Friday, November 22, 2013
Feast of St. Cecilia
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Double (1955 Calendar): November 22

Today is the Feast of St. Cecilia, the illustrious Virgin and martyr who died in Rome. She is the patroness of Church music

Traditional Matins Reading:

Caecilia, a Roman virgin of noble origin, was brought up from her infancy in the Christian faith, and vowed her virginity to God. Against her will, she was given in marriage to Valerian; but on the first night of the nuptials she thus addressed him: Valerian, I am under the care of an Angel, who is the guardian of my virginity; wherefore beware of doing what might kindle God's wrath against thee. Valerian moved by these words respected her wishes, and even said that he would believe in Christ if he could see the Angel. On Caecilia telling him that this could not be unless he received Baptism, he, being very desirous of seeing the Angel, replied that he was willing to be baptized. Taking the virgin's advice, he went to Pope Urban, who on account of the persecution was hiding among the tombs of the Martyrs on the Appian Way, and by him he was baptized.

Then returning to Caeceliia, he found her at prayer, and beside her an Angel shining with divine brightness. He was amazed at the sight; but as soon as he had recovered from his fear, he sought out his brother Tiburtius; who also was instructed by Caecilia in the faith of Christ, and after being baptized by Pope Urban, was favoured like his brother with the sight of the Angel. Both of them shortly afterwards courageously suf­fered martyrdom under the prefect Almachius. This latter next commanded Caacilia to be apprehended, and commenced by asking her what had become of the property of Tiburtius and Valerian.

The virgin answered that it had all been distributed among the poor; at which the prefect was so enraged, that he commanded her to be led back to her own house, and put to death by the heat of the bath. When, after spending a day and a night there, she remain unhurt by the fire, an executioner was sent to dispatch her; who, not being able with three strokes of the axe to cut off her head, left her half dead. Three days later, on the tenth of the Kalends of December, she took her flight to heaven, adorned with the double glory of virginity and martyrdom. It was in the reign of the emperor Alexander. Pope Urban buried her body in the cemetery of Callixtus; and her house was converted into a church and dedicated in her name. Pope Paschal I. translated her body into the city, together with those of Popes Urban and Lucius, and of Tiburtius, Valerian, and Maximus, and placed them all in this church of St. Caecilia.

Prayer:

We are made happy, O God, by the annual feast of Your blessed virgin martyr Cecilia. May we be inspired by the example of Your saint, as we honor her in this Mass. Through Our Lord . . .

Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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