Pope Saint Fabian was a layman when elected pope, a position he held from January 10, 236 until his martyrdom on January 20, 250. St Sebastian died in 288 under Diocletian. From the Roman Breviary:
“Fabian was a Roman, and sat as Pope from the reign of the Emperor Maximian till that of Decius. He appointed a deacon to each of the seven districts of Rome to look after the poor. He likewise appointed the same number of subdeacons to collect the acts of the Martyrs from the records kept by the seven district notaries. It was by him that it was ordained that every Maundy Thursday the old Chrism should be burnt and new consecrated. He was crowned with martyrdom upon the 20th of January, in the persecution of Decius, and buried in the cemetery of St. Callistus on the Appian Way, having sat in the throne of Peter fifteen years and four days. He held five Advent ordinations, in which he ordained twenty-two priests, seven deacons, and eleven bishops for divers Sees.
The father of Sebastian was of Narbonne, and his mother a Milanese. He was a great favourite of the Emperor Diocletian, both on account of his noble birth and his personal bravery, and was by him appointed captain of the first company of the Praetorian Guards. He was in secret a Christian, and often supported the others both by good offices and money. When some shewed signs of yielding under persecution, he so successfully exhorted them, that, for Jesus Christ’s sake, many offered themselves to the tormentors. Among these were the brothers Mark and Marcellian who were imprisoned at Rome in the house of Nicostratus. The wife of Nicostratus himself, named Zoe, had lost her voice, but it was restored to her at the prayer of Sebastian. These facts becoming known to Diocletian, he sent for Sebastian, and after violently rebuking him, used every means to turn him from his faith in Christ. But as neither promises nor threats availed, he ordered him to be tied to a post and shot to death with arrows.
Sebastian was treated accordingly, and left for dead, but in the night the holy widow Irene sent for the body in order to bury it, and then found that he was still alive, and nursed him in her own house. As soon as his health was restored, he went out to meet Diocletian, and boldly rebuked him for his wickedness. The Emperor was first thunderstruck at the sight of a man whom he believed to been some time dead, but afterwards, frenzied with rage at the reproaches of Sebastian, ordered him to be beaten to death with rods, under which torment the martyr yielded his blessed soul to God. His body was thrown into a sewer, but he appeared in sleep to Lucina, and made known to her where it was, and where he would have it buried. She accordingly found it and laid it in those Catacombs, over which a famous Church hath since been built, called St. Sebastian’s-without-the-Walls.”
INTROIT Ps 78:11-12; 78:10 Intret in conspéctu tuo
Let the prisoners’ sighing come before You, O Lord; repay our neighbours sevenfold into their bosoms; avenge the shedding of Your servants’ blood. Ps 78:1 O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance; they have defiled Your holy temple, they have made Jerusalem as a place to keep fruit. V. Glory be. Let the prisoners’ sighing come before You…
Be mindful of our weakness, almighty God, and since the burden of our sins weighs heavily upon us, may the glorious intercession of Your holy Martyrs Fabian and Sebastian sustain us. Through the same 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
EPISTLE Hebr 11:33-39
Lesson from the letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Jews. Brethren: The Saints by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, recovered strength from weakness, became valiant in battle, put to flight armies of aliens. Women had their dead restored to them by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might find a better resurrection. Others had experience of mockery and stripes, yes, even of chains and prisons. They were stoned, they were sawed asunder, they were tempted, they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, distressed, afflicted – of whom the world was not worthy – wandering in deserts, mountains, caves and holes in the earth. And all these, approved by the testimony of faith, were found in Christ Jesus our Lord.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Exodus 15:11
God is glorious in His Saints, wonderful in majesty, a worker of wonders. V. Your right hand, O Lord, is magnificent in power; Your right hand, O Lord, has shattered the enemy. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps 144:10-11 Let Your faithful ones bless You, O Lord. Let them discourse of the glory of Your kingdom. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 6:17-23
At that time, Jesus coming down from the mountain, took His stand on a level stretch, with a crowd of His disciples, and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to listen to Him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd were trying to touch Him, for power went forth from Him and healed all. And He lifted up His eyes to His disciples, and said, Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed shall you be when men hate you, and when they shut you out, and reproach you, and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice on that day and exult, for behold your reward is great in heaven.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps 31:11
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, you just; exult, all you upright of heart.
Graciously accept, O Lord, the sacrifices dedicated to You in honor of Your blessed Martyrs Fabian and Sebastian, and grant that they may bring us constant help. 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 Holy Trinity
It it 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, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Luke 6:18-19
A multitude of sick, and those who were troubled with unclean spirits, came to Him; for power went forth from Him and healed all.
Refreshed by partaking of the sacred gift, we beseech You, O Lord our God, that we may enjoy the benefits of the rite we perform through the intercession of blessed Fabian and Sebastian, Your Martyrs. 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.