NOVENA TO ST. SEBASTIAN
St. Sebastian’s Story
According to Franciscan Media: Almost nothing is historically certain about Sebastian except that he was a Roman martyr, was venerated in Milan and was buried on the Appian Way, probably near the present Basilica of St. Sebastian. Devotion to him spread rapidly, and he is mentioned in several martyrologies as early as 350.
The legend of Saint Sebastian is important in art, and there is a vast iconography. Scholars now agree that a pious fable has Sebastian entering the Roman army because only there could he assist the martyrs without arousing suspicion. Finally, he was found out, brought before Emperor Diocletian and delivered to Mauritanian archers to be shot to death. His body was pierced with arrows, and he was left for dead. But he was found still alive by those who came to bury him. He recovered, but refused to flee.
One day he took up a position near where the emperor was to pass. He accosted the emperor, denouncing him for his cruelty to Christians. This time the sentence of death was carried out. Sebastian was beaten to death with clubs. He was buried on the Appian Way, close to the catacombs that bear his name.
The fact that many of the early saints made such a tremendous impression on the Church—awakening widespread devotion and great praise from the greatest writers of the Church—is proof of the heroism of their lives. As has been said, legends may not be literally true. Yet they may express the very substance of the faith and courage evident in the lives of these heroes and heroines of Christ.
It is in this spirit that we encourage people to join us on a novena – nine days of prayer for our parish, from January 12 – 20 (St. Sebastian’s feast day). While in the past, novenas may have been seen as providing special powers, we know that God’s loving presence provides its own strength. Praying together for our parish’s future is a good thing.
- Click here to download the full nine-day novena prayers and reflections.
- Click here to download the Litany to St. Sebastian prayer.
More about Novenas
More about St. Sebastian
- Three-minute video: https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=103
The origins of this novena, courtesy of St. Sebastian, Liverpool, England