Readings for the Memorial of

Sts. Perpetua and Felicity
Martyrs
March 7
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ENTRANCE ANTIPHON          
Gaudent in caelis animae Sanctorum, qui Christi vestigia sunt secuti; et quia pro eius amore sanguinem suum fuderunt, ideo cum Christo exsultant sine fine.
The souls of the Saints are rejoicing in heaven,
the Saints who followed the footsteps of Christ,
and since for love of him they shed their blood,
they now exult with Christ for ever.


COLLECT
O God, at the urging of whose love
the Martyrs Saints Perpetua and Felicity
defied their persecutors and overcame the torment of death,
grant, we ask, by their prayers, that we may ever grow in your love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


FIRST READING          Romans 8:31b-39
Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son
but handed him over for us all,
how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Who will bring a charge against God's chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us.
Who will condemn?
It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised,
who also is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us.
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
As it is written:

For your sake we are being slain all the day;
we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.

No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


REPONSORIAL PSALM          Psalm 126:1bc-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6
Anima nostra sicut passer erepta est de laqueo venantium.

R. (7) Our soul has escaped like a bird from the fowler's snare.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. Our soul has escaped like a bird from the fowler's snare..
Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. Our soul has escaped like a bird from the fowler's snare..
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those who sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. Our soul has escaped like a bird from the fowler's snare..
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. Our soul has escaped like a bird from the fowler's snare..


VERSE BEFORE THE GOSPEL          Matt 5:10
Beati qui persecutionem patiuntur propter iustitiam, quoniam ipsorum regnum caelorum
Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


GOSPEL          Matthew 10:34-39
Jesus said to his Apostles:
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man 'against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's enemies will be those of his household.'
"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."


PRAYER OVER THE OFFERINGS
As we joyfully offer, O Lord, this day's sacrifice,
recalling the heaven-sent victory of Saints Perpetua and Felicity,
we proclaim by it your mighty deeds
and rejoice at having gained their glorious intercession.
Through Christ our Lord.


COMMUNION ANTIPHON          2 Cor 4:11
In mortem tradimur propter Iesum, ut et vita Iesu manifestetur in carne nostra mortali.
For the sake of Jesus we are given up to death,
that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.


PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
As we draw everlasting joys, O Lord,
from our participation in this Sacrament
and from the Memorial of Saints Perpetua and Felicity,
we humbly implore,
that by your gift we may truly understand
what you grant us to enact in diligent service.
Through Christ our Lord.
The souls of the Saints are rejoicing in heaven,
the Saints who followed the footsteps of Christ,
and since for love of him they shed their blood,
they now exult with Christ for ever.




From the Common of Several Martyrs, except the following:

Office of Readings


SECOND READING

From the story of the death of the holy martyrs of Carthage
(The English Works of Sir Thomas More, London, 1557, p. 1454)

Called and chosen for the glory of the Lord

The day of the martyrs’ victory dawned. They marched from their cells into the amphitheatre, as if into heaven, with cheerful looks and graceful bearing. If they trembled it was for joy and not for fear.

Perpetua was the first to be thrown down, and she fell prostrate. She got up and, seeing that Felicity was prostrate, went over and reached out her hand to her and lifted her up. Both stood up together. The hostility of the crowd was appeased, and they were ordered to the gate called Sanavivaria. There Perpetua was welcomed by a catechumen named Rusticus. Rousing herself as if from sleep (so deeply had she been in spiritual ecstasy), she began to look around. To everyone’s amazement she said: “When are we going to be led to the beast?” When she heard that it had already happened she did not at first believe it until she saw the marks of violence on her body and her clothing. Then she beckoned to her brother and the catechumen, and addressed them in these words: “Stand firm in faith, love one another and do not be tempted to do anything wrong because of our sufferings.”

Saturus, too, in another gate, encouraged the soldier Pudens, saying: “Here I am, and just as I thought and foretold I have not yet felt any wild beast. Now believe with your whole heart: I will go there and be killed by the leopard in one bite.” And right at the end of the games, when he was thrown to the leopard he was in fact covered with so much blood from one bite that the people cried out to him: “Washed and saved, washed and saved!” And so, giving evidence of a second baptism, he was clearly saved who had been washed in this manner.

Then Saturus said to the soldier Pudens: “Farewell, and remember your faith as well as me; do not let these things frighten you; let them rather strengthen you.” At the same time he asked for the little ring from Pudens’s finger. After soaking it in his wound he returned it to Pudens as a keepsake, leaving him a pledge and a remembrance of his blood. Half dead, he was thrown along with the others into the usual place of slaughter.

The people, however, had demanded that the martyrs be led to the middle of the amphitheatre. They wanted to see the sword thrust into the bodies of the victims, so that their eyes might share in the slaughter. Without being asked they went where the people wanted them to go; but first they kissed one another, to complete their witness with the customary kiss of peace.

The others stood motionless and received the deathblow in silence, especially Saturus, who had gone up first and was first to die; he was helping Perpetua. But Perpetua, that she might experience the pain more deeply, rejoiced over her broken body and guided the shaking hand of the inexperienced gladiator to her throat. Such a woman – one before whom the unclean spirit trembled – could not perhaps have been killed, had she herself not willed it.

Bravest and happiest martyrs! You were called and chosen for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.


RESPONSORY
Christ Jesus is seated at God's right hand,
and there he pleads on our behalf.
- What can separate us from the love of Christ? Not suffering, hardship, persecution,
not hunger, destitution, peril or sword.

In all of these trials the victory is ours,
because of Christ who loves us.
- What can separate us from the love of Christ? Not suffering, hardship, persecution,
not hunger, destitution, peril or sword.


COLLECT
O God, at the urging of whose love
the Martyrs Saints Perpetua and Felicity
defied their persecutors and overcame the torment of death,
grant, we ask, by their prayers, that we may ever grow in your love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


The English translation of Psalm Responses, Alleluia Verses, Gospel Verses from Lectionary for Mass 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL); the English translation of Antiphons, Invitatories, Responsories, Intercessions, Psalm 95, the Canticle of the Lamb, Psalm Prayers, Non-Biblical Readings from The Liturgy of the Hours 1973, 1974, 1975, ICEL; excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved. Used with permission.



 
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