This Is Romance? St. Valentine’s Story

He was a priest in Rome.No, he was a bishop in Interamna (now the region of Terni, Italy).No, he was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa.  *     *     *     * There’s a lot of confusion, actually, about St. Valentine, whose feast we celebrate today.The most popular legend places Valentine near Rome in the third century, during the reign of the Emperor Claudius III (nicknamed Claudius the Cruel).  According to the story, Claudius sought to expand the Roman Empire, and so needed … [Read more...]

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On St. Agnes’ Feastday, the Blessing of the Lambs

Sweet St. Agnes had taken a vow of chastity—so she refused when suitors wanted her hand in marriage.  Even the governor’s son Procop could not win her heart, since she was pledged to God.  Angered, Procop accused her of being a Christian—which was illegal—and when she would not renounce her faith, she was condemned to death.  She was only 13 years old when she was beheaded for her faith.On January 21, the Feast of St.Agnes, Pope Benedict continued a 132-year-old tradition—the Blessing of the … [Read more...]

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Remembering St. Bibiana, Virgin and Martyr

If there’s one thing you see a lot of in Rome, it’s churches.  Turn the corner on any street, and within a block you’re likely to see the façade of an ancient Catholic church.  You hear a lot about the more famous ones (the major basilicas, the Gesu, the Santa Maria sopra Minerva)—but there are over 900 churches in the city, most of them Catholic.December 2 is the feast of St. Bibiana, virgin and martyr—I thought I’d share a picture of St. Bibiana’s, a small church located near the Termini tr … [Read more...]

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