St Ambrose

Fr Paul reads today from the Gospel of Luke (5: 17-26) in which Jesus heals the paralytic. After the Gospel, Fr Paul shares a little about the life of St Ambrose whose memorial we celebrate today.

Ambrose was born in what is now Germany around 338 and he was born to a Roman family. He studied in Rome and in 372 he was made Prefect of Liguria and Aemillia, whose capital at the time was Milan.

In 374, Milan needed a new bishop and Ambrose tried to pacify a conflict between two groups about who the new bishop should be. Interestingly, the people turned on him and demanded that he be the new bishop despite him being a layman and being unbaptised. He was baptised, ordained and installed as a bishop all in the same week in December.

He gave his money to the poor, his land to the church and he began to study theology. Ambrose is noted as being a true shepherd, a teacher. He was unimpressed by status. He defended the rights of the church and wrote a number of hymns, which we still use to this day. Ambrose was a key figure in the conversion of St Augustine. He died in 397.

As we celebrate his life today, Fr Paul says, we ask St Ambrose to pray for us.