St. Sebastian was martyred in 288 A.D. and his feast day is celebrated on January 20th.
He was a trusted Roman soldier, a faithful Christian in the midst of the paganistic Roman military.
According to his legend, he was born in Gaul, went to Rome, and joined the Roman army in 283A.D., ostensibly to be of service to other Christians who were being persecuted by the Romans. Because of his courage he became one of the captains of the Praetorian Guards under Diocletian and Maximian, who were unaware that he was a Christian.
The emperor, Diocletian, hated all Christians and ordered many to be tortured and killed. Amidst the persecution, St. Sebastian encouraged the Christians to be faithful and strong to their faith, visited those who were imprisoned, bringing them supplies and comfort. St. Sebastian also converted many soldiers, several other prominent individuals, including the local prefect.
St. Sebastian was discovered as a Christian and was reported to the Emperor Diocletian. The Emperor scolded Sebastian and ordered him to be killed by arrows.
Archers riddled his body with arrows, his body was described as, “full of arrows as an urchin.” Believed to be dead, the archers left his body for retrieval and burial. Miraculously, the arrows did not kill him.
A Christian widow named Irene came to retrieve his body to bury it, and seeing that he was still alive, nursed him back to health.
Once well, Sebastian went in search of Diocletian and proceeded to criticize him loudly and publicly for his cruelties against Christians. Diocletian ordered his former guard to be beaten to death with clubs, then thrown into the common sewer.
His body was recovered by a pious lady, named Lucina, and she secretly buried him in the catacombs beneath Rome.
St. Sebastian’s story is one of courage, dedication, and strength.
St. Sebastian is the patron saint of soldiers, athletes, and those who desire a saintly death.
San Sebastian also represents the value of silent hard work. Like him, every Sebastinian should manifest the virtue of working hard without the need to tell everybody of what he has done or accomplished. Lastly, every Sebastinian true to the saint must continue to safeguard his faith especially in the midst of a consumeristic society. As one write-up aptly states: “Live thy, as Christian among pagans… unyielding to the demands of the world… strong and steadfast in whatever kind: suffer for thy faith… derision and exclusion from society enjoyment… if such be necessary to confess in word and deed…”