Mike Aquilina

The Saint in Between

Sunday March 18th 2007, 12:55 pm

Caught between St. Patrick yesterday and St. Joseph tomorrow is the great St. Cyril of Jerusalem, one of my favorite Church Fathers. Cyril’s catechetical and mystagogical sermons are not only great reads, but packed with precious details about the faith and practice of the Church at mid-fourth century. He gives us one of the most complete and vivid descriptions of the sacramental rites.

Cyril was born about 315; died probably 18 March, 386. His famous “Catecheses” were likely delivered around 347. He must have been as great a teacher in person as he is on paper. A pilgrim from Spain witnessed the mystagogical sermons in his church, and she wrote down what she saw for her friends at home: “While the bishop discusses and sets forth each point, the voices of those who applaud are so loud that they can be heard outside the church. And truly the mysteries are so unfolded that there is no one unmoved at the things that he hears to be so explained.”

So you needn’t hold back the applause while you read. Want to know St. Cyril better? Check out this study.

I spent the morning of the feast with the good doctors of Catholic Medical Association of Pittsburgh. It was an odd experience looking out on an audience of so many people who had poked and prodded and scoped my body down through the years. I spoke not about Cyril, but about St. Pantaleon, physician and martyr, and about The Martyr’s Cup.