His story is a bit extreme, however, it’s a good reminder to me to keep the faith and get up again over and over.
Although San Sebastiano lived and died in Rome, in Sicily on January 20, the early Christian martyr is celebrated with fervor in the towns of Acireale (Catania), Tortorici (Messina), and Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto (Catania), although his devotees are strong throughout the island. I took this photo of the Saint in Palermo at la Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pietà alla Kalsa.
Saint Sebastian, who is the patron saint of police, soldiers, archers, and holy death, was ordered to be killed in the late 3rd century because of his devotion to Christianity, which was illegal to practice at the time. In their first attempt at executing him, as ordered by the Roman Emperor Diocletian, his fellow military serviceman used him as a target for their archery practice, which is the reason he is most often depicted tied to a tree with arrows penetrating his body. Sebastian was left to die, but was nursed back to health by a fellow Christian. Eventually, however, his survival and even stronger faith was revealed to authorities, and he was clubbed and left for dead in a Roman sewer by Diocletian’s men.
Sicily’s citizens revere San Sebastiano because he is credited with eradicating a terrible plague that afflicted the island in the late 1620s.