Martyr (ca. 284)
+ According to ancient traditions, Sebastian was born and educated in Milan.
+ Sebastian is said to have entered the Roman army around the year 283 so that he could offer assistance to those Christians being persecuted for their faith in Jesus.
+ Although he had concealed his own Christian faith, he was eventually found out and denounced before the emperor. Condemned to be shot to death with arrows, Sebastian survived the ordeal and was nursed back to health by a local Christian woman.
+ Sebastian presented himself to the emperor and was subsequently martyred around the year 284. His body was enshrined in the catacombs and he is honored as the patron saint of athletes, soldiers, and physicians.
On this day, the Church also celebrates the commemoration of Pope Saint Fabian, who served as bishop of Rome from 236 to 250. Fabian is credited with sending Saint Denis, Saint Martial, and other missionaries into Gaul, for expanding the catacombs (the burial places for Roman Christians), and for insuring more accurate records were kept of those Christians who died as martyrs. Saint Cyprian of Carthage praised Fabian as having been an “incomparable man.” This holy pope died as a martyr in 250.
“If there are many persecutions, there are many testings; where there are many crowns of victory, there are many trials of strength. It is then to your advantage if there are many persecutors; among many persecutions you may more easily find a path to victory.”—Saint Ambrose of Milan
Grant us, we pray, O Lord, a spirit of fortitude,
so that, taught by the glorious example
of your Martyr Saint Sebastian,
we may learn to obey you rather than men.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.