St. Denis and Fr. Serdieu

1,755 years ago today, the missionary bishop of pagan Paris was beheaded on Montmartre during the persecution of Diocletian.

In Shakespeare’s Henry V, the king prays to St. Denis for help in speaking French. Considering Fr. Seridieu’s imminent arrival here,* we might want to do the same. St. Denis, ‘be our speed’ in giving Father a warm welcome and a good time with us.

Stunning statue of St. Denis in Virginia Museum of Fine Art
Stunning statue of Saint Denis in Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

…We pray. We say our Our Fathers. We pray the Holy Mass. We believe that the omnipotent Lord hears our prayers through Christ our High Priest.

And He cares. God’s heart is moved by our prayers. We do not waste our time or energy by praying. To the contrary, prayer is the most prudent of all deeds.

But we learn from the wisdom of the saints what we can legitimately pray for. St. Denis and his companions “disdained prosperity in this world.” I can’t legitimately pray a novena to get a Lexus.

No. We pray for mercy. We pray for the Kingdom of God to come. We pray that God’s will be done. We want to be happy, yes. But we know that our true happiness lies beyond our present view; it lies in an unknown realm. Most of us don’t know what life is like in Haiti. Fr. Serdieu can teach us a little bit about it. But what we don’t know about life in Haiti is nothing compared to what we don’t know about life in heaven. Life in Haiti is very close to our experience, compared to life in heaven.

The saints have reached that realm of our true happiness. They know all about it. And so they pray for us.

Be our speed, St. Denis! Be our speed, holy saints of God! Pray that we might receive the divine grace to step forward today with patient love and kindness.

* Pastor of our sister parish in Trianon, Haiti!

One thought on “St. Denis and Fr. Serdieu

  1. Father Mark,

    Ste. “Denny” (that’s how it’s pronounced, honest): now there’s a guy who really lost his head when he fell in love with Jesus Christ.

    A legend recorded in the 9th century recounts that Denis was beheaded on Montmartre and that his decapitated corpse carried his head to the area northeast of Paris where the Benedictine abbey of St. Denis was founded. [ ]. And, his name is taken from the Latin, Dionysius.

    In God we trust.



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