Feast Of Saint Peter's Chains - Church of St. Peter—ad Vincula (St. Peter in chains)



 Taken from

The Liturgical Year by Ven. Dom Prosper Guéranger 

Each feria of Lent has a proper Mass; whereas, in Advent, the Mass of the preceding Sunday is repeated during the week. This richness of the Lenten liturgy is a powerful means for our entering into the Church’s spirit, since she hereby brings before us, under so many forms, the sentiments suited to this holy time. From these ferial Masses we intend giving, for the respective days, the Collect, which is always the principal prayer, the Epistle, the Gospel, and the Prayer which is said ‘over the people’ at the end of the Mass. All this will provide us with most solid instruction; and as the selections from the Bible, which are each day brought before us, are not only some of the finest of the sacred volume, but are, moreover, singularly appropriate to Lent, their attentive perusal will be productive of a twofold advantage.

At Rome, today’s Station is in the church of Church of St. Peter ad Vincula (St. Peter in chains). It was built in the fifth century, by the empress Eudoxia, wife of Valentinian III., and possesses the venerable relic of St. Peter’s chains. We shall speak more fully of this basilica when we keep the feast of the apostle’s deliverance from prison, on August 1.

Virgin Mary and Christ Child with Saints Jovita and Faustinus by Vincenzo Foppa

Virgin Mary and Christ Child with Saints Jovita and Faustinus by Vincenzo Foppa


The two brothers whom we are to honour today suffered martyrdom in the beginning of the second century, and their memory has ever been celebrated in the Church. The glory of the great ones of this world passes away, and men soon forget even their very names. Historians have oftentimes a difficulty in proving that such heroes ever existed, or, if they did exist, that they flourished at such a period, or achieved anything worth notice. Brescia, the capital of one of the Italian provinces, can scarcely mention the names of those who were its governors or leading men in the second century; and yet here are two of her citizens, whose names will be handed down, with veneration and love, to the end of the world, and the whole of Christendom is filled with the praise of their glorious martyrdom. Glory, then, to these sainted brothers, whose example so eloquently preaches to us the great lesson of our season, fidelity in God’s service.

The sufferings which merited for them the crown of immortality, are thus recorded in the liturgy:

The two brothers, Faustinus and Jovita, were born of a noble family in Brescia. During the persecution under Trajan, they were led captives through various cities of Italy, in each of which they were made to endure most cruel sufferings, by reason of their brave confession of the Christian faith, which nothing could induce them to deny. At Brescia, they were for a long time confined in chains; then were exposed to wild beasts, and cast into fire, from neither of which tortures did they receive hurt or harm. From Brescia they were sent to Milan, still fettered with the same chains: and there their faith was put to the test of every torment that cruelty could devise; but, like gold that is tried by fire, their faith shone the brighter by these sufferings. After this, they were sent to Rome, where they received encouragement from Pope Evaristus; but there, also, they were made to endure most cruel pains. At length they were taken to Naples, and there, again, put to sundry tortures; after which, they were bound hand and foot, and cast into the sea; but were miraculously delivered by angels. Many persons were converted to the true faith, by seeing their courage in suffering, and the miracles they wrought. Finally, they were led back to Brescia, at the commencement of the reign of the Emperor Adrian; there they were beheaded, and received the crown of a glorious martyrdom.

When we compare our trials with yours, noble martyrs of Christ, and our combats with those that you had to fight, how grateful ought we to be to our Lord for having so mercifully taken our weakness into account! Should we have been able to endure the tortures, wherewith you had to purchase heaven, we that are so easily led to break the law of God, so tardy in our conversion, so weak in faith and charity and yet, we are made for that same heaven which you now possess. God holds out a crown to us also, and we are not at liberty to refuse it. Rouse up our courage, brave martyrs! Get us a spirit of resistance against the world and our evil inclinations; that thus we may confess our Lord Jesus Christ, not only with our lips, but with our works too, and testify, by our conduct, that we are Christians.





        (Indulgence of 10 years and 10 quarantines)

                          Violet vestments

                       Commentary taken from

The Liturgical Year by Ven. Dom Prosper Guéranger  


INTROIT – Psalm 122: 2, 1

SicutI óculi servórum in mánibus dominórum suórum: ita óculi nostri ad Dóminum, Deum nostrum, donec misereátur nobis: miserére nobis, Dómine, miserére nobis. Ps 122:1. Ad te levávi óculos meos: qui hábitas in coelis. Glória Patri.

As the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters, so are our eyes on the Lord, our God, till He have mercy on us. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us. Ps. To You I lift up my eyes, Who are enthroned in heaven. Glory be to the Father.


O God, our Saviour, direct our minds by Your heavenly teaching, so that the Lenten fast may profit us. Through our Lord.


O God, Who gladden us each year by the feast of Your holy Martyrs, Faustinus and Jovita, graciously grant that, as we rejoice in their merits, we may be inspired by their example.


Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body: and through the intercession of the blessed and glorious Mary, ever Virgin, mother of God, of Saint Joseph, of Thy holy apostles, Saints Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy loving kindness grant us safety and peace; that, all adversities and errors being overcome, Thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom.


O Almighty and Eternal God, Who hast dominion over both the living and the dead, and hast mercy on all Whom Thou knowest shall be Thine by faith and good works: we humbly beseech Thee that all for whom we have resolved to make supplication whether the present world still holds them in the flesh, or the world to come has already received them out of the body, may, through the intercession of all Thy saints, obtain of Thy goodness and clemency pardon for all their sins, 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, Amen.

Christ the Good Shepherd

EPISTLE – Ezechiel 34:11-16

Thus says the Lord God: I Myself will look after and tend My sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend My sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. I will lead them out from among the peoples and gather them from the foreign lands; I will bring them back to their own country and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel in the land’s ravines and all its inhabited places. In good pastures will I pasture them, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing ground. There they shall lie down on good grazing ground, and in rich pastures shall they be pastured on the mountains of Israel. I Myself will pasture My sheep; I Myself will give them rest, says the Lord God. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly, says the Lord almighty.

Our Lord here shows Himself to us as a Shepherd full of love for His sheep. Such, indeed, He truly is to men, during this season of mercy. A portion of His flock had gone astray, and was wandering to and fro amidst the darkness of this world; but Jesus did not forget them. He went in search of them, that He might gather them together. He sought them through lonely deserts, and rocky places, and brambles. He now speaks to them through His Church, and invites them to return. He sweetly encourages them, for perhaps they might fear and be ashamed to appear before Him, after so many sins. He promises them that, if they will but return to Him, they shall be fed on the richest pastures, near the river bank, and on the mountains of Israel. They are covered with wounds, but He will bind them up; they are weak, but He will strengthen them. He will once more give them fellowship with the faithful ones who never left Him, and He Himself will dwell with them for ever. Let the sinner, then, yield to this tender love; let him not refuse to make the efforts required for his conversion. If these efforts of penance seem painful to nature, let him recall to mind those happy days, when he was in grace, and in the fold of his good Shepherd. He may be so again. The gate of the fold is open; and thousands who like himself had gone astray are going in with joy and confidence. Let him follow them, and remember how Jesus has said : ‘ There shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine who need not penance.

GRADUAL – Psalm 88:10, 9

Behold, O God, our Protector, and look upon Your servants. V. O Lord God of Hosts, hear the prayers of Your servants.


O Lord, deal with us not according to our sins, nor requite us according to our crimes. V. Ps. O Lord, remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may Your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low. (Kneel.) V. Help us, O God, our Saviour, because of the glory of Your Name, O Lord; deliver us and pardon our sins for Your Name’s sake.

As the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

GOSPEL – Matthew 25:31- 46

And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink?  And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee?  And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?  Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

 We have just been listening to a prophet of the old Testament, inviting us to return to the good Shepherd; our Lord there put forth a very argument which love could devise, to persuade His lost sheep to return to Him: and here, on the very same day that the Church speaks to us of our God as being a gentle and compassionate Shepherd, she describes Him as an inflexible Judge. This loving Jesus, this charitable Physician of our souls, is seated on His dread tribunal, and cries out in His anger: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire! And where has the Church found this awful description? In the Gospel, that, is, in the very Law of love. But if we read our passage attentively, we shall find that He who pronounces this terrible anathema the same God, Whom the prophet has been just portraying as a Shepherd full of mercy, patience, and zeal for His sheep. Observe how. He is still a Shepherd, even on His judgment seat: He separates the sheep from the goats; He sets the sheep on His right hand, and the goats on His left; the comparison of a flock is still kept up. The Son of God will exercise His office of Shepherd even to the last day: only then, time will be at an end, and eternity will have begun; the reign of justice, too, will have succeeded the reign of mercy, for it is justice that will reward the good with the promised recompense, and that will punish impenitent sinners with eternal torments. How can the Christian, who believes that we are all to stand before this tribunal, refuse the invitation of the Church, who now presses him to make satisfaction for his sins? How can he hesitate to go through those easy penances, with which the divine mercy now deigns to be satisfied? Truly, man is his own worst enemy, if he can disregard these words of Jesus, who now is his Saviour, and then will be his Judge: Unless ye do penance, ye shall all perish.

OFFERTORY – Psalm 118:18, 26, 73

I will lift up my eyes, that I may consider Your wonders, O Lord; teach me Your statutes; give me discernment that I may learn Your commands.


Sanctify the gifts offered unto You, O Lord, and cleanse us from the stains of our sins. Through our Lord.

February 15 - Sts. Faustinus and Jovita


O Lord, heed our prayers which we pour forth on the feast of Your saints; so that we who cannot rely on our own righteousness may be helped by the merits of those who have been pleasing to You.


Graciously hear us, O God our Savior, and by the virtue of this sacrament protect us from all enemies of soul and body, bestowing on us both grace in this life and glory hereafter. Through our Lord.


O Almighty and Eternal God, O God, Who alone knowest the number of the elect to be admitted to the happiness of Heaven, grant, we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of all Thy saints, the names of all who have been recommended to our prayers and of all the faithful, may be inscribed in the book of blessed predestination. Protect us, O Lord, who assist at Thy mysteries; that, fixed upon things divine we may serve Thee in both body and mind, 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, Amen.


It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty and everlasting God. Who by the fasting of the body dost curb our vices, elevate our minds and bestow virtue and reward; through Christ our Lord. Through whom the angels praise Thy majesty, the dominions worship it, and the powers stand in awe. The heavens and the heavenly hosts, with the blessed seraphim join together in celebrating their joy. With these we pray Thee join our voices also, while we say with lowly praise:


COMMUNION Matthew 25: 40, 34

Amen I say to you: What you did for one of these, the least of My brethren, you did for Me: come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.


Refreshed by the sacramental gift of Your salvation, we humbly beseech You, O Lord, that, enjoying its savour, we may be made new by its action. Through our Lord.


Filled by these saving sacramental rites, we beseech You, O Lord, that the intercession of those whose festival we celebrate may help us.


Graciously hear us, O God our Savior, and by the virtue of this sacrament protect us from all enemies of soul and body, bestowing on us both grace in this life and glory hereafter. Through our Lord.


May the sacraments which we have received purify us, we beseech Thee, O almighty and merciful Lord; and through the intercession of all Thy saints, grant that this Thy sacrament may not be unto us a condemnation, but a salutary intercession for pardon; may it be the washing away of sin, the strength of the weak, a protection against all dangers of the world, and a remission of all the sins of the faithful, whether living or dead, through our Lord.


Bow your heads to God.

Loose the bonds of our sins, we beseech You, O Lord, and mercifully turn aside whatever punishment we deserve for them. Through our Lord.

Let us close the day by reciting the following hymn, which was composed by St. Gregory the Great, and is used by, the Church in her Matins during Lent.



Let us observe this most solemn fast of forty days, which has been handed down to us by sacred tradition.

The Law and the Prophets first introduced it; and afterwards, Christ, the Master and Maker of all seasons, consecrated it by himself observing it.

Let us, therefore, be more sparing in our words; let us retrench somewhat of our food, and drink, and sleep, and merriment, and redouble our watchfulness.

Let us shun those noxious things, which play such havoc with unguarded souls: and let us avoid whatsoever could strengthen the tyranny of our crafty enemy.

Let us appease the anger of our Judge, and pour out our tears be ore him; let us prostrate ourselves, and thus cry to him in suppliant prayer:

We have offended thy goodness, O God, by our sins: forgive us, and pour out thy mercy upon us.

Remember that we are the work of thy hands, frail though we be: we beseech thee, suffer not another to usurp the honour of thy name.

Pardon us the evil we have done, and grant us good things, even beyond our prayer: that thus we may be well pleasing to thee, now and for ever.

O blessed Trinity, O undivided Unity, grant us, thy servants, to reap fruit from the fast thou hast given us. Amen.



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