Sub-Saharan Africa, 28 September, 2023 / 11:15 am (ACI Africa).
On Sept. 28, the Catholic Church honors Saint Wenceslaus, a Central European ruler who died at the hands of his brother while seeking to strengthen the Catholic faith in his native Bohemia.
During his 2009 visit to the Czech Republic, Pope Benedict XVI called the country's patron saint “a martyr for Christ” who “had the courage to prefer the kingdom of heaven to the enticement of worldly power.”
St. Wenceslaus was born around the year 903. His father Duke Wratislaw was a Catholic, but his mother Princess Dragomir practiced the native pagan religion. She would later arrange the murders of both Wenceslaus and his grandmother Ludmilla, who is also a canonized saint.
During his youth, Wenceslaus received a strong religious education from Ludmilla, in addition to the good example of his father. He maintained a virtuous manner of living while attending college near Prague, making significant progress both academically and spiritually. But with the death of his father Wratislaw, the devout young nobleman faced a spiritual and political crisis.
His mother Dragomir, who had never accepted the Catholic faith, turned against it entirely. She seized her husband's death as a chance to destroy the religion his parents had received from Sts. Cyril and Methodius, through methods that included purging Catholics from public office, closing churches, and preventing all teaching of the faith.