Lifelong CatechesisForming Catholic identity across generations
For a large part of the liturgical year, we devote ourselves to listening to the mystery of Christ in all its aspects unfolded as we seek God's truth and understanding.
Wenceslaus, King and Martyr, c. 907-935
Wenceslaus was born into the royal family of Bohemia (Czech Republic in modern times), and was raised a Christian by his grandmother, St. Ludmilla. At this time, Christianity was not widespread throughout the land; indeed, most of the nobility were very much against it.
In 925, he assumed the throne shortly after the death of his father. Wenceslaus announced that he would support God's law and endeavor to rule with justice and mercy. The severity with which he punished oppression by the nobility as well as the friendly relations which he established with Germany raised bitter opposition. He was betrayed by his brother, Boleslaus, and other nobles and was assassinated in 935 while on his way to attend Mass.
While the carol which we sing at Christmas time honors his name, there is no evidence to support the particular deeds with which he is credited in that tune. In fact the carol was written in England sometime during the seventeenth century.
St. Wenceslaus is the patron saint of Czech Republic. An optional memorial on September 28 honors him.
Wenceslaus’ message today: Being a just and merciful ruler has never been an easy task—not when surrounded by the sycophants who are attracted to those in positions of leadership. Nevertheless, being just and merciful is exactly what our Christian beliefs call on us to do.