Lifelong CatechesisForming Catholic identity across generations
The sound of Alleluias fills the 50 days of Easter Sunday to Pentecost as we give thanks for the gift of our salvation. The Easter Triduum recalls the passion and resurrection of Christ in the sacred journey from Holy Thursday to Easter Vigil. "Dying he destroyed our death. Rising he restored our life."
St. Pancras, Martyr, d. c. 304
A young saint about who little is known is Pancras. He is thought to have been born in Phrygia around the year 290. He was brought to Rome by his uncle, Saint Dionysius, in the early Fourth Century where both were converted to Christianity. This was the period when the persecution by the emperor Diocletian was beginning. Though the circumstances are not known, it is believed that Pancras and his uncle were called upon to worship pagan gods and refused. Pancras, at the age of fourteen, was then beheaded. His uncle died later in prison.
Pancras was buried in a cemetery in Rome, which later was named after him. In the Seventh Century, Pope Vitalian sent relics of St. Pancras to England as the evangelization of that land was getting underway. St. Augustine of Canterbury later dedicated the first church built in England to the saint. Today, many churches and public places in England, including a borough and a railroad station, are named after this saint.
St. Pancras is a patron of children. He is also patron against false witness and perjury. In Germany, It is believed that those who have perjured themselves in the presence of this saint’s relics will be openly punished by God. St. Pancras is also invoked by those suffering from headaches and cramps.
St. Pancras is honored by an optional memorial on May 12.
Pancras' message today: At any age, it is never easy to stand up for one’s beliefs in the face of persecution, be it threat of death or just ridicule. This young saint had the courage to accept death rather than turn against his beliefs.