Vitalis was extremely
moved by this spectacle. He knew his obligation was to prefer the glory
of God, and the eternal salvation of his neighbour, over his own life.
He therefore boldly and successfully encouraged Urisicinus to triumph
over death, saying, "Urisicinus, you who cured others would want
to drive into your soul the dagger of eternal death? Do
not lose the crown the Lord has prepared for you!" Urisicinus was
touched: he knelt down and asked the executioner to strike him. After
the execution, Saint Vitalis carried away Urisicinus' body and respectfully
Vitalis of Ravenna
Our parish was named after St. Vitalis of
Ravenna who was the patron saint of Bishop Vital Grandin,
the founder of our parish.
Vitalis was a first century Christian citizen of Milan and
the father of twin brothers, and future martyrs, Saints
Gervasius and Protasius. He is the principal patron of Ravenna.
He witnessed the tribunal of a Christian physician named
Ursicinus, who was tortured, and then comdemned to death,
for his faith. Ursicinus became terrified at the thought
of death and seemed ready to renounce his faith.
St. Vitalis then
resigned his post as judiciary assistant to Paulinus, who had been
absent on the occasion of the sentence of Urisicinus. Paulinus had
Vitalis apprehended, and after having him tortured, commanded that
if he refused to sacrifice to the gods, he would be buried alive.
This is how Vitalis was martyred.
The feast day
of St. Vitalis is April 28.
We are not all called to the sacrifice of martyrdom; but we are all
bound to make our lives a continuing sacrifice of our lives to God,
and to perform every action in this spirit of sacrifice. Thus we shall
both live and die to God, perfectly resigned to His will in all He
ordains or permits.