THE FEAST DAY OF WILLIBRORD, ARCHBISHOP OF UTRECHT - DR. GIL HAAS, SAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
Sunday, November 7 is the feast of Willibrord, Archbishop of Utrecht, Missionary to Frisia (Holland). Willibroard’s father, Wilgils, following his conversion to Christianity, entrusted his son as an oblate to an abbey. Willibrord spent his 20’s in an Irish abbey, the center of European learning in the 7th century. He was later sent to the pagan Frisians on the North Sea coast. He travelled to Rome twice, being the only Anglo-Saxon to take such a journey. During his second visit to Rome, he was consecrated bishop of the Frisians. Willibrord’s wells, alongside his missionary routes, were visited by the people to seek the healing of nervous diseases, and numerous miracles have been attributed to him. On one occasion, the transport of his relics was celebrated by “5 bishops, 2 Swiss guards, 16 standard-bearers, 3045 singers, 136 priests, 426 musicians, 15,085 dancers, and 2,032 players”. A dancing procession continues to be held annually in Echternach on Whit Tuesday and attracts thousands of participants and spectators to honor a saint who is often called the apostle to the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg). Willibroard died on November 7, 739 at the age of 81.
~Dr. Gil Haas, Saint Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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