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Friday, December 15, 2017
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Daily Saint


July 02: St. Otto

Otto lived in the twelfth century. He was born in Swabia, present-day Bavaria. He became a priest and was assigned to the service of Emperor Henry IV. Eventually, Father Otto acquired a high state office. He became Henry's chancellor. Otto tried to influence the emperor to act justly and to be moderate in his decisions. But Henry committed crimes and tried to cause division in the Church. He even appointed his own pope. Otto felt very bad and worked to help Henry reform. Henry IV took it upon himself to appoint Otto a bishop. Otto refused to be consecrated until he could go to Rome and receive the approval of the true pope, Paschal II. The pope did consecrate him. Bishop Otto became a great help to the people of Swabia, especially under Emperor Henry V. This emperor followed the ways of his father, Henry IV. But although he was harsh and severe, he respected Otto and often listened to his advice.

When King Boleslaus III of Poland conquered part of Pomerania, he asked Otto to go there. Pomerania was a province of Prussia in the Baltic area. The people were pagans. Bishop Otto welcomed the opportunity to bring them the Good News. In 1124, the bishop led a group of priests and catechists into Pomerania. Many people were instructed and baptized. Some say the number of conversions was over twenty thousand. Bishop Otto assigned priests to minister to the new Christians. He returned to his own country. After a while, some of the people of Pomerania began to return to their old pagan ways. Bishop Otto went back to Pomerania in 1128. He helped the people become fervent Christians again. He died on June 30, 1139, and was proclaimed a saint by Pope Clement III in 1189.

Reflection: Let us pray today for those in leadership who are faced with difficult situations.