SYLVESTER was born in Rome toward the close of the third century. He was a young priest when the persecution of the Christians broke out under the tyrant Diocletian. Idols were erected at the corners of the streets, in the market-places, and over the public fountains, so that it was scarcely possible for a Christian to go abroad without being put to the test of offering sacrifice, with the alternative of apostasy or death. During this fiery trial, Sylvester strengthened the confessors and martyrs, God preserving his life from many dangers. In 312 a new era set in. Constantine, having triumphed under the " standard of the Cross," declared himself the protector of the Christians, and built them splendid churches. At this juncture Sylvester was elected to the chair of Peter, and was thus the first of the Roman Pontiffs to rule the flock of Christ in security and peace. He profited by these blessings to renew the discipline of the Church, and in two great Councils confirmed her sacred truths. In the Council of Arles he condemned the schism of the Donatists; and in that of Nicæa, the first general Council of the Church, he dealt Arianism its death-blow by declaring that Jesus Christ is the true and very God. Sylvester died A. D. 335.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Saint Peter of Alcantara
Introit • John 21, 15-17
If thou lovest Me, Simon Peter, feed My lambs, feed My sheep. Ps. 29, 1. I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over Me, Glory be …
O eternal Shepherd, do Thou look favorably upon Thy flock, which we beseech Thee, to guard and keep for evermore through the blessed Sylvester, Thy Supreme Pontiff, who Thou didst choose to be the chief shepherd of the whole Church. Through our Lord.
Epistle • 1 Peter 5, 1-4, 10-11
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle.
[He exhorts both priests and laity to their respective duties and recommends to all humility and watchfulness.]
BRETHREN, The ancients therefore that are among you, I beseech, who am myself also an ancient, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ: as also a partaker of that glory which is to be revealed in time to come: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking care of it, not by constraint, but willingly, according to God: not for filthy lucre' s sake, but voluntarily: Neither as lording it over the clergy, but being made a pattern of the flock from the heart. And when the prince of pastors shall appear, you shall receive a never fading crown of glory.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you. To him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.
Gradual • Ps. 106, 32, 31
Let them exalt him in the Church of the people, and praise him in the chair of the ancients. Let the mercies of the Lord give glory to him and his wonderful works to the children of men.
Alleluia, alleluia. Matth. 16, 18. Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church. Alleluia.
Gospel • Matt. 16, 13-19
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew.
[Christ refuses to shew the Pharisees a sign from heaven. Peter's confession is rewarded. He is rebuked for opposing Christ's passion. All his followers must deny themselves.]
At that time, Jesus came into the quarters of Caesarea Philippi, and He asked His disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is? But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.
Offertory • Jerem. 1, 9-10
Behold, I have given My words in thy mouth: Lo, I have set thee this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to waste and to destroy, and to build and to plant.
In thy loving kindness, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be moved by the offering of our gifts and enlighten Thy Church: that Thy flock may prosper everywhere and the shepherds, under Thy guidance, may be rendered acceptable to Thee. Through our Lord.
Communion • Matt. 16, 18
Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church.
Since Thy Church has been nourished by the sacred repast, govern her in Thy clemency, we beseech Thee, O Lord, so that under the guidance of Thy mighty rule she may enjoy greater freedom and abiding integrity of religion. Through our Lord.