Today in the year of Our Lord 2016, is the feast day of Saint Marcellinus & Saint Peter, Saint Erasmus of Formia and Saint Blandina
Saint Marcellinus & Peter (??? – 304)
Very little is known about the two martyrs’ lives. Marcellinus, a priest, and Peter, an exorcist, died in the year 304, during the Diocletianic Persecution. Pope Damasus I claimed that he heard the story of these two martyrs from their executioner who became a Christian after their deaths. Damasus’ account is the oldest source concerning these two martyrs. Damasus states that they were killed at an out-of-the-way spot by the magistrate Severus or Serenus, so that other Christians would not have a chance to bury and venerate their bodies. The two saints happily cleared the spot chosen for their death: a thicket overgrown with thorns, brambles, and briers three miles from Rome. They were beheaded and buried in that spot..
The martyrs were venerated by the early Christian church. Their sepulcher is mentioned in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum, which includes the information that Marcellinus was a priest and that Peter was an exorcist. In the Martyrologium, their feast day is given as 2 June and their sepulcher is described as being located ad duas lauros (“at the two laurel trees”) at the third mile of the Via Labicana. From the 7th century onwards, their sepulcher became a site of pilgrimage, and their feast day is recorded in local liturgies and hagiographies. According to the Liber Pontificalis, Constantine the Great built a basilica in their honor, since a structure built by Damasus had been destroyed by the Goths. Constantine had his mother, St. Helena, buried in a porphyry tomb in this church, and donated to the church a pure gold paten weighing thirty-five pounds. Pope Honorius I and Pope Adrian I later repaired this church.
The names of Saints Marcellinus and Peter appeared in the Ambrosian liturgy.
Their names are mentioned in the Roman Canon. In 1253 Pope Alexander IV translated their relics to an ancient church (its presence was first mentioned in 595 AD) near the present-day Via Merulana that was named after them: Santi Marcellino e Pietro.
Saint Erasmus of Formia (??? – 303)
Erasmus was Bishop of Formium, Italy. During the persecution against Christians under the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian Hercules (284-305), he left his diocese and went to Mount Libanus, where he hid for seven years. However, an angel is said to have appeared to him, and counseled him to return to his city.
On the way, he encountered some soldiers who questioned him. Erasmus admitted that he was a Christian and they brought him to trial at Antioch before the emperor Diocletian. After suffering terrible tortures, he was bound with chains and thrown into prison, but an angel appeared and helped him escape.
He passed through Lycia, where he raised up the son of an illustrious citizen. This resulted in a number of baptisms, which drew the attention of the Western Roman Emperor Maximian who, according to Voragine, was “much worse than was Diocletian.” Maximian ordered his arrest and Erasmus continued to confess his faith. They forced him to go to a temple of the idol, but along the saint’s route all the idols fell and were destroyed, and from the temple there came fire which fell upon many of the pagans.
That made the emperor so angry he had Erasmus enclosed in a barrel full of protruding spikes, and the barrel was rolled down a hill. But an angel healed him. Further tortures ensued.
When he was recaptured, he was brought before the emperor and beaten and whipped, then coated with pitch and set alight (as Christians had been in Nero’s games), and still he survived. Thrown into prison with the intention of letting him die of starvation, St Erasmus managed to escape.
He was recaptured and tortured some more in the Roman province of Illyricum, after boldly preaching and converting numerous pagans to Christianity. Finally, according to this version of his death, his stomach was slit open and his intestines wound around a windlass. This version may have developed from interpreting an icon that showed him with a windlass, signifying his patronage of sailors.
She belongs to the band of martyrs of Lyon who, after some of their number had endured frightful tortures, suffered martyrdom in 177 in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Almost all we know of Blandina comes from a letter sent from the Church of Lyon to the Churches of Asia Minor. Eusebius gives significant space of her life and death in his book as he quotes from the aforementioned epistle to Asia Minor. The fanaticism of the Roman populace in Lyon had been excited against the Christians so that the latter, when they ventured to show themselves publicly, were harassed and ill-treated.
While the imperial legate was away, the chiliarch, a military commander, and the duumvir, a civil magistrate, threw a number of Christians, who confessed their faith, into prison. When the legate returned, the imprisoned believers were brought to trial. Among these Christians was Blandina, a slave, who had been taken into custody along with her master, also a Christian. Her companions greatly feared that on account of her bodily frailty she might not remain steadfast under torture. But although the legate caused her to be tortured in a horrible manner, so that even the executioners became exhausted “as they did not know what more they could do to her”, still she remained faithful and repeated to every question “I am a Christian, and we commit no wrongdoing.”
She was bound to a stake and wild beasts were set on her. According to legend, they did not, however, touch her. After enduring this for a number of days she was led into the arena to see the sufferings of her companions. Finally, as the last of the martyrs, she was scourged, placed on a red-hot grate, enclosed in a net and thrown before a wild steer who tossed her into the air with his horns, and at last killed with a dagger.
In an effort to include all Catholics, those who go to the Latin Mass and those who attend the Vernacular, you may notice some Saints not mentioned in your Missal or Liturgical Calendar – this is because we are including all Saints from both Calendars. Because of this some Feast days will be repeated throughout the year.
Also today in Catholic History
Is there a noteworthy historical date that isn’t mentioned, leave a comment and let us know.
Mass Readings according to the Pope John XXIII edition of the Roman Missal in 1962 through the Douay-Rheims Bible
(Except the Responsorial Psalm and Alleluia)
According to the USCCB -The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops & According to the ICBC The Irish Conference of Catholic Bishops
Reading 1 : 2 Timothy 2 : 8 – 15
 Be mindful that the Lord Jesus Christ is risen again from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel.  Wherein I labour even unto bands, as an evildoer; but the word of God is not bound.  Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with heavenly glory.
 A faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall live also with him.  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him. If we deny him, he will also deny us.  If we believe not, he continueth faithful, he can not deny himself.  Of these things put them in mind, charging them before the Lord. Contend not in words, for it is to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.  Carefully study to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 25 : 4 – 5AB, 8 – 9, 10 AND 14
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Alleluia : 2 Timothy 1 : 10
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel : Mark 12 : 28 – 34
 And there came one of the scribes that had heard them reasoning together, and seeing that he had answered them well, asked him which was the first commandment of all.  And Jesus answered him: The first commandment of all is, Hear, O Israel: the Lord thy God is one God.  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment.
 And the second is like to it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these.  And the scribe said to him: Well, Master, thou hast said in truth, that there is one God, and there is no other besides him.  And that he should be loved with the whole heart, and with the whole understanding, and with the whole soul, and with the whole strength; and to love one’ s neighbour as one’ s self, is a greater thing than all holocausts and sacrifices.  And Jesus seeing that he had answered wisely, said to him: Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel by Pope Leo XIII
O Glorious Prince of the heavenly host, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and fearful warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come thou to the assistance of men, whom Almighty God created immortal, making them in His own image and likeness and redeeming them at a great price from the tyranny of Satan. Fight this day the battle of the Lord with thy legions of holy Angels, even as of old thou didst fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud spirits and all his rebel angels, who were powerless to stand against thee, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast forth, the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduces the whole world; and he was cast forth upon Earth, and his angels were sent with him.
But behold! the ancient enemy of mankind and a murderer from the beginning has been fiercely aroused. Changing himself into an angel of light, he goes about with the whole multitude of the wicked spirits to invade the earth and blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to plunder, to slay, and to consign to eternal damnation the souls that have been destined for a crown of everlasting life. This wicked serpent, like an unclean torrent, pours into men of depraved minds and corrupt hearts the poison of his malice, the spirit of lying, impiety and blasphemy, and the deadly breath of impurity and every form of vice and iniquity.
Be favorable to Thy Church, the Bride of the Lamb without spot, whose enemies have filled to overflowing with gall and inebriated with wormwood. They have laid profane hands upon Her most sacred treasures. Where the See of the most blessed Peter and the Chair of Truth has been constituted as a light to the nations, there they have placed a throne of their abomination and impiety; so that with the Pastor struck, they may prevail to disperse the flock
Therefore, most invincible Leader, be with the people of God against this spiritual wickedness and bring about victory. Thou art venerated by Holy Church as Her guard and patron; Thou art glorified as our defender against the impious powers of earth and of hell. Unto thee the Lord hath handed over the souls of the redeemed to be placed in happiness above. Entreat the God of peace, to obliterate satan beneath our feet, lest he prevail further to hold men captive, and to injure the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that the mercy of the Lord may swiftly overtake us, and apprehend the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and satan, and send him bound into the abyss, so that he may seduce the nations no more. Henceforth having been confided to thy escort and protection, we sacred ministers by our authority [if recited by a layman, or cleric who has not yet taken up the order of exorcist, say instead, “by the authority of Holy Mother Church ], do undertake to repel the infestations of diabolical deceit in the Name of Jesus Christ, Our God and Lord.
V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, depart from us, our adversaries.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, root of David, has conquered.
V. Let Thy mercy be upon us Lord.
R. As much as we hope in Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
If recited by at least a deacon add the following
V. The Lord be with you all.
R. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray
O God, and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we invoke Thy Holy Name, and we humbly implore Thy clemency so that, through the intercession of Mary, the Immaculate ever-Virgin Mother of God, of blessed Michael the Archangel, of blessed Joseph, the Spouse of the same blessed Virgin, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the Saints, Thou may deign to offer us aid against satan, and all the other unclean spirits, who wander through the world to injure the human race and to destroy souls. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Alia Oratio ad Sanctum Michael
Princeps gloriosissime caelestis militiae, sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio et colluctatione, quae nobis adversus principes et potestates, adversus mundi rectores tenebrarum harum, contra spiritualia nequitiae, in caelestibus. Veni in auxilium hominum, quos Deus creavit inexterminabiles, et ad imaginem similitudinis suae fecit, et a tyrannide diaboli emit pretio magno. Proeliare hodie cum beatorum Angelorum exercitu proelia Domini, sicut pugnasti contra ducem superbiae luciferum, et angelos eius apostaticos: et non valuerunt, neque locus inventus est eorum amplius in caelo. Sed proiectus est draco ille magnus, serpens antiquus, qui vocatur diabolus et satanas, qui seducit universum orbem; et proiectus est in terram, et angeli eius cum illo missi sunt.
En antiquus inimicus et homicida vehementer erectus est. Transfiguratus in angelum lucis, cum tota malignorum spirituum caterva late circuit et invadit terram, ut in ea deleat nomen Dei et Christi eius, animasque ad aeternae gloriae coronam destinatas furetur, mactet ac perdat in sempiternum interitum. Virus nequitiae suae, tamquam flumen immundissimum, draco maleficus transfundit in homines depravatos mente et corruptos corde; spiritum mendacii, impietatis et blasphemiae; halitumque mortiferum luxuriae, vitiorum omnium et iniquitatum.
Ecclesiam, Agni immaculati sponsam, vaferrimi hostes repleverunt amaritudinibus, inebriarunt absinthio; ad omnia desiderabilia eius impias miserunt manus. Ubi sedes beatissimi Petri et Cathedra veritatis ad lucem gentium constituta est, ibi thronum posuerunt abominationis et impietatis suae; ut percusso Pastore, et gregem disperdere valeant.
Adesto itaque, Dux invictissime, populo Dei contra irrumpentes spirituales nequitias, et fac victoriam. Te custodem et patronum sancta veneratur Ecclesia; te gloriatur defensore adversus terrestrium et infernorum nefarias potestates; tibi tradidit Dominus animas redemptorum in superna felicitate locandas. Deprecare Deum pacis, ut conterat satanam sub pedibus nostris, ne ultra valeat captivos tenere homines, et Ecclesiae nocere. Offer nostras preces in conspectu Altissimi, ut cito anticipent nos misericordiae Domini, et apprehendas draconem, serpentem antiquum, qui est diabolus et satanas, ac ligatum mittas in abyssum, ut non seducat amplius gentes. Hinc tuo confisi praesidio ac tutela, sacri ministerii nostri auctoritate [si fuerit laicus, vel clericus qui ordinem exorcistatus nondum suscepit, dicat: sacra sanctae Matris Ecclesiae auctoritate], ad infestationes diabolicae fraudis repellendas in nomine Iesu Christi Dei et Domini nostri fidentes et securi aggredimur.
V. Ecce Crucem Domini, fugite partes adversae.
R. Vicit Leo de tribu Iuda, radix David.
V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos.
R. Quemadmodum speravimus in te
V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
Si fuerit saltem diaconus subiungat
V. Dominus vobiscum
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Deus, et Pater Domini nostri Iesu Christi, invocamus nomen sanctum tuum, et clementiam tuam supplices exposcimus ut, per intercessionem immaculatae semper Virginis Dei Genetricis Mariae, beati Michaelis Archangeli, beati Ioseph eiusdem beatae Virginis Sponsi, beatorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli et omnium Sanctorum, adversus satanam, omnesque alios immundos spiritus, qui ad nocendum humano generi animasque perdendas pervagantur in mundo, nobis auxilium praestare digneris. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.