Friday, December 25, 2009

Saint Cyriacus Deacon and Martyr

Torre le Nocelle, Festival of San Ciriaco

San Ciriaco Diacono e Martire

Feast Day:  8 August
Patronage: Eye Diseases, Diabolical Possession, Epilepsy, Comune of Torre le Nocelle, Italy
Other Names: Cyriacus, Cyriac, Ciriaco

San Ciriaco was one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.  Born to a noble patrician family, he embraced the Christian religion and gave his wealth to the poor. He was ordained a deacon at Rome, under Pope Marcellinus.

The emperor at that time was Diocletian, assisted by Maximian, who happened to be his favorite. In honor of Diocletian, Maximian decided to build a gorgeous palace, complete with magnificent baths, constructed by the Christian.  Among the slaves were elderly men, as well as high-ranking priests and clerics.

A Roman nobleman, wanting to relieve the sufferings of these poor laborers, sent four Christians with alms and encouragement: Saint Cyriacus, Saint Sisinius, Saint Largus and Saint Smaragdus. They pursued their charities at the risk of their lives, and they worked vigorously alongside those who were growing very weak. When Maximian heard of it, he had Saint Sisinius and an old gentleman whom he had helped, decapitated.

San Ciriaco was well known to Diocletian, who was fond of him. Suddenly Diocletian’s daughter became possessed by a furious demon, and she announced that only Ciriaco could deliver her. Diocletian sent for him, and he cured her. She became a Christian like her mother, who is today Saint Serena.

A short time later the daughter of the king of Persia also became possessed, and cried out like Diocletian’s daughter that she could be delivered only by Ciriaco, who was in Rome. A message was sent to Diocletian, who asked his wife to persuade the deacon to go to Persia for this purpose. He did so with his two remaining Christian companions, and again cast out the demon, thus bringing about the conversion of the king, his family and four hundred persons, whom he baptized.

The three confessors returned to Rome, having refused all compensation for their services, saying that they had received the gifts of God gratuitously and wished to share them gratuitously, not deriving profit from them. The barbarous Maximian, hearing of their return in 303, had them seized, imprisoned and tortured, and finally decapitated with twenty other courageous Christians. Their bodies were first buried near the place of their execution on the Salarian Way, but were later removed to the city. An abbey in France, at Altorf in Alsace, possesses relics of Saint Cyriacus and bears his name.

Chiesa San Ciriaco in Torre le Nocelle, Italy

Novena Prayer to San Ciriaco

Preparatory Prayer:

Almighty and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy Heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy Divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the Saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy Divine Son.

Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saying, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.

Prayer In Honor of San Ciriaco:
O God, Who didst grant to San Ciriaco the grace of heroic charity and trustful resignation to Thy holy will; bestow upon us, through his intercession, the grace to walk before Thee in self-denying charity and to know and fulfill Thy will in all things. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Invocation of San Ciriaco: 
San Ciriaco, great servant of God, loving Christ with all thy heart, thou didst for His
sake also love thy fellow men, and didst serve them even at the peril of thy life, for which charity God rewarded thee with the power to overcome Satan, the arch-enemy, and to deliver the poor obsessed from his dreadful tyranny; implore for me of God an effective, real, and true charity. Show thy power over Satan also in me; deliver me from his influence when he tries to tempt me. Help me to repel his assaults and to gain the victory over him in life and in death. Amen.

My Lord and God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the Saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.

Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen.

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