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ottoOn July 2, the Church celebrates the life and work of St Otto. He was born in 1060 in Swabia, and died on 30 June 1139. He was the Bishop of Bamberg, an indefatigable evengeliser, and the apostle of the Pomeranians.

He was born of noble rank and ordained a priest sometime before the age of 30. He joined the service of Emperor Henry IV in 1090 and became his chancellor in 1101. He served Henry IV and his successor, Henry V, loyally, but he disapproved of the latter’s disgraceful treatment of Pope Paschal.

Otto was consecrated a bishop on 13 May 1106, and set to work founding new monasteries, reforming existing ones, building schools and churches, and completing the construction of the cathedral. He lived a poor and simple life, and was called the “Father of the monks” for the concern he showed toward religious orders.

In 1122 Otto was commissioned by the Polish Duke Boleslaw III to convert Pomerania to Christianity, and he set about this mission in 1124. He traveled across Pomerania twice, and won over the people with his holiness, quiet generosity, and gentle, inspiring sermons.

The conversion of Pomerania was his greatest apostolic work. He baptised over 22,000 people and established 11 churches. Many miracles were attributed to him throughout his two journeys, and many more after his death. – CNA

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