O God, Who by the glorious confession of the holy martyrs
Marcellinus and Peter,
dost surround and protect us,
grant that we may go forward under their protection
and be sustained by their prayer.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.
Saints of the Roman Canon
The names of today’s martyrs are familiar to us. Saints Marcellinus and Peter are commemorated in the Roman Canon. Just think! For over 1500 years not a single Mass was offered without the names of these two saints being whispered by the priest at the altar. Saint Marcellinus was a Roman priest; Saint Peter was an exorcist . . . yes, an exorcist. Both were put to death for the faith under Diocletian in the year 303. So dear were these two saints to the Church of Rome that Constantine built a basilica in their honour.
Special to Me
Last year on this day, which also happens to be my birthday, I was privileged to offer Holy Mass in the Basilica of Saints Marcellinus and Peter on the Via Merulana, not far from Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. D. Ryan-Maria, from my own community of Santa Croce, and Sister Barbara, A.S.C.J. shared the graces of the day with me.
Invoke the Saints
The repeated invocation of the saints — simply naming them day after day — forges a wonderful friendship with them. The psalmist is right to say: “There are saints who dwell in His land; wondrous delight He gives me in their companionship” (Ps 15:3). Mother Church teaches us to speak the names of the saints: each name evokes a face, a heart, the mystery of a life and death transfigured by the Holy Spirit and taken up into the death and glory of Christ.
The companionship of the saints is one of the boons of our Catholic faith. (I so pity the Protestants with their empty calendars looking rather like a ghost town.) It is comforting to know that no matter what temptations, trials, and struggle we are experiencing, there is in the kingdom of heaven someone who has already been through them all, someone disposed to comfort and help us. Frequent the saints, cultivate their friendship. Take a lesson from the Church who never tires of naming them in her liturgy.