Image: St. Slyvester I baptizes Constantine the Great.
Double (1955 Calendar): December 31
Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): December 31
Saint Sylvester was born in Rome as the son of Rufinus. When he reached the age to dispose of his fortune, he took pleasure in giving hospitality to Christians passing through the city. He would take them with him, wash their feet, serve them at table, and in sum give them in the name of Christ.
Pope Sylvester I reigned as the Vicar of Christ from January 31, 314 to December 31, 335, succeeding Pope Miltiades. During his pontificate were built the great churches founded at Rome by Constantine, e.g. the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, St. Peter's Basilica, and several cemeterial churches over the graves of martyrs.
In 325, the Council of Nicea occurred, and although St. Slyvester did not attend, he sent two legates in his place. St. Slyvester thereafter confirmed the decisions of the First Council in the history of the Church.
While the most popular focus this day is on the New Years Eve, let us not forget that today is the seventh day of Christmas. A plenary indulgence may be gained, under the usual conditions, by reciting the Te Deum in thanksgiving for the past year.
Eternal Shepherd, do Thou look favorably upon Thy flock, which we beseech Thee to guard and keep for evermore through the blessed Sylvester, Thy Supreme Pontiff, whom Thou didst choose to be the chief shepherd of the whole Church. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee. in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal