St. Soter was raised to the papacy upon the death of St. Anicetus, in 173. By the sweetness of his discourses he comforted all persons with the tenderness of a father, and assisted the indigent with liberal alms, especially those who suffered for the faith. He liberally extended his charities, according to the custom of his predecessors, to remote churches, particularly to that of Corinth, to which he addressed an excellent letter, as St. Dionysius of Corinth testifies in his letter of thanks, who adds that his letter was found worthy to be read for their edification on Sundays at their assemblies to celebrate the divine mysteries, together with the letter of St. Clement, pope. St. Soter vigorously opposed the heresy of Montanus, and governed the Church to the year 177.
St. Caius, Pope and Martyr
From The Liturgical Year – Ven. Dom Gueranger, O.S.B.
The Palms of two martyred Popes are intertwined and grace this day of the Calendar. Soter suffered for Christ in the second, and Caius in the third century; a hundred years separate them, and yet we have the same energy of faith, the same jealous fidelity to keep intact the depositum left by Christ to his Church. What human society ever existed, that produced heroes for century after century? The Society, however, which was founded by Christ, in other words, the Church, is based on that traditional devotedness, which consists in laying down one’s life for the Faith. And if so, we may be sure that the spirit of Martyrdom would show itself in them that were the Heads and Fathers of this Society. The first thirty Successors of St. Peter paid dearly for the honor of the Supreme Pontificate; they were Martyrs. How grand the Throne of our Risen Jesus, surrounded as it is by all these Kings clad in their triumphant scarlet robes! Soter was the immediate successor of Anicetus, whose feast we kept on the 17th of this month. Time has effaced the details of his life. Eusebius, however, gives us a fragment of a Letter written by St. Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, wherein thanks are expressed to the Pontiff for the alms be sent to the Faithful of that Church, during a famine. An Apostolic Letter was sent with these alms; and St. Dionysius tells us, that it was read in the assemblies of the Faithful, together with the one addressed to the same Church, in the preceding century, by St. Clement. The Roman Pontiffs have ever united charity to their fidelity in preserving pure the Deposit of our Faith. With regard to Caius, he suffered death in the terrible Persecution under Diocletian; and little more than a mere mention of his name is given in the annals of Christian Rome.
INTROITUS – John 21: 15-17
Si diligis Me, Simon Petre, pasce agnos meos, pasce oves meas. Allelúia, allelúia.
Ps. 29: 1. Exaltábo te, Dómine, quóniam suscepísti me, nec delectásti inimícos meos super me. Gloria Patri.
If thou lovest Me, Simon Peter, feed My lambs; feed My sheep. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me. Glory be to the Father.
Eternal Shepherd, do Thou look favourably upon Thy flock, which we beseech Thee to guard and keep for evermore through the blessed Soter and Caius, Thy Martyrs and Supreme Pontiffs, whom Thou didst choose to be the chief shepherds of the whole Church. Through our Lord.
EPISTLE – I Peter 5: 1-4, 10-11
Dearly beloved: the ancients therefore that are among you, I beseech, who am myself also an ancient, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ: as also a partaker of that glory which is to be revealed in time to come: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking care of it, not by constraint, but willingly, according to God: not for filthy lucre’s sake, but voluntarily: neither as lording it over the clergy, but being made a pattern of the flock from the heart. And when the prince of pastors shall appear, you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory. But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you. To Him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.
Alleluia, alleluia. Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church. Alleluia.
Alleluia. Thou shalt make them princes over all the earth: they shall remember Thy name, O Lord. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 16: 13-19
At that time, Jesus came into the quarters of Cæsarea Philippi, and He asked His disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is? But they said: Some, John the Baptist, and other some, Elias, and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father Who is in Heaven: and I say to thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and to thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven.
OFFERTORY – Jeremiah 1: 9-10
Behold I have given My words in thy mouth: lo, I have set thee this day over the nations, and over the kingdoms, to waste and to destroy, and to build and to plant. Alleluia.
In Thy loving kindness, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be moved by the offering of our gifts and enlighten Thy Church: that Thy flock may prosper everywhere and shepherds, under Thy guidance, may be rendered acceptable to Thee. Through our Lord.
It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation that at all times, but more especially at this season, we should extol Thy glory, O Lord, when Christ our Pasch was sacrificed. For He is the true Lamb that hath taken away the sins of the world: Who by dying hath overcome our death, and by rising again hath restored our life. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly hosts, we sing a hymn to Thy glory, saying without ceasing:
COMMUNION – Matthew 16: 18
Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church. Alleluia.
Since Thy Church has been nourished by the sacred repast, govern her in Thy clemency, we beseech Thee, O Lord, so that under the guidance of Thy mighty rule she may enjoy greater freedom and abiding integrity of religion. Through our Lord.