Saint of the day
St. Fabian and St. Sebastian
Fabian, who lived in Rome, was the first man who was not a priest to be elected pope. He was elected pope in the year 236. We know very little about this saint. It is said that he was chosen to be pope because a dove rested on his head during the election. We do know that Fabian spoke out against Bishop Privatus who was spreading false teachings in Africa. Pope Fabian was also responsible for having the catacombs (underground Roman cemeteries where many of the early Christians were buried) repaired and restored. In the year 250, he died a martyr’s death during Emperor Decius’ persecution. St. Fabian is buried in the Basilica of St. Sebastian. The two martyrs share the same feast day.
Sebastian was a soldier in the Roman army from 283 to 288. According to legend, he gave encouragement to the Christians who were condemned to death for their faith. He also convinced many pagans to embrace Christianity. Emperor Diocletian didn’t know that Sebastian was a Christian, and he made him captain of the praetorian guards (men who guarded a Roman commander or emperor). When Maximian became emperor, he discovered that Sebastian was a Christian and ordered him to be put to death. Sebastian was shot with arrows. When the Christians came to bury him, they realized he was still alive! They cared for him until he got well again. Soon after this, Sebastian confronted the emperor and spoke out against his cruel treatment of the Christians. The emperor, shocked to see him alive, ordered that Sebastian be beaten to death. St. Sebastian is the patron saint of archers, athletes, and soldiers.
St. Fabian and St. Sebastian were very different from one another. One was a pope and the other was a soldier. They teach us that Jesus loves us individually, just as we are. Like Fabian and Sebastian, we each have our own gift to give others. The important thing is to give our gifts with all our hearts.