Martyrs (d. Third Century)
+ Cornelius was elected bishop of Rome in 251. As pope, he fought against various heresies and, with the help of the bishop Cyprian, he also worked to enforce the papal authority.
+ Driven into exile by the Emperor Gallus, Cornelius died in 253. His body was later returned to Rome and buried in the Cemetery of St. Callistus.
+ Cyprian was born to pagan parents in Carthage (North Africa) around the year 210.
+ After his conversion to Christianity, Cyprian was ordained and became bishop of Carthage in 249. Through his writings and pastoral care, Cyprian guided his flock through difficult times.
+ Cyprian was martyred during the persecution of the emperor Valerius, in the year 258.
+ These two martyrs have been honored with a common feast for several centuries and their names are included in the Roman Canon (the First Eucharistic Prayer).
+ Pope Saint Cornelius is invoked as a patron of those suffering from earaches, fevers, and those with epilepsy. Saint Cyprian is honored as the patron of Algeria and all of North Africa.
For prayer and reflection
We hold this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained;
perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.—2 Corinthians 4:7-10
On this day we also remember the deacon Saint Abundantius of Rome who was killed around 304 with other Roman martyrs for his refusal to deny Christ during the persecutions of Diocletian.
God our Father, in Saints Cornelius and Cyprian you have given your people an inspiring example of dedication to the pastoral ministry and constant witness to Christ in their suffering. May their prayers and faith give us courage to work for the unity of your Church. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.