BLESSED CYPRIAN MICHAEL IWENE TANSI
Iwene Tansi was born in 1903 in Igboezunu Aguleri, in the Archdiocese of Onitsha in Nigeria. He was baptized in 1912 in the Christian village of Aguleri and given the name Michael. Ordained priest in 1937, he served with great zeal in the parish ministry, dedicating himself especially to teaching prayer and to making young people and the families aware of Christian moral values. In 1950 he entered the Trappist monastery of Mount Saint Bernard in England and made solemn monastic profession there on 8 December 1956 under the name of Father Cyprian. A model of humility, fidelity, obedience and prayer, he was preparing to return to his native land to introduce there the monastic life when the Lord called him to a heavenly reward on 20 January 1964.
(From the Common of Holy Men)
OFFICE OF READINGS
From Homily of Pope John Paul II at the Mass of Beatification
The road to the Father’s house
The life and witness of Father Tansi is an inspiration to everyone in the Nigeria that he loved so much. He was first of all a man of God: his long hours before the Blessed Sacrament filled his heart with generous and courageous love. Those who knew him testify to his great love of God. Everyone who met him was touched by his personal goodness. He was then a man of the people: he always put others before himself, and was especially attentive to the pastoral needs of families. He took great care to prepare couples well for Holy Matrimony and preached the importance of chastity. He tried in every way to promote the dignity of women. In a special way, the education of young people was precious to him. Even when he was sent by Bishop Heerey to the Cistercian Abbey of Mount Saint Bernard in England to pursue his monastic vocation, with the hope of bringing the contemplative life back to Africa, he did not forget his own people.
He did not fail to offer prayers and sacrifices for their continuing sanctification. Father Tansi knew that there is something of the Prodigal Son in every human being. He knew that all men and women are tempted to separate themselves from God in order to lead their own independent and selfish existence. He knew that they are then disappointed by the emptiness of the illusion which had fascinated them, and that they eventually find in the depths of their heart the road leading back to the Father’s house (cf. Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 5). He encouraged people to confess their sins and receive God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He implored them to forgive one another as God forgives us, and to hand on the gift of reconciliation, making it a reality at every level of Nigerian life. Father Tansi tried to imitate the father in the parable: he was always available for those searching for reconciliation. He spread the joy of restored communion with God. He inspired people to welcome the peace of Christ, and encouraged them to nourish the life of grace with the word of God and with Holy Communion.
Responsorial (Eph 5: 8-9; Mt 5: 14, 16)
R/. You are the light of the world, walk as children of light. *For the fruit of the light is all that is good and right and true.
V/. You are the light of the world, let your light shine forth. *For the fruit..
Deus, qui in beato Cypriano Michaele, presbytero
apostolicum pastoris zelum
monachi conversationi iunxisti,
concede nobis, eius intercessione,
ut in oratione perseverantes,
regni tui adventum indesinenter quaeramus.
O God, in the priest Blessed Cyprian Michael
you joined the apostolic zeal of a pastor
to the way of life of a monk;
grant us by his intercession,
that persevering in prayer,
we seek untiringly the coming of your kingdom.
Through our Lord…