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And today we celebrate...

Monday, September 16
Saints Cornelius and Cyprian

Pope and Bishop named in the Roman Canon

CORNELIUS AND CYPRIAN
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Martyrs (d. Third Century)

Their story

+ 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

You cannot have God for your Father if you do not have the Church for your mother…. God is one and Christ is one, and his Church is one; one is the faith, and one is the people cemented together by harmony into the strong unity of a body.”—Saint Cyprian

Spiritual bonus

On this day we also honor the memory of Saint Ninian. The son of a Briton chieftain, he was born in Cumbria (Britain) and later studied in Rome under Pope Saint Damasus I. After being consecrated a bishop, he returned home and began a lifetime of missionary work in Scotland. Saint Ninian died around the year 432. He remains one of the great saints of the Scottish church and he is honored as the “Apostle of Northern Britain.”

Prayer

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.

Access our archives of daily saint biographies here
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