Sts. Marcellinus and Peter
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 Churh 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.
"The Church has always believed that the apostles, and Christ's martyrs who had given the supreme witness of faith and charity by the shedding of their blood, are quite closely joined with us in Christ" (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 50).
Also today on the Latin Calendar there is commemorated S. Erasmus, Bishop and Martyr. A story/novena about this commemoration can be found by Clicking Here.
St. Erasmus, whose name morphed into St. Elmo as it was passed along, is patron saint of those suffering from abdominal pain because he was martyred by being disemboweled.
In the late second century, he was a bishop of Formia, which sits between Rome and Naples. When that city burned, he moved to the nearby town of Gaeta, and he remains the city’s patron. Both Formia and Gaeta sit on the west coast of Italy, and St. Erasmus was invoked by sailors who frequented their ports—today he is patron saint of those who make their living at sea.
During storms at sea, sailors noticed a blue electrical discharges dancing in their rigging and masts, and took it as a sign of St. Erasmus’ protection. Given the evolution of his name, we know this today as St. Elmo’s fire.
A number of unreliable legends fill in Erasmus’ story. They tell of him fleeing a persecution of Christians and living on a mountain and being sustained by food delivered by a raven. He was later discovered, arrested, and tortured, but survived by several miraculous escapes.
It was believed he eventually died by disembowelment, so he is invoked by women in labor and those experiencing intestinal disorders, including appendicitis. As is the case with many martyrs, he is depicted here holding the instrument of his death, a windlass around which is wound his intestines.
St. Erasmus is considered one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers — a band of saints whose intercession was asked for around the time of the bubonic plague. Relics of St. Erasmus rest in the reliquary chapel in the Basilica.
St. Erasmus, patron of those experiencing intestinal disorders and women in labor, pray for us!
Shine Through Me:
The presence of Jesus among us is just that-- a widespread presence among all of God's people. We are able to embed the wonders of the presence of God within us. Each of us can and must be the "Jesus Presence" in this world around us.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Let us lift up our hands to heaven and implore tears of this kind for all our fellow travelers.
O pure Virgin, pour courage into my heart
O Mary, today a terrible sword has pierced Your holy soul. Except for God, no one knows of Your suffering. Your soul does not break; it is brave, because it is with Jesus. Sweet Mother, unite my soul to Jesus, because it is only then that I will be able to endure all trials and tribulations, and only in union with Jesus will my little sacrifices be pleasing to God. Sweetest Mother, continue to teach me about the interior life. May the sword of suffering never break me. O pure Virgin, pour courage into my heart and guard it. - (Diary No.915)