Saint of the Day

April 28: Saint Pamphilus of Sulmona

If you enjoy this daily blog of lesser-known saints, see my book, which contains short biographies of saints for every day of the year.

Saint Pamphilus’ life shows us that arguments over the liturgy didn’t start in the twentieth century.

Saint Pamphilus was the bishop of the dioceses of Sulmona and Corfinium in Italy in the late seventh century, and he was known for his generosity to the poor, his simple way of life, and personal holiness. But when he decided to offer Mass shortly after midnight each Saturday night/Sunday morning, followed by distributing alms to the poor and feeding them breakfast at daybreak, some people were scandalized. This innovation caused some of his priests and the laity to complain to the pope, accusing him of being an Arian heretic. (It’s difficult to see how a midnight Mass could be construed as heresy, but never underestimate the ability of some people to be offended.) After being called before the pope to explain himself, Pamphilus was not only vindicated but was sent home with a generous gift for the poor people of his dioceses.

Saint Pamphilus, remind me to unite myself to the Sacrifice of the Mass at all times of the day and night.