Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Ss. Marcellinus, Peter, and Erasmus, Bishops & Martyrs
June 2nd
(744 or 778)
Breviary ex Guéranger

    Peter, an exorcist, was cast into a prison at Rome under the Emperor Diocletian by the judge Serenus for confessing the Christian faith. He there set free Paulina, the daughter of Artemius, the keeper of the prison, from an evil spirit that tormented her. Upon this, Artemius and his wife and all their house, with their neighbors who had come to see such a strange thing, were converted to Jesus Christ. Peter therefore brought them to the priest Marcellinus who baptized them all. When Serenus heard it, he called Peter and Marcellinus before him, and sharply rebuked them, adding to his bitter words threats and terrors, unless they would deny Christ. Marcellinus answered him with Christian boldness, whereupon he caused him to be buffeted, separated from Peter, and shut him up naked in a prison strewn with broken glass, without either food or light. Peter also he straitly confined. But when both of them were found to increase in faith and courage in their bonds, they were beheaded, unshaken in their testimony, and confessing Jesus Christ gloriously by their blood.

    In Campania the bishop Erasmus was, under the empire of Diocletian and Maximian, beaten with clubs and whips loaded with lead, and afterwards plunged into resin, sulphur, melted lead, boiling pitch, wax and oil. From all of this he came forth whole and sound: which wonder caused many to believe in Christ. He was remanded to prison and closely bound in iron fetters. But from these he was wondrously delivered by an angel. At last, being taken to Formi, Maximian caused him to be subjected to divers torments, being clad in a coat of red hot brass. But the power of God made him a conqueror in these things also. Afterwards, after having converted many to the Faith and confirmed them therein, he obtained the palm of a glorious martyrdom.


Saint Morand, Confessor
June 3rd
From Butler's Lives

    Morand was born of noble parents, and educated in the Cathedral school of Worms in the Rhine valley. He was ordained priest, made a pilgrimage to Compostela, and took the monastic habit from St. Hugh at Cluny. At the opening of the twelfth century, Count Frederick Pferz of lower Alsace restored the Church of Saint Christopher, built centuries before by his ancestors. The Count applied to St. Hugh for monks to serve the church and the neighborhood. Morand was sent, being fluent in both German and French. Morand had the true missionary spirit and the people heard him gladly. Without regard to the weather, he would travel about the countryside, trying to bring sinners to repentance. His sanctity and eloquence were enhanced by his reputation as a wonder worker. Count Frederick, after being cured by him of a facial paralysis, would do nothing without first consulting him. With the sign of the cross he extinguished a fire that threatened the monastery, and restored many sick persons to health. He died about the year 1115. Perhaps on account of a tradition that he fasted through Lent with only a bunch of grapes to sustain him, St. Morand is regarded as the patron of vine-growers.


Saint Willibald, Bishop
June 7th
From Butler's Lives

Willibald was born about the year 700 in the kingdom of the West Saxons; the son of Saint Richard; the brother of Saints Winebald and Walburga. At the age of three his life was despaired of in a violent sickness. His parents laid him before a great cross that was erected in a public place near their home, wowing that if he recovered they would consecrate him to divine service. He was immediately restored to health, and placed in the monastery of Waltham in Hampshire. Around 720 he left to accompany his father and brother to Rome, and ultimately to the Holy Land where Willibald spent some ten years of his life. He appears to have been the first recorded pilgrim from England to visit the holy places. On returning to Europe, he spent some time at Monte Cassino, until being directed by Pope Gregory III to join his kinsman Boniface in the mission to Thuringia. Boniface ordained him priest and directed his work in Eichstätt in Franconia. His labors were so successful that Boniface made him a bishop, with Eichstätt as his see. At Heidenheim he founded a double monastery, wherein his brother, Saint Winebald, ruled the monks, and his sister, Saint Walburga, ruled the nuns. This monastery became a center for missionary activity in the region. He was active in visiting all of the churches and towns within his diocese. He governed this flock for some forty-five years before being called home to heaven.


Saint William of York, Bishop
June 8th
Breviary ex Guéranger

    William, born of noble parents (Count Hubert being his father and Emma, sister of Saint Stephen, his mother), was remarkable from earliest youth for singularly great virtue. Growing in merit as he advanced in age, he was made treasurer of York: in which office he so behaved, as to be held by all as the father of the needy. Nor indeed did he esteem anything to be a more precious treasure than to despoil himself of his wealth, that he might more easily minister to the wants of those laboring under poverty.

    Thurstan the archbishop being dead, he was elected to succeed him, though some few of the chapter dissented. But Saint Bernard, on the ground of the election being faulty according to the sacred canons, appealed against him to the Apostolic See, and hence he was deposed by Eugenius III, a former pupil of Bernard. This was in no way taken as a grievance by this holy man, but rather as offering an excellent occasion of exercising humility and of serving God with greater freedom.

    Wherefore, fleeing worldly pomps, he withdrew into solitude, where he could attend solely to his own salvation undistracted by any care of exterior things. But at last, his adversaries being dead, he was again, with the full consent of all, elected archbishop and was confirmed by Pope Anastasius. Having entered upon his see, he was shortly afterwards attacked with sickness; and full of days as well as dear to God by reason of his almsdeeds, vigils, fasts, and good works, he passed out of this life on the sixth of the Ides of June, in the year of our salvation one thousand one hundred and fifty-four.


Mother of Divine Grace

Ss. Primus and Felicianus, Martyrs

June 9th
Breviary ex Guéranger

    Primus and Felician were brothers, and, being accused of professing the Christian religion during the persecution of Diocletian and Maximian, they were thrown into irons, which an angel broke, and they were delivered. But being soon led again before the prætor, and as they most earnestly clung to the Christian Faith, they were separated one from the other. The steadfastness of Felician was the first to be put to the test in divers ways. As those who strove to persuade him to impiety found it hopeless to gain anything from him by words, he was fastened hand and foot to a stake, and there left to hang for three days without either food or drink. The day after that, the prætor having called Primus before him, thus addressed him: "Do you see how much wiser thy brother is than thee? He has obeyed the emperors, and they have made him honorable. Thou hast only to follow his example to partake of his honors and favors." To which Primus replied: "I have been told by an angel of my brother's steadfastness. Would to God that seeing that I have the same will that my brother has, I would not be divided from him in the same martyrdom." These words raised the wrath of the prætor, and in addition to the torments which he had already inflicted on Primus, he ordered boiling lead to be poured into his mouth, and this in the presence of Felician. After that he had the two of them dragged into the amphitheater, and two lions let lose upon them in the presence of about twelve thousand people who were gathered together to see the show. The lions only fawned upon the knees of the saints, making friends with them, caressing them with their heads and their tails. This spectacle converted five hundred people of the assembled crowd, together with their households, to the Christian Faith. The prætor, moved to anger by what had passed, caused Primus and Felician to be beheaded with an axe.


Blesseds Diana, Cecilia, and Amata, Virgins
June 9th (in some places)
From Butler's Lives of the Saints (Vol. II)

    When St. Dominic sought a wider field for the activities of his order in Italy, he made special choice of Bologna because he foresaw that its famous university would provide him with the kind of recruits he desired. A suitable site for a priory was found, but strong opposition was encountered from the powerful d'Andalo family who owned the land. Eventually they yielded to the entreaties of Andalo's only daughter Diana, who from the first coming of the friars had listened eagerly to their preaching. St. Dominic privately received her vow of virginity, together with an understanding that she would enter the religious life as soon as possible. For some time she continued to live at home, rising very early for her devotions and practicing penance. She had anticipated being able to persuade her family to found a convent for Dominican nuns which she could enter, but when she broached the subject her father absolutely refused to consider it or allow her to become a religious. She then took the law into her own hands. On the pretext of paying them a visit she went to the Augustinian canonesses at Roxana and induced them to give her the veil.

    As soon as this became known, her family went in force to fetch her, so much violence being employed that one of her ribs was broken in the scuffle. She was taken home and kept in close confinement, but after she had recovered she managed to escape and return to Roxana. No further attempts seem to have been made to interfere with her. Indeed, Blessed Jordan of Saxony so completely won over Andalo and his sons that they helped him found a small convent for Dominican nuns; and there, in 1222, Diana and four companions were installed. As they were quite inexperienced in the religious life, four nuns were obtained from the convent of San Sisto in Rome. Two of these, Cecilia and Amata, are always associated with Diana: they were buried in her tomb, and were beatified with her in 1891.

    Nothing else is known of Amata, but Cecilia was a member of the noble Roman family of Cesarini and was a remarkable woman. When she was a girl of seventeen in the convent of Trastevere before its removal to San Sisto, she had been the first of the nuns to respond to St. Dominic's efforts to reform them, and she it was who persuaded the abbess and the other sisters to submit to his rule. Having been the first woman -- so, at least, it is said -- to receivve the Dominican habit, she was well fitted to govern the convent of St. Agnes at Bologna in its early days. Blessed Jordan had a special affection for the little community and kept up an active correspondence with Diana. Frequently in his letters he attributes the progress of the order to their prayers; his one apprehension is that they may be overtaxing their strength with their austerities. Blessed Diana died on January 9th, 1236, at about the age of thirty-five. Cecilia survived her by many years [until 1290] and as an old woman dictated her reminiscences of St. Dominic. They contain a simple and graphic pen portrait of the holy founder himself.


Saint Anthony of Padua, Confessor & Doctor
June 13th
Lesson iii

    Anthony came of good and devout parents in Lisbon in Portugal. As a young man he entered the institute of the Canons Regular, but, fired with desire for martyrdom, he changed to the Franciscan Order. He was sent to the Saracens, but was forced to return because of ill-health. On the return voyage, strong winds blew the ship off course to Sicily. Anthony was soon given Holy Orders and took up the work of preaching, in which he aroused so much admiration that he was called to interpret Sacred Scripture at Bologna and other places. He was put in charge of his brethren's studies, and was deservedly called "Ark of the Testament," and "Hammer of Heretics." After many travels he came, a year before his death, to Padua, where he left shining memories of his holiness. Famous for both merits and miracles, he fell asleep in the Lord on June 13th in the year of salvation 1231, at the age of thirty-six. He was declared a Doctor of the universal Church by Pope Pius XII.


Ss. Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, Martyrs
June 15th
Breviary ex Guéranger

    Vitus, while yet a child was baptized unknown to his father. When his father found this out, he used his best endeavors to dissuade his son from the Christian religion, but as he found him persistent in it, he handed him over to Valerian, the judge, to be whipped. But as he still remained as unshaken as before, he was given back to his father. But while his father was turning over in his mind to what severe discipline to subject him, Vitus, being warned by an angel, fled to another country in company with Modestus and Crescentia, who had brought him up. There he reached great praise for his holiness, so much so that his fame reached Diocletian. The emperor therefore sent for him to deliver his own child that was possessed by a devil. Vitus delivered him, but when the emperor found that with all his gifts he could not bring him to worship the gods, he had the ingratitude to cast him, together with Modestus and Crescentia into prison, binding them with fetters. But when they were found, in the prison, more faithful than ever to their confession, the emperor commanded them to be thrown into a great vessel of burning resin and pitch and melted lead. Therein they, like the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, sang praise to God; and upon that they were dragged out and cast to a lion; but the beast only lay down before them and licked their feet. Then the emperor, being filled with fury, more especially because he saw that the multitude who looked on were stirred up by the miracle, commanded Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia to be stretched upon a block and their limbs crushed so that their bones were broken. While they were dying, there came thunder, and lightnings, and earthquakes, so that the temples of the gods fell down, and many men were killed. Their remains were gathered up by a noble lady named Florentia, who, embalming them with spices, honorably buried them.


St. Germaine Cousin of Pibrac
June 15 (in some places)

    Germaine was a little crippled girl born in the remote French village of Pibrac in 1579. She was no Joan of Arc, nor Thérèse of Lisieux; she had never been heard of in her life-time beyond her own village and was a practical outcast there. She endured a wretched life as an unwanted child of the Cousin family. There was not even proof that she was entitled to the name Cousin. The wife of Laurent Cousin hated her and abused her shamefully. Some are of the opinion that she was Laurent's daughter. This seems scarcely credible as what father would allow his own child to be consigned to a stable and literally starved to death, particularly in the case of Laurent Cousin who was quite well to do. At any rate, Germaine was a frail, sickly child, afflicted with scrofula, a nauseous disease which caused abscesses about the neck. Her right arm was deformed and partially paralyzed. She was prey to every disease of the times due to the unsanitary conditions under which she lived. Laurent Cousin's wife mistreated Germaine. She was dressed in cast off rags and never given a pair of shoes. Her feet were frost-bitten in winter and bloody in summer as she led the Laurent flock to pasture and back. Germaine lived with the animals, had a mattress of hay and twigs in a corner of the barn. She was given little food and was often so hungry that she ate what the dogs and pigs left behind. She was never sent to school, merely instructed briefly in order to make her First Holy Communion. The girl was shunned by children of her own age and ignored by adults. Her only refuge was the church. There she heard Mass every morning.

    Just before she died in 1601 the people of Pibrac were astounded at a miraculous occurrence when a raging stream parted its flooded waters to permit her safe passage to the church. At other times heavenly music was heard emanating from the stable where she slept. The most celebrated incident in Germaine's life occurred shortly before her death. One wintry day the village people saw the stepmother pursuing Germaine as she drove her flock down the road. The woman was screaming loudly and she shrilly accused Germaine of having concealed in her apron some bread that she had stolen from the stepmother's home. Threatening to strike the girl with the club, she demanded that Germaine unfold her apron. The girl did so and fragrant flowers of a type unknown in the region cascaded to the snow-covered ground. On the night of her death two monks travelling from Toulouse lost their way in the forest and sought shelter for the night in the ruins of an ancient castle. At midnight they were awakened by heavenly music overhead, accompanied by a pathway of light, inhabited by white clothed forms. A tip of the luminous pathway rested over the barn in the distance. The forms again appeared, going this time towards heaven and were accompanied by another who was garlanded with flowers. It seemed the forms were escorting the newcomer. Upon reaching the village in the morning, the monks inquired if anyone had died during the night. Only a poor shepherd girl, they were told, Germaine Cousin had been found dead in a stable. Interest was enhanced when Germaine took on startling beauty after death. People flocked to the Cousin house to see her and departed calling her "a saint."

    In accordance with the custom of the day Germaine's body was interred in the village church, consigned to a grave under the flagstone floor of the church opposite the pulpit, without marker or inscription. Forty-one years later, when a relative named Edualde died after requesting to be interred in the Cousin place of burial, the grave diggers found a beautiful girl beneath the flagstone. The body was in a state of perfect preservation, as soft and pliable as a living person. The older residents of Pibrac identified the corpse as that of Germaine Cousin. The scrofula scars were evident and there was the deformed arm. The body was placed in an upright position in the front of the church for all to see. The sight disgusted Marie de Clement Gras, wife of the nobleman Frederick de Beauregard. In deference to her feelings the body was removed from the church. On the following day Madame de Beauregard and her infant son were at the point of death. Medical science stood impotent. "Perhaps it is wrong of you to object to the body of that saintly girl, Germaine," Frederick suggested to Marie. She agreed this might be so and humbly begged pardon of Germaine in prayer. That night Germaine appeared to her in a circle of light and assured her that she had been forgiven. In the morning mother and child were well and healthy. In gratitude Madame de Beauregard provided a lead coffin for the body of Germaine and requested that it be returned to the church. This was the first of a series of astonishing miracles through the succeeding 17 years, miracles which brought to Pibrac Monsignor John duFour, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Toulouse. This investigator arrived on September 22, 1661. He found Germaine's body still prefect sixty years after her death! Germaine's canonization, however, was to be as painfully acquired as her life had been. Her cause was plagued with obstacles.

    In the year 1700 a voluminous file containing all the official documents and testimony taken, was entrusted by Archbishop Colbert of Toulouse to a Capuchin monk, Father Constantin de Figeac, who was on his way to Rome. The file, however, was not immediately delivered to the Vatican, for immediately on arrival in Rome Father Constantin was sent to Mesopotamia. He left instructions that the precious papers were to be delivered to the Congregation of Rites. The papers were mislaid, forgotten. The French Revolution became another form of torture, yet at the same time, the proceedings added evidence to the cause of Germaine. The revolutionaries of Toulouse decided that "superstition" should be stamped out of Pibrac. A tinsmith named Toulza was sent with three assistants to destroy the body of Germaine. They dug a hole under the sacristy floor, dumped the corpse into it, spread a large quantity of quicklime over it and drenched the lime with water. The lead casket was confiscated to be melted down for bullets for the revolution. This ghoulish profanation was no sooner accomplished than the right arm of one of the men was stricken with paralysis. A second was seized with a stiff neck that turned his head about on his shoulders. A third was bent over at the waist so that thereafter his body was turned like an animal to the earth. The first two begged Germaine's forgiveness twenty years later and were instantly cured. When the Reign of Terror subsided, the citizens of Pibrac urged a reopening of the lime pit. After two years in such a place the bones of Germaine were again brought forth and returned to the sacristy of the church. In 1764 Abbé Francis, a priest of the village of Auriac near Pibrac, published a book relating the story of Germaine. The book inspired interest in the shepherdesses throughout France. In 1842 Cardinal Paul d'Astros, Archbishop of Toulouse officially reopened the cause of Germaine for canonization. Pope Gregory XVI was extremely cold to the proposal; in fact, he was hostile to Germaine's cause until one night on an impulse he decided to read the documents which had lain on his desk for weeks. No sooner had he read the account of Germaine's life than he became one of her most ardent champions. Her patience under abuse moved him to exclaim, "Germaine is the saint we need." He bestowed the title of "Venerable" upon her on May 23, 1845, two days before his death. His successor, Pope Pius IX, was equally fascinated by Germaine but political events of the time which drove the Holy Father from the Vatican, prevented Germaine's beatification until May 7, 1854. Canonization followed on June 29, 1867. On that day the little girl of the stable with frost-bitten feet and a withered arm , whom no one wanted, was given to the world to love and cherish as a glorified saint of God. The citizens of Toulouse erected a stone monument to her, but in July 1881 the marble figure was dismembered by anti-religious officials of the city. St. Germaine's remains still lie in the village church of Pibrac. The church is ancient and in a serious state of disrepair, completely inadequate to accommodate the many pilgrims who flock to Pibrac, especially on her feastday, June 15. In 1901 plans were drawn for the construction of a majestic and inspiring shrine. It was even begun, the cornerstone laid, but two world wars, the Nazi invasion, and postwar inflationary costs combined to put an end to building operations. The Nazis used the unfinished building for military purposes. Pope Pius IX exhorted us: "Go to Germaine. She is a new star shedding a marvelous glow ... over the Universal Church."


Saint John Francis Regis, Confessor
June 16th
From Butler's Lives

    John Francis Regis was born in 1597 at Fontcouverte in Narbonne, educated at the Jesuit college of Béziers, sought admission to the Society in 1615, and ordained to the priesthood in 1631. He was appointed to the domestic mission, and there spent the remaining ten years of his life: Beginning in Languedoc, throughout the Vivarais, and on to Velay, of which Le Puy was the capitol. He preached to the poor, being fond of saying that the rich were never without confessors. He spent the mornings in the confessional, at the altar, and in the pulpit; and his afternoons in prisons and hospitals. Msgr. de la Baume, bishop of Viviers, requested him by name for service in his diocese, which, like much of France, was severely afflicted by the prolonged civil and religious strife. Law and order seemed to have disappeared, poverty stricken peasants lapsed into savagery, and absentee prelates and negligent priests had allowed churches to fall into ruins, whole parishes being deprived of the Sacraments for twenty years or more. In laxity of morals and indifference to religion there was little to distinguish Catholics from Protestants. For three years he assisted Msgr. de la Baume in making a thorough visitation of the diocese, usually going two or three days before him, preaching a retreat in preparation for the bishop's arrival. He applied unsuccessfully for the North American missions, his superiors recognizing the importance of the work he was doing at home in France. He died on December 31, 1640, after maintaining his rigorous work schedule through Christmas week. He was canonized in 1737.


Saint Silverius, Pope & Martyr
June 20th
Breviary ex Guéranger

    Silverius was a native of Campania, and succeeded Agapitus in the papacy. His doctrine and holiness shone forth in his pursuit of heretics; and his strength of soul, in his firmness in upholding the sentence passed by his predecessor. Agapitus had deposed Anthimus from the patriarchate of Constantinople for defending the heresy of Eutyches; and Silverius would never allow his restoration, although the empress Theodora repeatedly asked him to do so. The woman was enraged at him on this account, and ordered General Belisarius to send Silverius into exile. He was accordingly banished to the island of Ponza, whence, it is said, he wrote these words to the bishop Amator: "I am fed upon the bread of tribulation and the water of affliction, but nevertheless, I have not given up, and will not give up doing my duty." Soon indeed, worn out by grief and suffering, he slept in the Lord on the twelfth of the Kalends of July. His body being taken to Rome he was laid in the Vatican basilica and made illustrious by numerous miracles. He ruled the Church for more than three years, and ordained in the month of December thirteen priests, five deacons, and nineteen bishops for divers sees.


Saint Æthelreda, Abbess
June 23rd
Breviary ex Guéranger

    Æthelreda, daughter of Anna, king of East Anglia, was given in marriage, first to the prince of the Gervii in the south, and after his death to Ecgfrid, king of the Northumbrians. After she had lived with him for twelve years she still remained a virgin. She obtained from the king, by constant entreaty, permission to leave the cares of the world and to serve Christ the King. She entered the monastery of Ebba, paternal aunt to the said King Ecfrid, where she took the veil of a nun. After a year she was made Abbess of Ely, where she was a mother to the virgins vowed to God by her example and her admonitions not less than by her unfailing love.

    She wore only woolen garments and abstained from hot baths, and seldom ate more than once a day. She suffered from a swelling in the jaw and a pain in the neck, and seven years after she had left the office of abbess, she gave up her soul to God on the twenty-third of June in the year six hundred and seventy-nine. Honorable mention of her is made in the Roman Martyrology. She was succeeded by her sister Sexburga. Sixteen years later her body was found incorrupt and was translated into the church where it became an object of pious veneration to the faithful.


Our Lady of Perpetual Help
June 27th
Adapted fromThe Catholic Encyclopedia

    The picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is painted on wood, with a background of gold. It is Byzantine in style, and is supposed to have been painted in the 13th century [on the island of Crete]. It represents the Mother of God holding the Divine Child, while the Archangels Michael and Gabriel present before Him the instruments of His Passion. Over the figures are Greek letters, corresponding to their abbreviated names. It was brought to Rome toward the end of the fifteenth century by a pious merchant, who, dying there, ordered by his will that the picture should be exposed in a church for public veneration. It was displayed in the church of San Matteo, Via Merulana, between St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. Crowds flocked to this church, and for three hundred years many graces were obtained through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. The picture was, at that time, called the Madonna of San Matteo. The church was served for a time by the hermits of St. Augustine, who had sheltered their Irish brethren in distress. These Augustinians were still in charge when the French invaded Rome in 1812, and destroyed the church. The picture disappeared; it remained hidden and neglected for over forty years, but a series of providential circumstances between 1863 and 1865 led to its discovery in an oratory of the Augustinian Fathers at Santa Maria in Posterula.

    The Pope, then Pius IX, who as a boy had prayed before the picture in San Matteo, became interested in the discovery, and in a letter dated 11 December 1865 to Father-General Mauron, C.Ss.R., ordered that Our Lady of Perpetual Help should be again publicly venerated in Via Merulana, and this time at the new church of St. Alphonsus. The ruins of San Matteo were in the grounds of the Redemptorist convent. This was but the first favor of the Holy Father toward the picture. He approved the solemn translation [movement to its new location] on 26 April 1866, and its coronation by the Vatican Chapter on 23 June 1867. He fixed the feast as a double of the second class [third class in modern notation], on the Sunday before the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, granting a special Mass and Office to the Redemptorist order, and later to others. [Since the calendar reform of 1913, the feast is celebrated on June 27th.] Learning that devotion to our Lady under this title had spread far and wide, Pius IX raised the Confraternity of Our Lady of Perpetual Help to the rank of an arch-confraternity, and granted it many privileges and indulgences. He was amongst the first to visit the picture in its new home, and his name is the first on the register of the arch-confraternity. Many copies of the picture have been distributed throughout the world, and numerous altars and churches are dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. In some places outside of the United States the title is translated as Our Lady of Perpetual Succor.


SS. Peter and Paul, Apostles
July 29th

Second Nocturn
A sermon of Pope St. Leo the Great on the birthday of the Apostles Peter and Paul
Lesson iv

    It is indeed true, beloved brothers, that the whole world shares in every holy solemnity, for the one true faith demands that whatever happens for the spiritual benefit of all should be commemorated by all in common joy. But today's feast, apart from the liturgical observance accorded it throughout the world, must be kept here in Rome with extraordinary jubilation; for here, where the two chief Apostles ended their lives so gloriously, the greatest happiness must prevail on the day commemorating their martyrdom. These are the men through whom the Gospel of Christ first came to you, O Rome. And whereas you had been a teacher of error, now you have become a disciple of truth.

Lesson v

    These two men are your true fathers, your true shepherds; by transplanting you into the kingdom of heaven, they have given you a better and happier foundation than those two who first laid your walls. The one whose name your bear [the legendary Romulus] defiled you by murdering his brother. But these spiritual fathers raised you to such a pinnacle of glory that you have become a holy nation, a chosen race, a city of priests and kings, and the capital of all the world by being the See of Peter. Indeed, through the Christian religion you are exercising your authority over lands and peoples more remote than during the time of your greatest imperial might. For even though you extended your sovereignty over land and sea by many triumphs, nevertheless that which became subject to you through fighting and war is relatively insignificant in comparison to that which the peace of Christ has brought under your sway.

Lesson vi

    It was most conducive to the achievement of the divine plan that many kingdoms should be confederated under one empire, so that the preaching of the Gospel would proceed quickly through the nations bound together by the rule of one city. But this city did not know the author of her greatness, and while she ruled all the nations, she served the errors of all peoples, and seemed to herself to have become very religious because she had rejected no falsehood. And so the greater her slavery to the devil, the more marvelous her liberation by Christ.


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