Images of St Sebastian that abound usually depict his suffering; his being tied to a tree with arrows piercing through him. He appears young, strong and athletic, but these depictions do not indicate that Sebastian was a fully paid up member of his local gym or even that he liked to play soccer now and then, but rather they depict his incessant physical endurance and his great energy in spreading and defending his beloved Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is this energy of Sebastian, or what we might properly call ‘zeal’, that has given him the reputation as patron saint of athletes.
He was born sometime around the year 256, and like many Saints of the time he is subject to the usual hagiography and legend, so we must be discerning when finding the truth behind the story of his life, for such was the mode of history in ancient times. Sebastian was said to have suffered under the Emperor Diocletian, the last great persecutor of the Church, before its emancipation under Constantine. We must question therefore the date of Sebastian’s birth here as the persecutions did not begin until the year 303 or so.
Sebastian was educated in Milan and secured an eminent post as captain of the Praetorian Guard under the anti-Christian emperors Diocletian and Maximian. This post was given in ignorance of Sebastian’s Christian faith. Meanwhile Sebastian was supporting and encouraging his fellow brothers and sisters who were suffering simply for being Christian. An example of this is recorded of a certain pair of deacon twins, namely Mark and Marcellian who were arrested for refusing to offer sacrifice to the Roman gods. Not only did Sebastian support them in their faith but he is said to have converted their parents who were encouraging their twin sons to renounce the Christian religion so as to spare their lives.
The tireless influence of Sebastian spread even to a Roman official Nicostratus and his mute wife Zoe whom Sebastian is said to have healed. As a result many of the prisoners were freed before Nicrostratus legged it, retiring to the country of Campania. Sebastian we expect by now should have been dismissed from his post as Captain and promptly given his P45, but the incensed emperor Diocletian commanded that he be brought to a field, where he would be bound and killed by a firing squad of archers. After been left for dead by the firing squad a certain Irene of Rome retrieved his body and sought to ascertain a decent burial for him. Finding him still alive she nursed him back to health. Hey one way to get back at your boss who arranged to have you shot!
While recovering from his ordeal Sebastian continued in God’s service, healing a blind girl with the words: Do you want to be with God? The sight he restored we can assume was far more than physical.
In his passion and athletic desire for God he pursued Diocletian once more, confronting him with strong words as he passed by. The emperor was furious and ordered him beaten unto death and deposed of in a privy! Legend has it that Sebastian spirit spoke of his awful resting place to a Christian widow so that she would ensure it received a decent Christian burial.
While many athletes pray to Sebastian before they enjoy their sports, treating him as some sort of good luck charm, we Christians still running the race of our faith should remember him, asking him to help us persevere in a faith, a fight in which we have yet to shed our blood.
Download a PDF of this article here
BREAKING NEWS … RTE Radio 1 will be broadcasting the 7 p.m. Mass from St. Marys on the Monday the 6th of January …. We will also include the link so you those who can not attend in person can pray with us through RTE player. More information will come next week regarding this very exciting event for our Parish.
Parish Race Day
Come and Help Restore our Iconic Blue Church at Our Lady of the Wayside. On Sunday the 11th of May Sandyford Parish will sponsor the Leopardstown Racecourse.
Those who buy a place for €100 per person will be treated to lunch at the Pavillion Restaurant, rewarded with the days Racecard, tips, music and much more. There are 62 tables with 10 seats each so hurry and book your places now. Tables can be reserved for $1,000. This promises to be a wonderful event for the whole family and support our local community.
Click on the image to the right to see the full size flyer.
To book your tickets, please call 01-295-6414
Email : email@example.com
Web : www.sandyfordparish.org
Parish Pilgrimage to Poland 2014
Following our Parish ‘Year of Faith’ Pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi in June 2013 a number of people have been asking if we could facilitate a pilgrimage this year. In April 2014 Pope Francis will celebrate the Canonisations of Blessed Pope John XXlll and Blessed John- Paul ll. In light of this the parish proposes a pilgrimage to Krakow, Poland ‘Walking in the Footsteps of Pope John –Paul ll‘ from Monday 14th—Mon 21st July 2014. Copies of the proposed itinerary are available at the church doors. All bookings are made directly with MAP Travel but we ask that if you are booking you would also contact the parish office and let us know of your intention to do so . Please spread the word as this is a very beautiful trip which balances all aspects of a prayerful pilgrimage with ample time to rest and enjoy the beautiful city of Krackow and the surrounding area. Please see the proposed Itinerary at the doors of the church. Download the Proposed Itinerary Here and Booking Form Here