St. Sylvester, Abbot
Sylvester was born in 1177 to the noble Gozzolini family of Osimo, Italy. Little is known of his early life. He did study law at Bologna and Padua, but became interested in theology. The story is told that when he switched his studies to theology and sought the priesthood, his father was so infuriated that he refused to speak to Sylvester for ten years.
After ordination Sylvester was a canon at Osimo where he worked diligently to bring the Gospel values to his people. His zeal did get him into difficulties with his bishop who lived a lax and disedifying life. When Sylvester respectfully rebuked him for his behavior, the bishop threatened to remove him from his post.
In 1227, Sylvester, who had long been drawn to the contemplative life, is said to have had a vision of the decaying body of a very handsome man. He resigned his rich post and became a hermit 30 miles from Osimo in a very lonely spot. He subsequently moved to Grotto Fucile and was soon surrounded by disciples who were drawn to his simple and holy life.
In 1231 He built his first monastery in a pagan ruins at Monte Fano near Fabriano, Italy. He chose a very austere interpretation of the Rule of St. Benedict as the rule for his monks to follow, and thus was born the Syvestrine order. This community was approved by Pope Innocent IV in 1247.
Sylvester governed his community for 36 years with great wisdom, prudence and love. At his death in 1267 there were 11 monasteries, either new or reformed, under his rule and guidance. These would later increase to 56 throughout Italy, Portugal and Brazil. Sylvester was canonized by Pope Clement VIII in 1598.
Today the congregation is part of the larger Benedictine Confederation, and while small, has monasteries in Italy and Ceylon. They are identified by their dark blue habits. While we don’t have a lot of historical data about Sylvester, what we do have gives us a picture of a man of great courage and simplicity. He faced the anger of his noble father to pursue a call to the unpopular service of God. He was not afraid to confront sin and was willing to give up his comfortable and rich position to live a life totally dedicated to prayer and service to God.
An account of his miracles and of the growth of his cultus can be found in Bolzonetti. His body was disinterred and placed in a shrine (1275–85) and is still honored in the church of Monte Fano. Clement IV first recognized the title of blessed popularly bestowed on Sylvester, who was inscribed as a saint in the Roman Martyrology by order of Clement VIII in 1598. His office and Mass were included in the General Roman Calendar in 1890 by Leo XIII with the rank of Double (third-class feast in the 1960 reform of Pope John XXIII), for celebration on 26 November, reducing to the status of a commemoration the celebration of Saint Peter of Alexandria, whose feast-day 26 November had been previously. In 1970, the celebration of Saint Sylvester Gozzolini was removed from the General Roman Calendar and left to local calendar as not of really universal importance.
St. Peter of Alexandria
St.Peter governed the Church of Alexandria during the persecution of Diocletian. The sentence of excommunication that he was the first to pronounce against the schismatics, Melitius and Arius, and which, despite the united efforts of powerful partisans, he strenuously upheld, proves that he possessed as much sagacity as zeal and firmness. But his most constant care was employed in guarding his flocks from the dangers arising out of persecution. He never ceased repeating to them that, in order not to fear death, it was needful to begin by dying to self, renouncing our will, and detaching ourselves from all things.
Feast of St Sylvester, Abbott with a commemoration of St Peter of Alexandria, Bishop and Martyr. Wednesday of the twenty – fourth week after Pentecost
Missa ‘Os justi’
Double / White
INTROIT: Psalm 36: 30-31
Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium: lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius.
Ps. Noli æmulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem.
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment: the law of his God is in his heart.
Ps. Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity.
Glory be to the Father.
O most merciful God, Who, when the holy Abbot Sylvester was piously pondering over the vanity of earthly things whilst he stood by an open grave, didst vouchsafe to call him to the desert, we supplicate Thee that, despising earthly things, after his example, we may forever enjoy Thy presence. Through our Lord.
Commemoration of St Peter of Alexandria
Look upon our infirmity, O almighty God, and, because the weight of our own evil deeds beareth us down, may the glorious intercession of blessed Peter, Thy Martyr and Bishop, protect us. Through our Lord.
EPISTLE Ecclesiasticus 45: 1-6
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom
He was beloved of God and men, whose memory is in benediction; He made him like the saints in glory, and magnified him in the fear of his enemies; and with his words he made prodigies to cease; He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and showed him his glory; He sanctified him in his faith and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh; for He heard him and his voice, and brought him into a cloud; and He gave him commandments before his face, and a law of life and instruction.
GRADUAL: Psalm 20: 4-5
Domine, prævenísti eum in benedictiónibus dulcédinis: posuísti in cápite ejus corónam de lápide pretióso. Vitam pétiit a te, et tribuísti ei longitúdinem diérum in sæculum sæculi.
O Lord, Thou hast prevented him with blessings of sweetness; Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. He asked life of Thee, and Thou hast given him length of days for ever and ever.
ALLELUIA: Psalm 91: 13
Alleluia, allelúia. Justus ut palma florébit: sicut cedrus Líbani multiplicábitur. Allelúia.
Alleluia, alleluia. The just shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus. Alleluia.
GOSPEL: Matthew 19: 27-29
The continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew
At that time, Peter said to Jesus: Behold we have left all things, and have followed Thee: what therefore shall we have? And Jesus said to them: Amen I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of His majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.
OFFERTORY: Psalm 20: 3, 4
Desiderium animæ ejus tribuisti ei, Domine, et voluntate labiorum ejus, non fraudasti eum: posuisti in capite ejus coronam de lapide pretioso.
Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, O Lord, and hast not withholden from him the will of his lips: Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, that, while we reverently offer these gifts to Thy divine majesty we may by pious preparation of soul and purity of heart, following the example of blessed Abbot Sylvester, become worthy to partake holily of the Body and Blood of Thy Son: Who with Thee livest and reignest.
Commemoration of St Peter of Alexandria
Graciously receive, O Lord, the sacrifice offered to Thee by the merits of blessed Peter, Thy Martyr and Bishop, and grant that it may be to us an unfailing help. Through our Lord.
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
SANCTUS, SANCTUS, SANCTUS Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria Tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.
COMMUNION: Luke 12: 42
This is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord setteth over his family: to give them their measure of wheat in due season.
We pray Thee, O Lord, that Thou grant unto us, refreshed with the divine banquet, to follow closely the footsteps of the holy Abbot Sylvester, that we may have an abundant reward with the saints in the kingdom of Thy glory. Through our Lord.
Commemoration of St Peter of Alexandria
Refreshed by participation in the sacred gift, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our God, that, through the intercession of blessed Peter, Thy Martyr and Bishop, we may ever experience the effect of the worship we offer. Through our Lord.