How a saint survived a hail of arrows
St Sebastian is traditionally depicted apparently in the throes of martyrdom, being shot through with arrows. But according to churchpop.com, these depictions don’t tell the whole story. Sebastian was a 3rd-century Roman soldier and a clandestine Christian. “Due to his courage and skill as a soldier, he quickly rose in the ranks. What his fellow pagan soldiers didn’t know is that he used his position of influence to spread the Gospel and aid persecuted Christians.”
Sebastian helped many to convert, which eventually led to his exposure. The Emperor Diocletian sentenced him to death in 286. And the sentence – that he be tied to a stake and shot through with arrows – was carried out.
However, when St Irene of Rome went to take his body down, she discovered that he was still alive – and nursed him back to health.
“When he was strong enough, Sebastian did not hide away or live a quiet life to avoid detection. Instead, he did what many saints have done: he went right back out into the public square and started proclaiming the Gospel.”
As the story goes, Diocletian himself saw Sebastian on the street, and ordered him to be clubbed to death. This time, the martyrdom really did take place.
The work-life balance of a medieval peasant
At aleteia.com, Zelda Caldwell noted that medieval workers had one major advantage over us: the amount of holiday. Caldwell cited the historian Lynn Stuart Parramore, who found that “a peasant would take anywhere from eight weeks to six months off each year. That’s compared to the American worker’s paltry eight vacation days a year.”
Caldwell said Passmore’s research suggested a number of causes: “The Church enforced mandatory holidays; time was taken off for weddings, wakes and births; a travelling carnival in town meant time off for everyone; nobody worked on Sundays; when there was no farm work to be done, a peasant had no work to do.”
Partying and the Blessed Sacrament
At Catholic World Report, KV Turley observed the Sisters of Life evangelising at St Patrick’s, Soho Square. The Canadian nuns stood outside the church, inviting Londoners to enter. “Their ready smiles attracted people. There was a curiosity, especially from young women, coupled with an instant desire to speak to these Sisters in religious habit.
At one point, “a group of young female partygoers” came by, and two of the Sisters “invited them to go to St Patrick’s and light a candle and offer a prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. I watched as, minutes later, arm-in-arm with the Sisters, this noisy group of young women, dressed for a nightclub rather than a church service, entered St Patrick’s. Soon after, that same group was kneeling in prayer at the front of the church. And in the candlelight, I noticed it was not just prayers that were offered, but also tears.”
✣ A bishop has hopped aboard a Harley-Davidson for a charity motorbike rally.
Bishop Lawrence Persico of Erie, Pennsylvania, agreed to take part in the fundraising event after being asked by parishioners. More than 1,000 motorcycles participated in the rally, called Roar on the Shore. Bishop Persico’s was the only one that bore a Vatican flag.
✣ Jacob Rees-Mogg has admitted that he has never changed a nappy.
The Conservative MP, who is a father of six, told LBC host Nigel Farage that he didn’t think “nanny would approve”. “I’m sure she’d think I wouldn’t do it properly,” he said. “Bearing in mind this is the nanny that has worked for my family, in September, for 52 years – so she knows a thing or two about doing it properly.”
His sixth child, Sixtus, was born earlier this month. Jonathan Wright, at CatholicHerald.co.uk, said it was an “excellent Catholic name”, noting that Sixtus II was a “saintly 3rd-century pope” who did much to “limit controversy” in the early Church.
✣ A former Herald contributor has been appointed editor of The Tablet.
Brendan Walsh, the Tablet’s literary editor since 2011, was for several years a regular contributor to the Charterhouse column at the back of the Herald.”
✣The week in quotations
The line between good and evil runs through … each of us Pope Francis Angelus
We are so sorry that we couldn’t save you Charlie Gard’s parents end their legal fight Press statement
It’s important that the church keeps up with modern society Education Secretary Justine Greening on same-sex marriages Sky News
The Pope Emeritus was deliberately exploited Archbishop Gänswein on coverage of Benedict XVI’s funeral message Interview with Il Giornale
✣Statistic of the week
57 The percentage of new refugee arrivals to America in June who are Christian Source: Pew