Today is also the Optional Memoria of St Alban, Protomartyr of England.

St Bede, the Venerable, tells us: ‘Alban, being yet a pagan, … gave entertainment in his house to a certain clergyman, flying from the persecutors. This man he observed to be engaged in continual prayer and watching day and night; when on a sudden the Divine grace shining on him, he began to imitate the example of faith and piety which was set before him, and being gradually instructed by his wholesome admonitions, he cast off the darkness of idolatry, and became a Christian in all sincerity of heart. The aforesaid clergyman having been some days entertained by him, it came to the ears of the wicked prince, that this holy confessor of Christ, whose time of martyrdom had not yet come, was concealed at Alban’s house. Whereupon he sent some soldiers to make a strict search after him. When they came to the martyr’s house, St. Alban immediately presented himself to the soldiers, instead of his guest and master, in the habit or long coat which he wore, and was led bound before the judge. … Then said the judge, “Of what family or race are you?” – “What does it concern you,” answered Alban, “of what stock I am? If you desire to hear the truth of my religion be it known to you, that I am now a Christian, and bound by Christian duties.” – “I ask your name,” said the judge; “tell me it immediately.” – “I am called Alban by my parents,” replied he; “and I worship and adore the true and living God, who created all things.” … When the judge perceived that he was not to be overcome by tortures, or withdrawn from the exercise of the Christian religion, he ordered him to be put to death …’

Let us ask the prayers of Alban, our first martyr, and may God bless you this day.