January 20 - St. Sebastian's Feast Day



While there is but one mediator between God and man in Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5), it is good and pleasing to God that we should intercede (pray for) one another to the Lord (1 Timothy 2:1–4). And since Christ conquered death, the Church recognizes those alive and in the heavenly embrace of our Lord. We call these men and women saints who - by their intimate communion with God - are particularly situated to intercede for us here on earth. The Church recognizes each of these saints on particular days of the liturgical year. And TODAY, January 20, is the Feast Day of Saint Sebastian!

St. Sebastian - Patron Saint of Arrows Rugby Football Club

Sebastian’s early journey to Faith is unclear; however in his late 20s - with the intent of evangelization - he joined the imperial Roman army and served during the enormous Christian persecution of Emperor Diocletian. For his courage, he was promoted to the Praetorian Guards - an elite unit of the army - which allowed him to move more freely (with discretion) in the service of converting souls to Christ. When it was discovered that he was a Christian, Diocletian ordered Sebastian’s execution by archer firing squad for the perceived betrayal. He was shot full of arrows “as an urchin is full of pricks” and left for dead.

Miraculously, Sebastian was not dead and instead was nursed back to health by St. Irene of Rome - who had only realized he was still alive when she retrieved his body for burial. After returning to health, Sebastian confronted Dicoletian and chastised him for his sinful persecution of Christians. This shocked the Emperor because he was actually alive, yet the free speech expressed was what most astounded him. Diocletian ordered Sebastian to be clubbed to death and so he was effectively martyred a second time. His body was buried in the catacombs of Rome, where now stands the Basilica of St. Sebastian (outside the walls).

St. Sebastian is the patron saint of soldiers, athletes, those who desire a saintly death, and of ARROWS RFC.

A prayer to St. Sebastian

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 of Kings, 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 their patron saint so clearly has been. Amen.

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