Thursday, April 26, 2012
St. Sebastian (256-288)
Feastday: January 20
Patronage: Soldiers, archers, athletes and is appealed to for protection against plagues.
Sebastian was born to a wealthy Roman family at Narbonne, Gaul. His parents are from Milan, Italy and he was educated in Milan. Sebastian was a fervent servant of Christ and in his desire to help the persecuted Christian, he went to Rome and entered the army. During the persecution of the Christians when Diocletian was the emperor, Sebastian became an officer of the Imperial Roman army and was named captain in the praetorian guards.
Instead of making the prisoners suffer, Sebastian ministered to the prisoners and encouraged them to remain firm in their faith. He would give food and comfort them as well. Because of this, many Christians held on to their faith and died a martyr's death. St. Sebastian's presence was said to have brought miraculous healing and he made numerous converts including soldiers, prefect of Rome and a governor.
When it was discovered that Sebastian was indeed a Christian and that he was helping the prisoners, he was ordered executed. He was tied to a tree and shot with arrows and left for dead. But when the widow of St. Castulus went to recover his body, she found Sebastian still alive. Soon after, Sebastian was at it again denouncing the Emperor for his cruelty to Christian. This didn't last long however, for on the Emperor's orders, Sebastian was beaten to death.
Great was his love for Christ and his fellow Christian that Sebastian risk his life to be with them and minister to them. He did not only encourage them to remain firm in their faith. But he too lived and died remaining firm to his faith and defending it till the end.