Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Patron of our Diocese

St. Cecilia is the name of our cathedral and the patron saint of our Archdiocese. Because she was so highly venerated by the ancient Roman Church, she is listed in the Canon of the Mass. Over the site where her home had stood a church was built in the fourth century. (Next year, John Norman should have his first Mass as a deacon in this church.) Her martyrdom probably occurred during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus, about the year 230. In 1599 her grave was opened and her body was found incorrupt. Cecilia is the patron saint of Church music.

In an era when women were thought to be marital property, when Cecilia and many of the other early virgin martyrs made vows of lifelong virginity, they were really early feminists. It is said that she converted many to Catholisim, including the pagen who was to marry her. This led to her martyrdom.

Paul Simon, of Simon and Garfunkel fame, wrote the song "The Coast" which references her when a family of musicians taking refuge in the Church of St. Cecilia, which seems proper since she is the patron saint of musicians.

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