Sts. Fabian and Sebastian (Feast: January 20)
Pope St. Fabian was the first layman ever to be elected to the papacy. Before entering into his pontificate in 236, Fabian was a humble and well respected farmer.
Upon the death of his predecessor, Pope Anterus, Fabian traveled with some companions to Rome to mourn his passing with the faithful and to be present when the new pope was elected.
While attending the council to determine who Anterus’ successor would be, a dove suddenly appeared and descended upon the head of Fabian as a clear sign of his divine election. By unanimous vote, Fabian was instantly chosen as the next pope.
During his fourteen-year pontificate, the Church enjoyed relative peace under Emperor Philip, and Fabian was able to do much to consolidate and develop the Church.
He died a martyr’s death in 250 and was one of the first victims of the persecution under Emperor Decius, who considered him a rival and personal enemy. He was buried in the Catacomb of Calixtus.
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Celebrated alongside St. Fabian is the Roman martyr, Sebastian.
Though the narrative of his story is largely unhistorical, legend tells us that he was a young officer in the imperial army, who secretly dedicated himself to the spiritual and temporal assistance of the Christians and martyrs.
It was he who exhorted Sts. Marcus and Marcellianus to constancy in the Faith and inspired them with the courage to face their deaths when they began to waver under the pleas of their friends.
Being thus discovered, Sebastian was condemned by Emperor Diocletian and delivered over to Mauritanian archers to be shot to death.
Miraculously, he survived though and was nourished back to health by St. Zoe, a convert of his and mother of Sts. Marcus and Marcellianus.
Refusing to flee, Sebastian confronted the Emperor again and harshly reproached him for his cruelty to the Christians.
He died in 288 after being clubbed to death and his body thrown into the common sewer. It was privately removed, and he also was buried in the cemetery of Calixtus.
Although St. Fabian and St. Sebastian’s feasts are liturgically separate, they are celebrated on the same day; and the relics of the two saints are both kept and venerated together in the Basilica of St. Sebastian in Rome.
DAILY QUOTE for January 18, 2021
One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.