Memorial of Saint Perpetua and Saint Felicity, martyrs

Saints_Perpetua_and_Felicitas.jpg

Vibia Perpetua, a well-to-do young woman and mother, and Felicitas, a slave who gave birth to a child three days before suffering a martyr’s death, were catechumens. Against such prospective converts the persecution of Septimius Severus was particularly severe. These two holy women suffered death on the seventh of March in Carthage. The Breviary relates the following touching episode:

Now the day had arrived when they were to be thrown to the wild beasts. Felicitas began to be sorrowful because she feared she would have to wait longer than her companions. For eight months she had been pregnant and therefore, according to Roman law, could not be executed before the birth of the child. But the prayers of her fellow sufferers hastened her time and she gave birth to a baby girl.

While she was suffering from the pains of childbirth, one of the guards called out to her, “If you are suffering so much now, what will you do when you are thrown to the wild beasts?” “Now I suffer,” she answered, “but there Another will be in me, who will suffer for me, because I will suffer for Him.” When she was in travail she had sorrow, but when she was set before the wild beasts she rejoiced” (Martyrology).

Finally, on the seventh of March, these heroic women were led into the amphitheatre and severely scourged. Then they were tossed about by an exceptionally wild cow, gored, and thrown to the ground.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Perpetua — Cattle, death of children, martyrs. FelicityDeath of children; martyrs; sterility; to have male children; widows.

Symbols: Perpetua — Wild cow; spiked ladder guarded by a dragon. Felicity — Seven swords; cauldron of oil and sword; sword with seven heads; eight palms.

Things to Do:

  • The story of the sufferings of today’s saints is preserved for us in authentic “Acts of the Martyrs” that were composed partly by the saints themselves, and partly by eyewitnesses (perhaps Tertullian). The account may be classed with the most beautiful portions of ancient Christian literature that have come down to us. Read from this account here.

via Catholic Culture : Liturgical Year.


Daily Scripture Readings

First Reading Tb 1:3; 2:1a-8

I, Tobit, have walked all the days of my life on the paths of truth and righteousness. I performed many charitable works for my kinsmen and my people who had been deported with me to Nineveh, in Assyria.

On our festival of Pentecost, the feast of Weeks, a fine dinner was prepared for me, and I reclined to eat. The table was set for me, and when many different dishes were placed before me, I said to my son Tobiah: “My son, go out and try to find a poor man from among our kinsmen exiled here in Nineveh. If he is a sincere worshiper of God, bring him back with you, so that he can share this meal with me. Indeed, son, I shall wait for you to come back.”

Tobiah went out to look for some poor kinsman of ours. When he returned he exclaimed, “Father!” I said to him, “What is it, son?” He answered, “Father, one of our people has been murdered! His body lies in the market place where he was just strangled!” I sprang to my feet, leaving the dinner untouched; and I carried the dead man from the street and put him in one of the rooms, so that I might bury him after sunset. Returning to my own quarters, I washed myself and ate my food in sorrow. I was reminded of the oracle pronounced by the prophet Amos against Bethel:

“All your festivals shall be turned into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation.”

And I wept. Then at sunset I went out, dug a grave, and buried him.

The neighbors mocked me, saying to one another:

“He is still not afraid! Once before he was hunted down for execution because of this very thing; yet now that he has scarcely escaped, here he is again burying the dead!”


Responsorial Psalm Ps 112:1b-2, 3b-4, 5-6

R. (1b) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

His generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.

R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.


Gospel Mk 12:1-12

Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders in parables.

“A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey. At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat hi
m, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant. And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully. He sent yet another whom they killed. So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed. He had one other to send, a beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come, put the tenants to death, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture passage:

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?”

They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd, for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them. So they left him and went away.

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