Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 26: Saint Alfred the Great

St. Alfred the Great
Chester (England) Cathedral
Photo by Wolfgang Sauber

History

When Alfred was only 4 years old, he went to Rome with his dad, King Æthelwulf of Wessex (part of England). While he was there, Pope Leo the IV made Alfred his godson and anointed him king…which was surprising because Alfred had three older brothers. Alfred was a very good student. He loved to learn, and once he won a book of poetry by being the first of his brothers to memorize it. He and his parents probably thought that he would become a priest or even a bishop, but instead he had to become king after his father and three brothers died, one by one. King Alfred was a very smart and humble king. He came up with good plans to keep the Vikings from taking over his land, and he encouraged everybody to learn philosophy and theology. Alfred led by example, and he believed he was responsible for the welfare of the people who lived in his kingdom – both in this life and in the next.

Activity

Saint Alfred the Great knew how important it was for all Christians to know certain Latin texts and prayers. Today, make it a point to learn one of the Latin version of common Catholic prayers. Even small children can easily learn the Sign of the Cross in Latin. Older children could be ready for the Our Father or even the Nicene Creed. Here's a site where you can listen to prayers in Latin to help you learn them.

Saint Alfred the Great, pray for us!


More reading for parents: