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ST CALLISTUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST CALLISTUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST CALLISTUS I, POPE AND MARTYR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 14

Callistus, a Roman, ruled the Church when Antoninus Heliogabulus was emperor. He instituted the four periods of the year which are known as Ember Days – days on which, in accordance with the apostolic tradition, fasting was to be observed by all. He built the basilica called St Mary across-the-Tiber and enlarged the ancient cemetery on the Appian Way, in which are buried many holy Priests and martyrs. For this reason, it is called the cemetery of Callistus. He reigned five years, one month and twelve days.

HE WAS CROWNED WITH MARTYRDOM

After a long imprisonment, during which he was starved and frequently scourged, he was thrown head-downward into a well. He was crowned with martyrdom under the Emperor Alexander and was buried in the cemetery of Calepodius on the Aurelian Way, at the third mile-stone from the City, on the day before the Ides of October [222]. Afterwards his body was carried to the basilica of St Mary across-the-Tiber, and was placed under the high altar, where it is venerated with the greatest devotion.

From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

PRAYER:

God of mercy,

hear the prayers of your people

that we may be helped by Saint Callistus,

whose martyrdom we celebrate with joy.

Through our Lord…

 

 

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ST EPHREM THE SYRIAN

ST EPHREM THE SYRIAN

ST EPHREM THE SYRIAN; DEACON, CONFESSOR, AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH – MEMORIAL: JUNE 9

Ephrem was of Syrian descent and the son of a citizen of Nisibis. While yet a young man, he went to the holy Bishop James, by whom he was baptised. In a short while, he made such progress in holiness and learning that he was appointed teacher of a flourishing school at Nisibis, a Mesopotamian city. He was ordained deacon of the Church of Edessa, and refusing the priesthood out of humility, he was conspicuous with the splendour of every virtue and strove to acquire piety and religion by professing true wisdom.

HE WAS CONSPICUOUS WITH THE SPLENDOUR OF EVERY VIRTUE

His works, taken as a whole, are so infused with the bright light of his learning, that this holy man, even while yet living, was held in great honour and even considered a Doctor of the Church. He was noted, above all, for his great and tender devotion to the Immaculate Virgin. Full of merits, he died at Edessa in Mesopotamia on the fourteenth of the Calends of July [373], in the reign of Valens. Pope Benedict XV declared him, by a decree of the Congregation of Sacred Rites, to be a Doctor of the Universal Church.

PRAYER:

O God, who willed to enlighten your Church by the wondrous learning and glorious merits of the life of blessed Ephrem, your Confessor and Doctor, we humbly pray you that, by his pleading, you will shield her with your lasting power against the snares of error and evil. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 [bold headings added]

 

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SS. NAZARIUS AND CELSUS, MARTYRS

SS. NAZARIUS AND CELSUS, MARTYRS

SS. NAZARIUS AND CELSUS, MARTYRS – MEMORIAL: JULY 28

Nazarius, baptised by the Pope St Linus, when he went into Gail, there baptised a boy named Celsus, whom he had first instructed in Christian doctrine. Afterwards they both went to Milan, where they spread the faith of Christ and, most courageously confessing Christ to be God, were beheaded by the prefect Anolinus. Their bodies were discovered by St Ambrose.

VICTOR I, POPE AND MARTYR

On the same day is commemorated Pope St Victor, who governed the Church in the time of the Emperor Severus. He confuted Theodotus Coriarius and wrote on the question of Easter. Crowned with martyrdom, he was buried on Vatican hill on the fifth day before the Calends of August.

INNOCENT I, POPE AND CONFESSOR 

On the same day there is recalled Pope St Innocent who, after condemning Pelagius and Caelestius, issued a decree against their heresy. His body was buried in the cemetery called “Ad Ursum pileatum” (Bear with the Cap).

PRAYER:

May the martyrdom of your Saints, Nazarius, Celsus, Victor and Innocent, give us courage, O Lord, and may it give us a help to counter-balance our weakness. Through our Lord…

From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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ST MARCELLUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST MARCELLUS I, POPE AND MARTYR

ST MARCELLUS I, POPE AND MARTYR – MEMORIAL: JANUARY 16

Marcellus, a Roman, was pope from the reign of Constantinus and Galerius to that of Maxentius. It was by his counsel that the Roman matron Lucina made the Church of God the heir of her property. On account of the increase in the number of the faithful, he established new titular churches in the city and rearranged their district boundaries. For this reason Maxentius was greatly angered and threatened severe punishments unless Marcellus gave up his pontifical office and offered sacrifice to the idols.

MAXENTIUS THREATENED SEVERE PUNISHMENTS

The pontiff strongly resisted him and was sent to a menagerie to take care of the beasts, which were kept at the public expense. Marcellus spent nine months there, visiting by his letters the churches he could not visit in person. From there he was rescued by some of his clerics and was given refuge by blessed Lucina, in whose house he dedicated a church, where he preached to the faithful.

HE WAS GIVEN REFUGE BY BLESSED LUCINA 

Then Maxentius ordered the wild beasts to be brought from the menagerie into the church and to be guarded by Marcellus. Sickened by the foul atmosphere and worn out by many hardships, he fell asleep in the Lord [A. D. 309]. His body was buried by blessed Lucina in the cemetery of Priscilla on the Salarian Way, on the sixteenth day of January.

PRAYER:

Eternal Shepherd, look with favour upon your flock. Safeguard and shelter it forevermore through blessed Marcellus, your Martyr and Supreme Pontiff, whom you constituted Shepherd of the whole Church. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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SERMON FROM THE AQUEDUCT

SERMON FROM THE AQUEDUCT

The word was made flesh and now dwells among us. He dwells in our memory, he dwells in our thoughts. He comes down even to our imagination.

“How?” you ask. By lying in a manner, by nestling at his mother’s breast, preaching on the mountain, praying throughout the night, hanging on the Cross, growing pallid in death, free among the dead, triumphant in hell. He does it by rising on the third day, by showing the Apostles the print of the nails, the marks of his victory, and finally by ascending before their very eyes into the mysterious heights of the heaven. Of which of these can we not think truly, lovingly, piously, holily?

Of whichever one I think, I think of God; and he is my God through them all. I call it wisdom to meditate upon them, I judge it prudent to recall the memory of their sweetness. From such seeds the priestly rod put forth buds; Mary, drawing their nurture from celestial depths, brought forth the flowers. She who received the Word from the heart of the Father himself, was on a supernal plane, higher even than the angels.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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ST JEROME, CONFESSOR AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

ST JEROME, CONFESSOR AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

ST JEROME, CONFESSOR AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH – MEMORIAL: SEPTEMBER 30

Jerome was born in Strido in Dalmatia. As a youth, he was baptised at Rome and was educated in the liberal arts by Donatus and other very learned men. From a religious motive he travelled through all of Palestine. Then he retired into the vast desert of Syria. There he spent four years reading the divinely inspired books and meditating upon the blessedness of heavenly things.

HE MEDITATED UPON THE BLESSEDNESS OF HEAVENLY THINGS

After being ordained a priest by Paulinus, Bishop of Antioch, he returned to Palestine, to Bethlehem, to be close by the Crib of Christ the Lord. Here he drew up for himself a holy rule and overcame the snares of the devil by pious works and constant reading and writing. From all over the world he was called upon as an inspired authority to settle questions about the interpretation of Sacred Scripture.

AN EXPERT IN THE INTERPRETATION OF SACRED SCRIPTURE 

Pope Damasus and St Augustine consulted him often about very difficult passages of Scripture because of his singular knowledge and understanding not only of the Latin and Greek languages, but also of Hebrew and Chaldaic. He translated the Old Testament from the Hebrew. At the command of Pope Damasus, he made a faithful translation of the New Testament from the Greek and also wrote commentaries on many parts of Scripture. In his extremely old age, he passed [A. D. 420]. He was buried in Bethlehem, and was later transferred to Rome and entombed in the basilica of St Mary Major.

PRAYER:

O God, who graciously gave your Church blessed Jerome, your Confessor and peerless teacher, to explain the Holy Scriptures, grant, we beseech you, that, with the help of his merits and by your assistance, we may be able to put into practice what he has taught us by his life and works. Through our Lord.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 [bold headings added]

 

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ST CLEMENT I – THE POPE WHO WAS MARTYRED BY BEING DROWNED

ST CLEMENT I – THE POPE WHO WAS MARTYRED BY BEING DROWNED

While holy Clement was praying, there appeared to him the Lamb of God, with the river of water of life, whose streams make glad the city of God, proceeding from under his feet.

ST CLEMENT, POPE AND MARTYR – FEAST DAY: NOVEMBER 23 (DIED A.D.100)

Clement, a Roman, was a disciple of blessed Simon Peter. He allotted the seven districts of the City to seven notaries, one to each, assigning them the task of diligently investigating and recording the sufferings and deeds of the Martyrs.

He very carefully wrote many books himself, in the spirit of holy zeal and in order to explain the Christian religion. But when, by his teaching and holiness, he converted great numbers to the faith of Christ, the Emperor Trajan exiled him across the Black Sea to the solitude of the city of Cherson, in which he found two thousand Christians who had likewise been condemned by Trajan.

When he there converted many infidels to the faith of Christ, by order of the same emperor an anchor was tied about his neck and he was cast into the sea, and thus he was crowned with martyrdom. His body was brought back to Rome by Pope Nicholas I and was buried in honour in a church which had previously been dedicated in his name.

St Clement I, pray for us.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

 

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