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Monday, January 14, 2013

St. Felix

(d. ca. 255)

Ordinary Time: January 14

In one of the early persecutions (the Decian persecution), the priest Felix was first tortured on the rack, then thrown into a dungeon. While lying chained on broken glass, an angel appeared, loosed his bonds, and led him out to freedom. Later, when the persecution had subsided, he converted many to the Christian faith by his preaching and holy example. However, when he resumed his denunciation of pagan gods and false worship, he was again singled out for arrest and torture; this time he escaped by hiding in a secret recess between two adjacent walls. No sooner had he disappeared into the nook than a thick veil of cobwebs formed over the entrance so that no one suspected he was there. Three months later he died in peace, and is therefore a martyr only in the wider sense of the word.

The tomb of St. Felix at Nola, a small town in the south of Italy, was a much frequented place of pilgrimage in Christian antiquity, and in the Middle Ages veneration of him spread throughout the west.

St. Paulinus of Nola, who cherished a special devotion toward St. Felix, composed fourteen hymns in his honor.

The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

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