Marcellinus was a priest and Peter was an exorcist in the Church of Rome. During their imprisonment for the faith they brought many fellow prisoners to embrace the faith and to be baptized. They were so popular that when the decision was made to kill them, they were taken secretly, at night, to a nearby forest where they were forced to dig their own graves and then were beheaded. One of their executioners was so impressed by their courage that he became a Christian and revealed to the community the site of their grave. Their bodies were brought to the city and given a proper burial. A few decades later the Emperor Constantine built a church over their tomb and his own mother, St. Helen, was buried there.
The Seventh World Meeting of Families is being held in Milan, Italy these days. Let us pray with Pope Benedict in his Mission intention for this month that Christians there and throughout Europe may rediscover their true identity and share the Gospel with others. Our reflection is from the homily of Pope Benedict at the Fifth World Meeting of Families which was held in Valencia Spain in 2006.
In contemporary culture, we often see an excessive exaltation of the freedom of the individual as an autonomous subject, as if we were self-created and self-sufficient, apart from our relationship with others and our responsibilities in their regard. Attempts are being made to organize the life of society on the basis of subjective and ephemeral desires alone, with no reference to objective, prior truths such as the dignity of each human being and his inalienable rights and duties, which every social group is called to serve. The Church does not cease to remind us that true human freedom derives from our having been created in God’s image and likeness. Christian education is consequently an education in freedom and for freedom. "We do not do good as slaves, who are not free to act otherwise, but we do it because we are personally responsible for the world; because we love truth and goodness, because we love God himself and therefore his creatures as well. This is the true freedom to which the Holy Spirit wants to lead us.