, to prove that the pagan gods were false, he did a bold thing. There was a certain huge oak tree called the "oak of Thor." The pagans believed it was sacred to their gods. In front of a large crowd, Boniface struck the tree a few times with an axe. The big tree crashed. The pagans realized that their gods were false when nothing happened to Boniface.

Everywhere he preached, new members were received into the Church. In his lifetime, Boniface converted great numbers of people. In place of the statues of the pagan gods, he built churches and monasteries. In 732, the new pope, St. Gregory III made Boniface an archbishop and gave him another mission territory. It was Bavaria, which is part of Germany today. He and some companions went there to teach the people about the true faith. Here, too, the holy bishop was very successful.

Then, one day, he was preparing to confirm some converts. A group of fierce warriors swooped down on the camp. Boniface would not let his companions defend him. "Our Lord tells us to repay evil with good," he said. "The day has come for which I have waited so long. Trust in God and he will save us." The Barbarians attacked, and Boniface was the first one killed. He died a martyr on June 5, 754. He was buried at the famous monastery he had started at Fulda, Germany. This was what he wanted.

Still today large numbers of people do not know the true God. We can pray for them. If God inspires us to become missionaries, we can ask St. Boniface to help us follow the call.

 

 
Some sites on the Web
 with information about St. Boniface
 
Label.jpg (40949 bytes)Something tells me
 the Webmaster is an Irishman....
Read about another St. Boniface, this one Irish, (or maybe English, St. Boniface Curitan) who has a fair in Scotland named after him (St Boniface Fair) and even has a beer with his picture on the label brewed in the Isle of Wight!
 
Did St. Boniface invent the Christmas Tree? Did St. Boniface invent the The Christmas Tree? The specific origin of the Christmas tree is lost in the dim and distant past. It may have started when pre-Christian rituals involving evergreen boughs were merged with Christian celebrations and beliefs.

It seems to be generally recognized that the people who lived in what is now Germany were the first to develop the tradition of the Christmas tree.
One tradition is that about 1000 years ago, in Germany, St Boniface came across a group of pagans worshipping under and oak tree. He was so annoyed that he cut down the tree. To his surprise he found that a fir tree grew in its place and the fir was thereafter associated with the primacy of the Christian faith.

Martin Luther is credited with first placing candles on the Christmas tree. After his banishment from the Catholic church he spent a great deal of time walking through the  forests of evergreen conifers thinking through his beliefs. The candles are said to have represented the stars which were seen by him through the trees

The custom of a decorated Christmas tree appears to have started in Britain in the early middle nineteenth century. Albert, the Prince Consort to Queen Victoria, brought the tradition from his homeland of Saxe Coburg which is now part of Germany. The example set by royalty became a general fashion.

From The Royal Forestry Society

 
Some Sister Parishes

 

 
St Boniface(detail) St Boniface(detail) St Boniface(sideview) St Boniface(sideview)
Views of a sculpture of St. Boniface by Anja - Maria Longenecker  commissioned in Germany.
 
 
 

 

8kb jpg illustration St Boniface(detail)  
Many images of Boniface, including those from our parish, left, depict the tradition that he held a book of the Gospels to his chest as he was stabbed.
 
St. Boniface's tomb is located in the Cathedral at Fulda, Germany

14kb jpg photograph of Pope John Paul II at the tomb of Saint Boniface

16kb jpg photograph of the bas relief on the tomb of Saint Boniface
 

 12kb jpg German holy card

Return to Top of Page

This page has been visited Hit Counter times since July 20, 2001.