St. Cecilia

St. Cecilia our Patron Saint

In the fourth century a Greek religious romance on the Loves of Cecilia and Valerian was written in glorification of virginal life with the purpose of taking the place of then-popular sensual romances.

Consequently, until better evidence is produced, we must conclude that St. Cecilia was not known or venerated in Rome until about the time when Pope Gelasius (496) introduced her name into his Sacramentary.

It is said that there was a church dedicated to St. Cecilia in Rome in the fifth century, in which Pope Symmachus held a council in 500.

The story of St. Cecilia is not without beauty or merit. She is said to have been quite close to God and prayed often:

In the city of Rome there was a virgin named Cecilia, who came from an extremely rich family and was given in marriage to a youth named Valerian. She wore sackcloth next to her skin, fasted, and invoked the saints, angels, and virgins, beseeching them to guard her virginity

During her wedding ceremony she was said to have sung in her heart to God and before the consummation of her nuptials, she told her husband she had taken a vow of virginity and had an angel protecting her. Valerian asked to see the angel as proof, and Cecilia told him he would have eyes to see once he traveled to the third milestone on the Via Appia (Appian Way) and was baptized by Pope Urbanus.

Following his baptism, Valerian returned to his wife and found an angel at her side. The angel then crowned Cecilia with a chaplet of rose and lily and when Valerian's brother, Tibertius, heard of the angel and his brother's baptism, he also was baptized and together the brothers dedicated their lives to burying the saints who were murdered each day by the prefect of the city, Turcius Almachius.

Both brothers were eventually arrested and brought before the prefect where they were executed after they refused to offer a sacrifice to the gods.

As her husband and brother-in-law buried the dead, St. Cecilia spent her time preaching and in her lifetime was able to convert over four hundred people, most of whom were baptized by Pope Urban.

Cecilia was later arrested and condemned to be suffocated in the baths. She was shut in for one night and one day, as fires were heaped up and stoked to a terrifying heat - but Cecilia did not even sweat.

When Almachius heard this, he sent an executioner to cut off her head in the baths.

The executioner struck her three times but was unable to decapitate her so he left her bleeding and she lived for three days. Crowds came to her and collected her blood while she preached to them or prayed. On the third day she died and was buried by Pope Urban and his deacons.

St. Cecilia is regarded as the patroness of music, because she heard heavenly music in her heart when she was married, and is represented in art with an organ or organ-pipes in her hand.

Officials exhumed her body in 1599 and found her to be incorrupt, the first of all incurrupt saints. She was draped in a silk veil and wore a gold embroidered dress. Officials only looked through the veil in an act of holy reverence and made no further examinations. They also reported a "mysterious and delightful flower-like odor which proceeded from the coffin."

St. Cecilia's remains were transferred to Cecilia's titular church in Trastevere and placed under the high altar.

In 1599 Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondrati, nephew of Pope Gregory XIV, rebuilt the church of St. Cecilia.

Parents: The First Educators

Parents: The First Educators

You are the first educators of your children, and we thank you for entrusting your children to us as your partners in the total formation of your child for life on earth and eternity in heaven. As a parent, you have three critical responsibilities:

  • You have a responsibility to your children to set a good example as a Catholic steward, take them to Mass with you on Sundays and holy days, provide for their material needs, personal formation and learning readiness.
  • You have a responsibility to the parish to be an active steward and participate at Mass on all Sundays and holy days, be active in parish ministries, provide for your religious education and your children’s, participate in the sacramental life of the Church, and make and keep a good faith pledge of your treasure.
  • You have a responsibility to the school to make sure your child is ready for school every day, support the school’s academic, religious, and disciplinary standards, communicate your concerns in a proper forum, and be honest in all dealings with the school.

For children to be successful in school there must be a close relationship and frequent communication between you and your child’s teacher. For that reason, we have implemented a diocesan-wide Internet-based system called PowerSchool. Through PowerSchool you can access your child’s grades and attendance at anytime as well as receive important information from the school. However, nothing, even PowerSchool, can replace personal contact with the school. Your interest, your involvement as a volunteer, and your participation in school activities demonstrate to your children how important to you their education is.

In addition, our schools are parish schools supported by all the members of the parish through stewardship. The high quality Catholic education that your children enjoy is a gift from the people of your parish. In the past, many parishioners made enormous sacrifices to provide for Catholic schools. You are accountable to them and to the parish for your stewardship.


Catholic Schools


The Impact of Catholic Schools

What is the impact of Catholic schools on the Church in the United States? Answers to this question are entangled with generational changes. In CARA’s national surveys of the adult Catholic population (CARA Catholic Polls; CCPs) a majority of those of the Pre-Vatican II Generation (born before 1943) and the Vatican II Generation (born 1943 to 1960) say they attended a Catholic primary school (51 percent). However, in the generations that followed many fewer report enrollment. Only 37 percent of Post-Vatican II Generation (born 1961 to 1981) Catholics and 23 percent of adult Catholics of the Millennial Generation (born 1982 or later) have attended a Catholic primary school at some point.

CARA surveyed an oversample of teenagers, ages 14 to 17 in 2012. As shown in the figure below, 14 percent said they attended a Catholic school only. An additional 18 percent attended Catholic schools and parish-based religious education. Overall, one in four Catholic teens reported having no religious education.

Catholic Education

K through 12

Young people of the third millennium must be a source of energy and leadership in our Church and our nation. Therefore, we must provide young people with an academically rigorous and doctrinally sound program of education and faith formation designed to strengthen their union with Christ and his Church. Catholic schools collaborate with parents and guardians in raising and forming their children as families struggle with the changing and challenging cultural and moral contexts in which they find themselves. Catholic schools provide young people with sound Church teaching through a broad-based curriculum, where faith and culture are intertwined in all areas of a school's life. By equipping our young people with a sound education, rooted in the Gospel message, the Person of Jesus Christ, and rich in the cherished traditions and liturgical practices of our faith, we ensure that they have the foundation to live morally and uprightly in our complex modern world.  This unique Catholic identity makes our Catholic elementary and secondary schools "Schools for the human person" and allows them to fill a critical role in the future life of our Church, our country, and our world (Catholic Schools on the Threshold, no.9)