Today is the Feast of Saint Apollinaris of Ravenna
(d. c. 79 A.D.)
Said to have been a disciple of Saint Peter, Apollinaris made bold to preach the Gospel to the natives of the ancient Roman stronghold of Ravenna in the late 1st century. Incensed by the many healings that were brought about by his prayers, the pagan priests instigated repeated oppressions. Tradition holds that Apollinaris was of advanced age when he received the martyr’s crown. In the 10th century, Romuald, a young native of Ravenna, went to a monastery under Apollinaris’ patronage to do penance after his father had killed another man in a duel. Apollinaris appeared to Romuald in a vision, encouraging the youth’s monastic vocation. Romuald became a saint and founder of the Camaldolese order.
Credit: MAGNIFICAT, June 20, 2020; https://www.magnificat.net
Following Jesus involves risks—sometimes the supreme risk of life itself. Martyrs are people who would rather accept the risk of death than deny the cornerstone of their whole life: faith in Jesus Christ. Everyone will die eventually—the persecutors and those persecuted. The question is what kind of a conscience people will bring before the Lord for judgment. Remembering the witness of past and present martyrs can help us make the often small sacrifices that following Jesus today may require.
Credit: Franciscan Media, June 20, 2020; https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-apollinaris/
Direct your faithful, Lord, in the way of eternal salvation, which Bishop Saint Apollinaris showed by his teaching and martyrdom, and grant, through his intercession, that we may so persevere in keeping your commandments as to merit being crowned with him. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer in honor of Saint Apollinaris
As is well known, the famous sacred monument desired by Archbishop Ursicinus (534-538) and built under the supervision of Julian Argentarius, patron of Ravenna, where the important Roman port was located — hence the name “in Classe” — offers the visitor a view, framed by the triumphal arch, of Christ in the act of blessing, surrounded by the Evangelists; then in the apse vault stands a great jeweled cross with the face of the transfigured Christ in the centre, and below, among many symbolic figures, is an image of St Apollinaris in a gesture of priestly prayer. Thus the basilica’s very structure, marked by a splendid series of columns, shows Christ as the centre of faith and God’s response to the expectations of the restless human heart to every pilgrim who crosses its threshold in search of light and peace.
Saint John Paul II
Saint Apollinaris of Ravenna, Bishop and martyr, pray for us.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family pray for us. Amen.