Name: St. Sebastian
Date: 20 January
Saint Sebastian was an officer in the Roman army, esteemed even by the pagans as a good soldier,and honored by the Church ever since as a champion of Jesus Christ. Born at Narbonne, Sebastiancame to Rome about the year 284 and entered the lists against the powers of evil. He found thetwin brothers Marcus and Marcellinus in prison for the faith, and when they were close to yieldingto the entreaties of their relatives, encouraged them to despise flesh and blood, and to die forChrist. God confirmed his words by miracles: light shone around him while he spoke; he cured thesick by his prayers; and in this divine strength he led multitudes to the faith, among them thePrefect of Rome, with his son Tiburtius.
He saw his disciples die before him, and one of them came back from heaven to tell him that hisown end was near. It was in a contest of fervor and charity that Saint Sebastian found theoccasion of martyrdom. The Governor-Prefect of Rome was converted to the faith and afterwardsretired to his estates in Campania, taking with him a great number of his fellow-converts to thisplace of safety. It was a question whether Polycarp the priest or Saint Sebastian shouldaccompany the neophytes. Each was eager to stay and face the danger at Rome; finally the Popedecided that the Roman church could not spare the services of Sebastian, who therefore remainedamid the perils in the city.
He continued to labor at his post of danger until he was betrayed by a false disciple. He was ledbefore Diocletian and, at the emperor’s command, pierced with arrows and left for dead. Godraised him up again, cured, and of his own accord he went before the emperor and conjured himto halt the persecution of the Church. Again sentenced, he was beaten to death by clubs, andcrowned his labors by the merit of a double martyrdom.