Feast of the First Roman Martyrs

St. Cyprian was martyred in the fierce persecution of Valerian, on 14th September, 258. Pope St. Stephen suffered his martyrdom in Rome in the same persecution, on 2nd August. Having been conducted, by order of Valerian, to the Temple of Mars, that he might offer sacrifice to that idol; at the prayer of the holy Pontiff, the edifice tottered, as if shaken with an earthquake, and was partly ruined; the soldiers and the guards fled in terror: and St. Stephen, finding himself free, escaped with his people to the catacombs. Pursued shortly afterwards by the soldiers, it was found that "he was offering the Sacrifice of the Most High," and while so engaged was slain on the episcopal chair on which he was seated. His body was buried, together with the episcopal chair stained with his blood, on the spot. Such is the account in the Acts of the Martyrs, 2nd August, and in Baronius ad annum 252-259.

Here we find that the Roman Pontiff "offers sacrifice to the Most High," no other certainly than that of which St. Justin, Origen, St. Irenaeus and St. Cyprian speak; namely, the Sacrifice of the Mass.

The Real Presence Of Jesus Christ In The Eucharist
Cardinal Gaetano De Lai

Reprinted from Witness Ministries, a lay apostolate dedicated to renewing appreciation for the Mass as the greatest gift which God has given to His beloved spouse, the Church. Their mission is to show how, in the Eucharistic Liturgy, Jesus renews and transforms us–and the world–in His life and love.