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St Henry (13 July)

When I was confirmed thirty years ago, I chose the name ‘Henry’ - largely because it was my grandfather’s name and also had plenty of historic connotations. I had to research the saint, of course, and got to know the St Henry that we celebrate today.

He lived in the 1000s - around the same time as our royal saint, Edward the Confessor - and in 1014 was crowned Holy Roman Emperor. This made him one of the most powerful men of his times, much involved in politics and diplomacy. He fought campaigns in Poland, Hungary, Germany and Italy. he was involved in many controversies.

The reason we celebrate today is that, like all good leaders, he realised that the world did not revolve around him and that he came under another King, someone more powerful. He made sure he made time for God, along with his wife, Cunnergund, who is also venerated as a saint. He spent time in prayer, he was generous to the poor, he supported the Church and built a fine cathedral at Bamberg (which I visited some years ago).

He reminds us that, no matter who we are and how busy we think we are, we must make space for the Lord, in whom alone we have riches and power.

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