Sts. Fabian (Pope) & Sebastian
Fabian, a Roman, ruled the Church from the time of Maximian to that of Decius. He divided the city into seven districts and assigned a deacon to each to care for the poor. He appointed the same number of subdeacons to collect the Acts of the Martyrs from the records of the district notaries. He decreed that every year on Holy Thursday the old chrism should be burned and new chrism consecrated. At length, on January 20, he was crowned with martyrdom and buried in the cemetery of Callistus on the Appian Way.
Sebastian was a favorite with Diocletian for his noble birth and his bravery, and was made captain of the first company of the praetorian guards. He aided the Christians, whose faith he secretly practiced, both by deeds and by material help, and strengthened them in professing Christ. When all this was reported to Diocletian, he tried by every means to turn Sebastian away from faith in Christ. But when neither promises nor threats were successful, he ordered him to be tied to a post and shot through with arrows.
The servant of God was then thought by all to be dead; but shortly afterwards, restored to health, he appeared in Diocletians presence and boldly rebuked him for his wickedness. Then the tyrant ordered him beaten with rods until he expired.
Taken from The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin, Vol. I: Advent to Passion Sunday (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1963), pp. 1698-1699.
Epistle and Gospel for January 20