Opening Prayer from the Liturgy: Lord, help and sustain your people by the prayers of Pope Sylvester. Guide us always in this present life and bring us to the joy that never ends. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In your Bible: Matthew 16:13-19; The Keys of the Kingdom
Catechesis: On this, the seventh day in the octave of Christmas, Holy Mother Church remembers St. Sylvester I, pope and confessor. Pope Sylvester reigned as Pontiff for 21 years, was a friend of the Emperor Constantine and endorsed the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325. Some refer to Sylvester as the peace Pope as he became pope shortly after the end of centuries of bloody persecution. Like many of our early saints, legends have arisen around his memory: he is said to have freed Emperor Constantine from leprosy by baptism and killed a ferocious dragon that was contaminating the air with his poisonous breath.
Activity: Have you ever stopped to think about where we would be without our Church? What if we lacked the opportunity for reconciliation, Confirmation or Holy Communion. What if we lacked the gift of our faith - the faith that has been passed down to us from the time of the Apostles? What if we lacked a Supreme Pontiff and the world was ruled by the tyranny of evil, selfishness and hatred? Today, pray fervently for the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and for his collaborator, William Leo, our Bishop, and pray especially today for the person - parent, grandparent, priest, religious brother or sister, catechist or friend - who first taught you your faith.