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St. Sebastian

Sebastian was the son of a wealthy Roman family. He was educated in Milan and became an officer of the imperial Roman army, and Captain of the Guard. He was a favorite of Emperor Diocletian. During Diocletian's persecution of the Christians, Sebastian visited them in prison, bringing both supplies and comfort. He is reported to have healed the wife of a fellow soldier by making the sign of the cross over her. During his time in the army he converted many soldiers and a governor.Charged as a Christian in 288 in Rome, Sebastian was tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. However, he survived, recovered, and returned to preach to Diocletian, where the emperor then had him beaten to death.During the 14th century, the random nature of the blak plague caused people to say that the plague was intruduced to thier villages through being shot by natures archers. In desparation they prayed for the intercession of a saint associated with archers, and Saint Sebastian became associated with the plague.

Italian bishops refine anti-abuse guidelines without victim input (Crux)

Francesco Zanardi, head of an Italian organization of clerical abuse victims, said, “You would think that pedophile priests don’t exist in Italy! ... 18 years after the scandals broke, the problem is still unresolved.”

Pope, Council of Europe's leader discuss sexual abuse of minors (Council of Europe)

The human rights organization has 47 member states; the organization’s leader, Thorbjorn Jagland said he and the Pope discussed efforts to combat the sexual abuse of minors.

The Word of God is not an ideology, Pope preaches at weekday Mass (Vatican News)

At a Mass celebrated in the chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae on January 17, Pope Francis warned against stubbornness of heart.

Canadian humanitarian activist meets with Pope, discusses child soldiers (Dalhousie University)

Roméo Dallaire, a former Canadian general and senator who was in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, met with Pope Francis to discuss their mutual opposition to child soldiers. “The Dallaire Initiative stands proudly with Pope Francis on his call for a more peaceful world and the elimination of the use of children in conflict worldwide,” his organization tweeted after their January 17 meeting.

With Zimbabwe in turmoil over fuel hikes, archbishop calls for restraint (CNS)

The southern African nation of 14 million (map) is 75% Protestant and 7% Catholic.

Archbishop Lori announces system to report allegations against Baltimore bishops (National Catholic Register)

“I pray this step and our continued commitment to child protection will send a clear message to the faithful of this local Church that abuse of any kind will not be tolerated and that those in positions of authority, namely bishops, will be held accountable for keeping the Church safe, especially for children and others who may be vulnerable,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore said.

Gunman kills estranged wife, wounds daughter at Houston parish (Houston Chronicle)

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and the parish priest issued statements following the shooting at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church.

Poll: 75% of Americans support 'substantial' restrictions on abortion (Our Sunday Visitor)

The majority of Americans, however, describe themselves as “pro-choice” rather than “pro-life,” and only 42% say that life begins at conception, according to an annual Marist Poll.

Vatican archbishop writes book on life after death (Il Fatto Quotidiano (Italian))

A lengthy review in L’Osservatore Romano’s Italian edition (p. 4) expressed hope that Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia’s new book would help reawaken the desire for heaven in the Catholic imagination. Archbishop Paglia, 73, is president of the Pontifical Academy for Life and grand chancellor of the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences.