St. Sixtus II, Pope

Friends in Christ, Today is the Feast of Pope St. Sixtus.
Pope Sixtus was born in Greece as a pagan; he was a philosopher of great learning, and came to be a disciple of Christ, embracing the Catholic Faith; he was ordained a priest, and became the 24th Pope, elected in 257AD.
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In those days, being elected Pope was a death sentence. 24 of the first 32 Popes were martyred. Pope Sixtus was beloved, and has been included in Eucharistic Prayer I since the earliest centuries.
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In 258, while celebrating Mass in the catacombs, he was arrested by soldiers and brought before the emperor with two of his deacons. He was ordered to give up the Faith, which he would not, and was taken away for death with 4 others. His deacon Lawrence, yearning himself to be a martyr, cried out: ‘Where are you going father, without your son? He said, I am not deserting you my son, but greater trials for the faith of Christ await you! Three days from now my deacon, you will follow me.’ Pope Sixtus was there beheaded, having reigned as Pope only one year. Lawrence, his deacon, also was martyred 3 days later.
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In the 3rd century, St. Cyprian writes about those times: ‘The true state of affairs is this, he says. The Emperor has issued an edict that bishops, priests, and deacons shall suffer the death penalty without delay. Distinguished men of society are to be deprived of their rank and property; if they persist in professing Christianity they are to be put to death.
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Ladies of the upper classes are to be deprived of their property and exiled. Sixtus has already been put to death in a catacomb; they are pressing this persecution zealously. So let us all be prepared for spiritual combat, and fix our minds not on death but on paradise. Farewell then, in the Lord.
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A young Catholic mother said, ‘how hard it is to raise children, when the entire culture is giving the wrong messages.’ this is for sure the truth, but we know how to do this, it’s the Roman Empire all over again. Therefore, it is better for us not to hold out an unrealistic view of the world around us, it is better for us to see the glory of our true mission: to be leaven in this world; not to hide, but to be seeds of holiness – to be the Light of Christ, in a dark world. This is our glory, and this is when Christians are at our best.

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