Though we know very little about these two martyrs under Diocletian, there is no question that the early church venerated them. Evidence of the respect in which they were held are the basilica Constantine built over their tombs and the presence of their names in the Canon of the Mass.
Pope St. Damasus says that he heard the story of these two martyrs from their executioner who became a Christian after their deaths. Marcellinus, a priest, and Peter, an exorcist, died in the year 304. According to a legendary account of their martyrdom, the two Romans saw their imprisonment as just one more opportunity to evangelize and managed to convert their jailer and his family. The legend also says that they were beheaded in the forest so that other Christians wouldn’t have a chance to bury and venerate their bodies. Two women found the bodies, however, and had them properly buried.
INTROIT Psalm 33:18
When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress He rescues them. Ps 33:2 I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall be ever in my mouth. V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress He rescues them.
O God, Who gladden us each year by the feast of Your holy Martyrs, Marcellinus, Peter and Erasmus, graciously grant that, as we rejoice in their merits, we may be inspired by their example. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.
Collect of the Souls
From all perils of soul and body defend us, O Lord, we beseech thee, and by the intercession of blessed and gloriosus ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and of blessed N. and all the Saints, graciously grant us safety and peace that all adversities and errors being overcome, thy Church may serve thee in security and freedom…
for the Church
Mercifully hear the prayers of thy Church, we beseech thee, O Lord, that all adversities and errors being overcome, she may serve thee in security and feedom. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
LESSON Romans 8:18 – 23.
Lesson from the letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Romans. Brethren: I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that will be revealed in us. For the eager longing of creation awaits the revelation of the sons of God. For creation was made subject to vanity – not by its own will but by reason of Him Who made it subject – in hope, because creation itself also will be delivered from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God. For we know that all creation groans and travails in pain until now. And not only it, but we ourselves also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit – we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption as sons, the redemption of our body, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
GRADUAL Psalm 33:18 – 19.
When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress He rescues them. V. The Lord is close to those who are contrite of heart; and those who are humble in spirit He saves. Alleluia, alleluia. V. John 15:16. I have chosen you out of the world, that you should go, and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 21:9 – 19.
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; these things must first come to pass, but the end will not be at once. Then He said to them, Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be great earthquakes in various places, and pestilences and famines, and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all these things they will arrest you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, dragging you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. It shall lead to your bearing witness. Resolve therefore in your hearts not to meditate beforehand how you are to make your defense. For I Myself will give you utterance and wisdom, which all your adversaries will not be able to resist or gainsay. But you will be delivered up by your parents and brothers and relatives and friends; and some of you they will put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake; yet not a hair of your head shall perish. By your patience you will win your souls.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 31:11
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, you just; exult, all you upright of heart.
We beseech You, O Lord, that this sacrificial gift, which we offer in commemorating the death of Your blessed Martyrs, may loose the bonds of our sins and bestow upon us the gifts of Your mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.
Of the souls
Hear us, O God, our salvation that through the power of this Sacrament thou mayest defend us from all enemies of soul and body and bestow upon us grace here and glory hereafter…
for the Church
Protect us, O Lord, who celebrate thy mysteries, that holding fast to divine things, we may serve thee with body and soul. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Wisdom 3:1-3
The souls of the just are in the hands of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view, of the foolish, to be dead; but they are in peace.
We who have been filled with Your sacred gifts, humbly pray You, O Lord, that, what we celebrate as an act of our bounded duty, we may feel in the increase of Your saving grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Of the souls
May the offering of this divine Sacrament cleanse and protect us, O Lord we beseech thee, and by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of blessed N. and all the Saints, may it purify us from all sin, and free us from all adversity…
for the Church
We beseech thee, O Lord, our God, that thou permit not those, to whom thou hast given a participation of divine things to be subjected to human dangers. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.