St. Sebastian, Martyr | Saint of the Day | January 20

Prayer to St. Sebastian, Martyr

Dear Commander at the Roman Emperor's court,  you chose to be also a soldier of Christ and dared to spread faith in the King's of King's, for which you were condemned to die. Your body, however proved athletically strong and the executing arrows extremely weak, so another means to kill you was chosen and you gave your life to the Lord. May athletes be always as strong in their faith as you so clearly have been. Amen.

St. Sebastian, Patron of Athletes and Soldiers, was born at Narbonne in Gaul, educated at Milan, and martyred at Rome about the beginning of the 4th century.

According to an account of the 5th century now considered unhistorical, St, Sebastian entered the army at Rome under the Emperor Carinus, about the year 283, in order to render assistance to the Martyrs. When Diocletian left for the East, St. Sebastian continued to enjoy the esteem of Maximian, his coadjutor in the Empire.

St. Sebastian had prudently concealed his religion, but he was at last detected and accused before Diocletian, who condemned him to be shot to death by arrow. The sentence was executed to the extent that he was left for dead.

Restored to health by the care of a pious widow, the Saint boldly appeared before the Emperor and reproached him for his injustice against the Christians. The Emperor, recovering from his surprise at beholding St. Sebastian alive, commanded that he be beaten to death with clubs. His body was thrown into a sewer; but a pious lady had it privately removed, and buried it in the catacombs.