Saint Cecilia – Virgin & Martyr – November 22 –
She lived in the Third Century and is the Patron of Musicians. A cultivated young Patrician, her family loomed large in Rome’s history. After her acceptance of Baptism she vowed herself to God through a promise of perpetual virginity but her parents married her to Valerian of Trastevere. She told her new husband that she was often visited by an angel of heaven but in order to see the angel himself he must also receive Baptism. He agreed and took instruction and was Baptised into the Catholic faith by Pope St. Urban (223-230 AD) . Returning from the ceremony, he found her in prayer accompanied by an angel. The angel placed a crown on each of their heads and offered Valerian the grace of bringing his brother to the Faith.
During the great persecutions of this time, the two brothers risked their lives by secretly burying the bodies of Christians who had been executed for the Faith. They were arrested, martyred for Christ and buried by Cecilia at her villa on the Appian Way. Cecilia was also arrested and ordered to sacrifice to the pagan gods of Rome which she refused to do. The prefect Almachius shut her up in the baths where for two days she was left to be suffocated. In spite of little air and the intense heat of the baths she remained unharmed. An executioner was sent to cut off her head but was unable to kill her after three attempts. For another three days she remained living though mortally wounded to the neck, praying for and exhorting the crowds who visited her to accept Baptism and remain steadfast in the Faith. She died and was buried by Pope Urban. Her grave was rediscovered in 817AD and her body transferred to the church of St. Cecilia in Rome. Her tomb was again opened in 1599 and again found to be miraculously incorrupt. The account of 1599 states, “The body lies on its side, the limbs a little drawn up; the hands are delicate and fine…they are not locked, but crossed at the wrist: the arms are stretched out. The drapery is beautifully modeled and modestly covers the limbs. The head is enveloped in linen, but the general form is seen.” The feast day of St. Cecilia is November 22nd.
“Our parish is a living sign of God’s saving Word.
The people of St Cecilia parish have been called by God to foster a genuine, caring Catholic Christian community. He empowers us to be a visible sign of the Kingdom of God in the world.”
The Mission Statement of St Cecilia’s church is the foundation that our community is built on. We are built on stone, on the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptized into faith we are a living sign of the Lord Jesus. All of us strive to be consciously Christian in our attitudes, beliefs and actions. It is the goal of the priests, staff and members of the parish to open the doors of faith to all people and to encourage that faith especially in those who belong to our parish.
All of us have been called to foster a genuine atmosphere of love at St Cecilia’s. We are responsible for communicating the full faith of the Catholic Church. We are in union with the Bishop of Orange, Bishop Kevin Vann and with the Holy Father Francis of Rome. We hold to the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the Seven Sacraments and the Tradition of the Church as has been handed down to us through the ages.
As we learn more and more about our Catholic faith and experience more and more the life of God in us we become visible signs to God in our world. Following the advice of St Francis of Assisi, we strive to preach the Gospel through our actions and when necessary through words.
St Cecilia’s was especially impacted by the ministry of her second pastor, Monsignor John Sammon. He brought to people a living faith, joy and hope. One of the great gifts that he gave to the parish was a love for the foreign missions. Today, St Cecilia’s helps over 40 missions in and outside of the United States. Through financial help and parish members who monthly write to those in the mission field, we continue the work of the Lord to build up the Body of Christ wherever we can.
We have a parish school that continues to provide excellent education and faith formation to over 300 students each year. All of our parish ministries, visiting the sick, helping the poor, youth and young adult ministries are the tangible ways that we do God’s work. Our Light Team of youth leaders counts over 80 each year as they are formed into the Catholic leaders of today and tomorrow.
Our parish is known to be welcoming and warm. This is because of the wonderful people that make up our parish. We are culturally diverse: Anglo, Hispanic, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Indonesian. Though different we are threaded together by our Catholic faith.
Our mission is to love as He did. Our mission is to bring others to the Lord. Our mission is to prepare our own hearts for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Please don’t hesitate to join us! Welcome to St. Cecilia!