Saints Marcellinus and Peter Fr. Don Miller, OFM
Image: Illumination from the Passionary of Weissenau | Frater Rufillus
Saints Marcellinus and Peter
Saint of the Day for June 2
Saints Marcellinus and Peter’s Story
Marcellinus and Peter were prominent enough in the memory of the Church to be included among the saints of the Roman Canon. Mention of their names is optional in our present Eucharistic Prayer I.
Marcellinus was a priest and Peter was an exorcist, that is, someone authorized by the Church to deal with cases of demonic possession. They were beheaded during the persecution of Emperor Diocletian. Pope Damasus wrote an epitaph apparently based on the report of their executioner, and Constantine erected a basilica over the crypt in which they were buried in Rome. Numerous legends sprang from an early account of their death.
Why are these men included in our Eucharistic prayer, and given their own feast day, in spite of the fact that almost nothing is known about them? Probably because the Church respects its collective memory. They once sent an impulse of encouragement through the whole Church. They made the ultimate step of faith.
St. Marcellinus and St. Peter
Feast Day: June 02
These two saints were greatly honored and prayed to by the early Christians. The feast of these two martyrs was included in the Roman calendar of saints by Pope Vigilius in 555.
Marcellinus was a priest and Peter assisted Marcellinus in his ministry. Both very bravely practiced their Christian faith. They served the Christian community fearlessly and with great self-sacrifice even though they knew that their lives were in danger.
When Emperor Diocletian began punishing Christians for their faith, many Christians were killed. St. Marcellinus and Peter were also killed along with many others. They were beheaded.
But before they died, they were forced to dig their own graves. They were taken to a hidden spot, deep in the Silva Nigra forest, to do this difficult job.
Years later, their graves were discovered in that remote spot. Their executioner, the man who cut off their heads, asked for God’s forgiveness and repented of the killings becoming a Christian himself.
He led devoted Christians to the remains, which were then buried in the catacomb of St. Tiberius. Pope Gregory IV sent the relics (or remains) to Frankfurt, Germany, in 827. He believed that the relics of these two saints would bring blessings to the Church in that nation.
CATHOLIC ALMANACFriday, June 2
Liturgical Color: white
Today is the optional memorial
of Saints Marcellinus and Peter.
They are 2 of the martyrs listed
in the first Eucharistic prayer.
Arrested during the Diocletian
persecution; both were
beheaded in 304 AD, but not
before converting their jailer.
Easter: June 2nd
Optional Memorial of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter, martyrs
Old Calendar: Saints Marcellinus, Peter and Erasmus, bishop, martyrs; St. Blandina, martyr (Hist)
Peter and Marcellinus are two Roman martyrs who suffered under the Diocletian persecution, about the year 303; the first was an exorcist, the second a priest. Their cultus was so important that after peace was restored to the Church, Constantine built a basilica in their honor. Their names are mentioned in the Canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer I).
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Erasmus, a bishop in Asia Minor, who was martyred in Campania at about the same time. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Historically it is also the feast of St. Blandina, a slave in the second century, who had been taken into custody along with her master, also a Christian.
St. Marcellinus and St. Peter
Peter, an exorcist, was cast into 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 which tormented her. Upon this, Artemius and his wife and all their house, with their neighbors who had run together to see the strange thing, were converted to Jesus Christ. Peter therefore brought them to Marcellinus the priest, who baptized them all. When Serenus heard of 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 him from Peter, and shut him up naked, in a prison strewn with broken glass, without either food or light. Peter also he 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.
Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.
Things to Do:
- St. Marcellinus and Peter are included in the Roman Martyrology, originally a written catalogue of those saints who shed their blood for Christ during the early centuries of pagan persecution. Local churches celebrated each martyr’s “birthday” into heaven, assigning the day of their final victory over the world as their feastday in the liturgical calendar. When she triumphantly arose from the catacombs, the Church gradually introduced other great saints, who were not slain for their faith, into the Martyrology as she combined the recorded Acta of both east and west. An official book of the Roman liturgy, its pages contain the names of thousands of our most valiant Catholic heroes and heroines along with a very brief biographical sketch commemorating either their martyrdom or their most enduring accomplishments. If you would like to purchase a copy you can do so at Amazon.com.
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 this he came forth whole and sound: which wonder converted many to believe in Christ. He was remanded to prison, and 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 more than a conqueror in all these things also. Afterwards, having converted many to the faith and confirmed them therein, he obtained the palm of a glorious martyrdom.
Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.
He is invoked for intestinal diseases, for his legend asserts that he was tortured by winding his entrails round a windlass. He is also called St. Elmo, and the static electricity on boats, Saint Elmo’s Fire, is named after him. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
Patron: Abdominal pains; ammunition workers; appendicitis; birth pains; boatmen; childbirth; childhood intestinal disease; colic; danger at sea; explosives workers; intestinal disorders; mariners; navigators; ordinance workers; sailors; sea sickness; stomach diseases; storms; watermen; women in labor.
Symbols: Windlass or capstan wound with his intestines; ship; ravens bringing him bread; cauldron of molten lead; red-hot armour; three-pronged hook; cauldron of boiling pitch or resin.
St. Blandina lived as a slave at Lyons, Gaul, in the 2nd century after Christ. She was one of the illustrious company of those martyred under the emperor Marcus Aurelius. She was apprehended together with her master, who was also a Christian. She endured every torment imaginable, to the extent that the tormentors confessed that they could not think of anything else to do to her. And to every question put to her, she gave the same answer: “I am a Christian, and we commit no wrong.” Brought to the arena for fresh torments, Blandina was bound to a stake and wild beasts were released upon her but refused to harm her. She witnessed the podvigs (struggles) of all her fellows, and was the last to suffer martyrdom, by being placed on a red hot grate, enclosed in a net, and thrown before a wild steer, who tossed her into the air with his horns. In this manner the great martyr of Christ received her crown.
The Word Among Us
Meditation: John 21:15-19
Saints Marcellinus and Peter, Martyrs (Optional Memorial)
Someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go. (John 21:18)
Many of us go through life with a disability of some sort—or we are close to someone who does. For those of us in this group, the phrase “someone else will dress you” holds a special significance. Again, our brothers and sisters with disabilities can relate in a special way when Jesus tells Peter, “You will stretch out your hands” (John 21:18). They often experience being stretched to the limit, physically or emotionally. To borrow Jesus’ words, they may even feel that they are being led where they do not want—or expect—to go.
Here’s the good news. Today’s Gospel reading assures us that even disability and limitation can bring glory to God. How can this be? We might think God is glorified only if we are perfectly whole or if we experience miraculous healing. But the truth is that everyone can glorify the Lord.
Think of the man who has lost his legs and yet maintains a joyful heart as he continues to develop himself in other ways. Or think of the little girl with Down syndrome who reflects the innocence and affection God wants for all of us. She’s mirroring heavenly life. A mother tirelessly advocating for her autistic child shows heroic perseverance and fortitude. All of these people are precious to the Lord. They all reflect his glory.
In the end, it’s the way we live with our disabilities that glorifies God. Look at St. Paul: he spoke about his “thorn in the flesh” and asked God to take it away (2 Corinthians 12:7). But he came to understand that God’s power is “made perfect in weakness” (12:9). His struggle helped him go beyond trying to get rid of his difficulty and focus on serving the Lord instead.
God can be revealed in our weaknesses and struggles, whoever we are. With God’s grace we can learn to love and praise Jesus through our disabilities. We can grow to trust him in the face of trials or limitations. Then, like Paul, we will be focusing not on what we can’t do, but on what God can do in us.
“Jesus, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20
Marriage = One Man and One Woman Until Death Do Us Part
Daily Marriage Tip for June 2, 2017:
“Grandparents enrich the life of their families. They should be cherished, not merely tolerated.” (Follow the Way of Love) What have you learned about marriage from an older family member?
Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Father Walter Schu, LC
After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you and all that you have revealed for our salvation. I hope in you because of your overflowing mercy. Every single act of yours on this earth demonstrated your love for us. Your ascent into heaven before the eyes of the Apostles inspires my hope of one day joining you there. I love you and wish you to be the center of my life.
Petition: Lord, help me to respond with love to your self-giving love.
1. “Do You Love Me?” The moment for which Christ has been preparing ever since his Resurrection has arrived. He is alone with Peter. Their last encounter before Jesus’ death was that sad occasion when Christ looked at Peter, forgiving him after his threefold denial. Now Christ takes Peter a little apart from the others and gives him the opportunity to affirm a threefold pledge of his love. The one, supreme condition for Christ to renew Peter’s commission to tend his sheep is Peter’s love for his Master. Love is the one, supreme condition for each of us who aspires to be an apostle. Peter’s love has been purified by his betrayal of Christ during the Passion: It has been chastened and humbled. Now Peter entrusts everything — even his love — into Christ’s hands: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Do my failures enable me to love Christ more, with greater trust?
2. “Can Love Be Commanded?” Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI posed a provocative question in his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love). How can Christ demand love from us in order for us to be his followers, his apostles? In other words, “Love cannot be commanded; it is ultimately a feeling that is either there or not, nor can it be produced by the will” (no. 16). The response to this apparent quandary is twofold. In the first place, love can be commanded because it has first been given. “God does not demand of us a feeling which we ourselves are incapable of producing. He loves us, he makes us see and experience his love, and since he has ‘loved us first,’ love can also blossom as a response within us” (no. 17). In the second place , “it is clearly revealed that love is not merely a sentiment. Sentiments come and go. A sentiment can be a marvelous first spark, but it is not the fullness of love” (no. 17).
3. “Love in Its Most Radical Form” What, then, is the essence of love, that love which Christ first gave to us and which he in turn demands of us as his followers? “It is characteristic of a mature love that it calls into play all man’s potentialities; it engages the whole man, so to speak. Contact with the visible manifestations of God’s love can awaken within us a feeling of joy born of the experience of being loved. But this encounter also engages our will and our intellect. Acknowledgment of the living God is one path towards love, and the ‘yes’ of our will to his will unites our intellect, will and sentiments in the all-embracing act of love” (Deus Caritas Est, no. 17). As Pope Saint John Paul the Great has phrased it so many times, true love is the gift of one’s entire self.
Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord, for helping me to see, through Pope Saint John Paul the Great and Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI, the meaning of authentic love. Thank you for your limitless love for me. Your love is the standard to which my own poor love must rise.
Resolution: I will give myself to Christ today in acts of love that embrace my whole person: intellect, will and sentiments.
Homily of the Day
June 2, 2017
Simon Peter was so enthusiastic and loyal to Jesus at his arrest that cut off the right ear of the high priest’s servant. However, before maid servants Peter denied him three times. This was the same Peter who had insisted, “Though I have to die with you, I will never deny you.” (Mk 14: 31)
Christ asks Peter three times if he loves him: three times, not to be assured of Peter’s love but rather to remind Peter of his weakness and betrayal of Jesus. Christ gave Peter, the weak one who denied him, the leadership of his Church. Christ trusted Peter despite his weakness because Peter knew how to repent. Peter knew himself very well, that he was a sinner.
If we are to follow Christ, we must first abandon our way of thinking, the direction we are taking. Oftentimes the will of God may be against our own will. The path the Lord for us may be the one we do not like. But inspired by the Holy Spirit, we eventually follow him and allow God to lead us to where he wills.
Peter the coward was chosen by the Lord to become the first leader of the Church and to die with loyalty and faith. If God can give this privilege to Peter, he can certainly give this gift to anyone. God clothes our imperfections and gives us love for him and a newfound zeal for evangelization. This is what it means to feed the sheep. It is to announce the Good News and bring salvation to the people of God unrelentlessly and unceasingly.
One Bread, One Body
One Bread, One Body
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All Issues > Volume 33, Issue 4
|<< Friday, June 2, 2017 >>
||Pentecost Novena – Day 8
Sts. Marcellinus & Peter
|Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20
SPREAD THIN TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL
|“I issued orders that [Paul] be kept in custody until I could send him to the emperor.” �Acts 25:21
|The goal of Acts of the Apostles is that the Gospel message reach to the ends of the earth. Acts considers Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, to be “the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The last seven chapters of Acts record a series of extremely messy events which led St. Paul to Rome. In order for the Gospel to reach Rome, Paul had to endure great sufferings. Paul paid the price of two extra years in prison so that the gospel could be heard by the highest officials in the Roman Empire. Yet Paul rejoiced because his personal sufferings turned into a blessing for evangelization, saying: “My situation has worked out to the furtherance of the gospel” (Phil 1:12).
Paul wasn’t the only one who endured messy situations for the spread of the gospel. St. Peter paid the price of being bound and held captive so as to build up the Church (see Jn 21:18-19). Jesus spent over thirty years separated from the bliss of heavenly union with His Father so that the gospel could reach a lost world.
As servants of God, we are “taken captive by God to do His will” (2 Tm 2:26), and God’s will is that all people “be saved and come to know the truth” (1 Tm 2:4). The messes in our lives may be precisely the means that God uses for a greater purpose � to spread His Word. Say with Jesus, Peter, and Paul: “I am not seeking my own will but the will of Him Who sent me” (Jn 5:30).
|Prayer: Jesus, I would rather endure years of suffering for You and Your Word than live in comfort without You (see Ps 84:11). I give my life to You so Your sheep may be fed (Jn 21:15-17).
|Promise: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He put our transgressions from us.” �Ps 103:12
|Praise: Sts. Marcellinus and Peter, martyrs for Jesus, ministered to their fellow prisoners.