Carissimi: Today’s Mass; The Decollation of St John the Baptist

The Beheading of St John the Baptist: Missa “Loquébar

Besides the chief feast of St. John the Baptist, that of his nativity, the Church commemorates on the twenty-ninth of August, his glorious death and birth into Heaven. Ever since the Fourth Century in Africa, in the East, in Syria, and in many places all over the world, the beheading of St. John the Baptist has been commemorated on August 29th. When in 362AD, pagans violated the tomb and burned his remains, some parts were saved by monks, and taken to St. Athanasius at Alexandria. The head is said to have been preserved at Jerusalem, and may later have been brought to Rome.

The Gospel of the Mass recounts his martyrdom. He died because his sanctity as precursor of Christ was intolerable to the immoral Herodias. He anticipated in his death the humiliations of Calvary, but he was rewarded by having his praises spoken by the Savior Himself, even if Jesus and His disciples did not actually assist at his funeral, as some legends maintain.

There is a commemoration also of Saint Sabina, a Roman widow of high birth, suffered martyrdom under Emperor Hadrian, early in the Second Century, and was buried in the same grave with St. Seraphia, her maid-servant, who had instructed her in the Faith.

INTROIT Psalm 118: 46, 47

I spoke of Thy testimonies before kings, and I was not ashamed: I meditated also on Thy commandments, which I loved exceedingly. (Ps. 91: 2) It is good to give praise to the Lord; and to sing to Thy name, O Most High. v. Glory be…etc


May the august festival of St. John the Baptist, Thy precursor and martyr, we beseech Thee, O Lord, effect for us the furtherance of our salvation. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.

Commemoration Collect for St. Sabina
God, Who, among other miracles of Thy power, hast conferred the victory of martyrdom even on the weaker sex, mercifully grant that we, who celebrate the natal feast of blessed Sabina, Thy virgin and martyr, may advance toward Thee through her example. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.

EPISTLE  Jeremias 1: 17-19

Lesson from Jeremias the Prophet. In those days: The word of the Lord came to me, saying, Gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak to Juda all that I command thee. Be not afraid at their presence; for I will make thee not to fear their countenance. For behold I have made thee this day a fortified city, and a pillar of iron, and a wall of brass, over all the land, to the kings of Juda, to the princes thereof, and to the priests, and to the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee, and shall not prevail: for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.

GRADUAL/ALLELUIA  Psalm 91: 13, 14

The just shall flourish like the palm-tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus in the house of the Lord. V. To show forth Thy mercy in the morning and Thy truth in the night. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Osee 14: 6) The just shall spring as the lily, and flourish forever before the Lord. Alleluia.

GOSPEL  Mark 6: 17-29

At that time: Herod sent and apprehended John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, the wife of Philip his brother, because he had married her. For John said to Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. Now Herodias laid snares for him, and was desirous to put him to death, and could not. For Herod feared John, knowing him to be a just and holy man, and kept him, and when he heard him did many things; and he heard him willingly. And when a convenient day was come, Herod made a supper for his birthday, for the princes, and tribunes, and chief men of Galilee. And when the daughter of the same Herodias had come in, and had danced, and pleased Herod, and them that were at table with him, the king said to the damsel, Ask of me what thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he swore to her, whatsoever thou shalt ask, I will give thee; though it be the half of my kingdom. Who, when she was gone out, said to her mother, What shall I ask? But she said, the head of John the Baptist. And when she was come in immediately with haste to the king,she asked, saying, I will that forthwith thou give me in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad; yet because of his oath, and because of them that were with him at table, he would not displease her; but sending an executioner he commanded that his head should be brought in a dish. And he beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a dish, and gave it to the damsel, and the damsel gave it to her mother. Which his disciples hearing, came, and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.


In thy strength, O Lord, the just man shall exult, and in Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly: Thou hast given him his heart’s desire.


The offerings which we bring, O Lord, in memory of the passion of Thy holy martyr, John the Baptist, we pray that, by his favor, they may profit us unto salvation. 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.

Secret Commemoration for St. Sabina
Graciously receive, O Lord, the gifts which we offer on the solemnity of Thy virgin and martyr, Sabina, by whose patronage we trust to be delivered from all evil. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.

PREFACE of the Common

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, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the 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:


O Lord, Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones.


May the solemn festival of St. John the Baptist bring us the grace, O Lord, both to venerate that which is signified in the great sacrament we have received, and to be joyful because this thing hath been more abundantly manifested in us. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.

Postcommunion Commemoration for St. Sabina
May the mysteries we have received, help us, O Lord, and, by the intercession of blessed Sabina, Thy virgin and martyr, may they cause us to rejoice in everlasting protection. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.