This is part II of Father Lentini’s article on the saints listed in the First Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass, often called the Roman Canon.
Simon (Apostle & Martyr): Simon is called Simon the Zealot because he was a member of a political movement in Israel that sought to expel the Roman Empire’s forces. Simon evangelized in Persia (Iran) where he joined with St. Jude. Simon was captured by authorities and ordered to worship the pagan sun god. He refused and was martyred. One tradition has St. Simon being crucified after a brief stint as Bishop of Jerusalem. Feast day: Oct. 28.
Jude (Apostle & Martyr): Jude was the brother of St. James the Lesser and a cousin of Jesus. Jude wrote a short Epistle. People pray to St. Jude for intercession for seemingly hopeless situations. Jude got connected to hopeless situations because of his name. It sounds so much like “Judas,” it was deemed hopeless that anyone would pray to him. Tradition holds that Jude was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith. Feast day: Oct. 28.
Linus (Pope & Martyr): St. Linus was the second pope. He was an Italian (from Tuscany). Linus was the pope who called for women to wear head coverings in church. Feast day: Sept. 23.
Cletus (Pope & Martyr): St. Cletus was the third pope; he ruled from the reign of the Emperor Vespasian to the reign of Domitian. He suffered martyrdom for the faith and was buried near St. Peter. Feast day: April 26.
Clement (Pope & Martyr): St. Clement, the fourth pope, was ordained bishop by St. Peter. He was Roman. Pope Clement wrote a letter to the church in Corinth when they were experiencing difficulties; this showed that from the early days of the church, the pope had a role in preserving the faith in times of trial. Clement was martyred for the faith outside of Rome. Feast day: Nov. 23.
Sixtus (Pope & Martyr): St. Sixtus was the seventh pope. Reigning from 117-126 A.D., he is credited with putting the Sanctus (“Holy, Holy, Holy”) in the Mass throughout the western church. He also established the authority of a pope to remove a bishop. Feast day: April 6.
Cornelius (Pope & Martyr): St. Cornelius became pope in 251 A.D. He fought against a schismatic group called the Novatians. He was exiled by Roman Emperor Gallus. St. Cornelius died in 253 A.D. and is buried in the cemetery of St. Callistus. Feast day: Sept. 16.
Cyprian (Bishop & Martyr): St. Cyprian (born 210 A.D.) was a convert to Catholicism; he became Bishop of Carthage in 249 A.D. He was the first African bishop to be martyred (decapitated in 258 A.D.). He is the patron saint of Algeria. Feast day: Sept. 16.
Lawrence (Deacon-Martyr): St. Lawrence was a Spaniard; he was called to Rome by the pope and became an archdeacon responsible for the Roman church’s finances. He cared for the poor and needy. When the emperor (after killing the pope) asked for the church’s treasures, Lawrence presented him with a group of paupers and sick folks and said, “These are the treasures of the church.” The emperor ordered Lawrence to be burned on a gridiron; he was grilled. After Christianity became legal, the Emperor Constantine had a basilica built over St. Lawrence’s grave. He is a patron saint of Rome. Feast Day: Aug. 10.
Chrysogonus (Martyr): St. Chrysogonus was a martyr who was jailed in Rome for his faith, and beheaded at Aquileia; he was thrown into the sea during the persecution of Diocletian. Feast day: Nov. 24.
John (Martyr) and Paul (Martyr): Ss. John and Paul were retired Roman military commanders who converted to Christianity. Emperor Julian the Apostate invited them to be in his inner circle. They were given 10 days to decide whether to join with Julian or to be executed. They used the 10 days to distribute all that they possessed to the poor. They were tortured and killed at home. Their executioner’s ill son visited the site of their death and was cured. The executioner and his son converted to the faith. Feast day: June 26.
Cosmas (Martyr) and Damian (Martyr): Ss. Cosmas and Damian were brothers and physicians. They refused to take payment from the poor. Ultimately were arrested by Roman authorities for their Christian faith, and were martyred around 303 A.D. Their tomb is at Cyrrhus in Syria. Feast day: Sept. 26.
Near the end of the First Eucharistic Prayer we hear more saints invoked in the section that in Latin is called the “Nobis quoque peccatoribus” (to us also, your servant, though sinners …).
John the Baptist (Prophet & Martyr): The last of the prophets, son of Elizabeth and Zachariah. St. John the Baptist announced to the world the coming of the Lord. He was beheaded at the request of Salome by the command of King Herod. Feast day: June 24 (birth), Aug. 29 (martyrdom).
Stephen (Deacon-Martyr): The first deacon of the church. St. Stephen was martyred and asked God to forgive his killers as he was dying. Feast: Dec. 26.
Matthias (Apostle & Martyr): St. Matthias was the first Apostle chosen after the death and resurrection of Christ. He was the replacement for Judas. Feast May 14.
Barnabas (Apostle & Martyr): A Jewish convert, St. Barnabas came to the faith soon after Pentecost. He was not one of the Twelve but he appears in the Acts of the Apostles. He was a companion of St. Paul who introduced him to the Apostles. Feast day: June 11.
Ignatius (Bishop & Martyr): St. Ignatius, the Bishop of Antioch, was the first to use the term “Catholic Church” to describe the church of Christ. Ignatius was martyred in 107 A.D. by being tossed into a pit of wild animals. Facing death, he is said to have prayed, “May I become agreeable bread for the Lord.” Feast day: Oct 17.
Alexander (Pope & Martyr): St. Alexander I became pope in the reign of Emperor Trajan. Alexander is said to have introduced the use of blessing water mixed with salt for the purification of Christian homes. He was martyred by Roman authorities. Feast day: April 3.
Marcellinus (Priest & Martyr) and Peter (Exorcist): Both Roman, they died in the year 304 A.D. These two men were imprisoned during a persecution and managed to convert their jailer and his family. They were later beheaded in the forest so other Christians wouldn’t have a chance to bury and venerate their bodies. Two women found the bodies, however, and had them buried. Feast day: June 2.
Felicity (Martyr) and Perpetua (Martyr): St. Felicity was a slave; St. Perpetua was a wealthy citizen of Carthage. Both were arrested for professing Christianity. Neither would recant her faith. They had to wait to be put to death because Felicity was pregnant and it was not legal to kill a pregnant woman. Once she gave birth, she and Felicity were taken to be killed by the beasts. Felicity was thrown by a cow and impaled by a gladiator’s sword. Perpetua was mauled. Perpetua’s last words: “Stand fast in the faith and love one another.” Feast day: March 7.
Agatha (Virgin-Martyr): St. Agatha was martyred in 251 A.D. for refusing the solicitations of a Roman senator. She was beaten, imprisoned and tortured. Feast day: Feb. 4.
Lucy (Virgin-Martyr): Like St. Agatha, St. Lucy refused the advances of a Roman; she wished to remain a virgin and consecrate her life to Christ. She was ordered to renounce her faith or die. She would not renounce her faith; several attempts to kill her failed. Then, Lucy’s eyes were gouged out; she was later stabbed to death. Feast day: Dec. 13.
St. Agnes (Virgin & Martyr): St. Agnes was ordered to sacrifice to the pagan gods and to lose her virginity. She refused and was tortured. Then, several men offered to marry her; she refused, saying that Christ was her spouse. She was beheaded. Feast day Jan 21.
Cecilia (Virgin-Martyr): St. Cecilia, a Christian, was forced to marry Valarian, a pagan. She remained a virgin. She converted both Valarian and his brother. She suffered a martyr’s death for bringing so many converts to the faith. She is the patron saint of musicians. Feast day: Nov. 22.
Anastasia (Martyr): She was part of a noble Roman family and married to a pagan. When she would not give up her faith, he began to treat her cruelly. Anastasia was taken to an island and was burned to death as punishment. Feast day: Dec. 25.
Father Lentini is principal of St. Thomas More Academy in Magnolia.