May 25, 2019: POPE ST. URBAN I
May 25, 2019: COMMEMORATION OF ST. URBAN I, POPE AND MARTYR
Holy Pontiff! the joy of this day of thy triumph is enhanced by its being the anniversary of the entrance into heaven of thy illustrious successor Gregory. Thou hadst watched his combats here on earth, and his courage delighted thee, as being equal to that of the Martyrs. He, when dying at Salerno, thought of thy Martyrdom, and the thought inspired him with energy for his last trial. How admirable is the union that exists between the Church triumphant and militant! How sublime the brotherhood that exists between the Saints!
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who celebrate the feast of blessed Urban, thy Martyr and Bishop, may be aided by his prayers to thee on our behalf. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in unity of the Holy Ghost, God, World without end. Amen.
This day is beautified by the triumph of two sainted Popes; and the Seventh Gregory, when he quitted this earth, was introduced into the court of Heaven by one of his predecessors. Urban was a Martyr by the shedding of his blood; Gregory was a Martyr by the sufferings he had to endure during his whole pontificate. Both fought for the same glorious cause. Urban laid down his life, rather than obey an earthly potentate, who bade him degrade himself by adoring an idol; Gregory preferred to endure every temporal suffering, rather than allow the Church to be the slave of Cӕsar. Both of them adorn the Paschal Season with their beautiful palms. Our Risen Jesus said to Peter: Follow me! (St. John, xxi. 19)—and Peter followed him, even to the Cross. Urban and Gregory were Peter's successors, and, like him, they were the devoted Disciples of the same Divine Master. We honour them both on this day; and, in their triumph, we have a proof of the invincible power which, in every age, the Conqueror of death has communicated to them whom he appointed to bear testimony to the truth of his Resurrection.
The labours and merits of the holy Pope Urban are thus commemorated in the Liturgy.
Urban, a Roman by birth, governed the Church during the reign of the Emperor Alexander Severus. By his learning and holy life, he converted many to the Christian Faith. Among these were Valerian, the husband of St. Cecily, and Tiburtius, Valerian's brother; both of whom, afterwards, courageously suffered martyrdom. Urban wrote these words regarding property that is given to the Church: “Things that have been offered to the Lord by the Faithful, should not be put to any other use than such as is for the benefit of the Church, the Brethren in the Christian faith, or the poor: because they are the offerings of the Faithful, the return made for sin, and the patrimony of the poor.” He reigned six years, seven months, and four days. He was crowned with martyrdom, and was buried in the cemetery of Prӕtextatus, on the eighth of the Calends of June (May 25). In five ordinations held in the Decembers of different years, he ordained nine Priests, five Deacons, and eight Bishops for divers places.
Taken from: The Liturgical Year - The Paschal Time, Vol. II, Dublin, Edition 1871; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.
Pope St. Urban I, pray for us.