Sixtus II, Pope and Martyr,
and companions, Martyrs
Fresco, 210 x 80 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican
St. Sixtus II was elected Pope August 31, 257 and was martyred August 6, 258 during Emperor Valerian's persecution of Christians. Four deacons, Januarius, Vincentius, Magnus, and Stephanus, were apprehended with Sixtus and beheaded with him. Two other deacons, Felicissimus and Agapitus, suffered martyrdom on the same day.
(Principal source - Catholic Encyclopedia - 1913 edition )
By the power of the Holy Spirit,
we pray, almighty God,
make us docile in believing the faith
and courageous in confessing it,
just as you granted Saint Sixtus and his companions
that they might lay down their lives
for the sake of your word and in witness to Jesus.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.
First Reading: Wisdom 3:1-9
The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them.
In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be an affliction, and their going from us to be their destruction;
but they are at peace.
For though in the sight of men they were punished, their hope is full of immortality.
Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them,
and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.
In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble.
They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them for ever.
Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his elect, and he watches over his holy ones.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:28-33
Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
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