Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury

19 May -- Lesser Festival -- Religious -- White

Dunstan was born near Glastonbury around 910 into a noble family. He received a good education and spent time at the court of the King of Wessex. A saintly uncle urged him to enter the monastic life; he delayed, but followed the advice in time, on recovering from an illness. Returning to Glastonbury, Dunstan lived as a monk, devoting his work time to creative pursuits: illuminating, music, and metalwork. In 943 the new king made him abbot, and this launched a great revival of monastic life in England. Starting with Glastonbury, Dunstan restored discipline to several monasteries and promoted study and teaching. Under two later kings, he rose to political and ecclesiastical eminence, being chief minister and Archbishop of Canterbury under King Edgar. This enabled him and his followers to extend his reforms to the whole English Church. In 970 he fell from political favour but continued as archbishop, preaching and teaching. He died in 988.


Almighty God,
who raised up Dunstan to be a true shepherd of the flock,
a restorer of monastic life
and a faithful counsellor to those in authority:
give to all pastors the same gifts of your Holy Spirit
that they may be true servants of Christ
   and of all his people;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the book of the Exodus.

The Lord spoke to Moses: See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft.

This is the word of the Lord.         Exodus 31. 1-5

Responsorial Psalm

RBehold the faithful and wise servant,
[whom his master has put in charge of his household].
The king rejoices in your strength, O Lord;
how greatly he exults in your victory!
You have given him his heart's desire;
you have not denied him the request of his lips. R

For you meet him with blessings of prosperity,
and set a crown of fine gold upon his head.
He asked you for life and you gave it to him;
length of days, for ever and ever. R

His honour is great, because of your victory;
splendour and majesty have you bestowed upon him.
For you will give him everlasting felicity
and will make him glad with the joy of your presence. R

For the king puts his trust in the Lord;
because of the loving-kindness of the Most High, he will not fall.
Be exalted, O Lord, in your might;
we will sing and praise your power. R         From Psalm 21

A reading from the Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

We know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling -- if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord -- for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

This is the word of the Lord.         2 Corinthians 5. 1-10

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

Jesus said to his disciples, "Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other servants their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessèd is that servant whom his master will find at work when he arrives."

This is the gospel of Christ.         Matthew 24. 42-46

Post Communion

God, shepherd of your people,
whose servant Dunstan revealed the loving service of Christ
   in his ministry as a pastor of your people:
by this eucharist in which we share
awaken within us the love of Christ
and keep us faithful to our Christian calling;
through him who laid down his life for us,
but is alive and reigns with you,
now and for ever.