Born - October 1480 at Vicenza;
died - 7 August 1547 at Naples;
Canonized - 1671 by Clement X;
Founder of the Theatines;
Born to the Venetian nobility. Caytanao studied law in Padua, and was offered governing posts, but turned them down for a religious vocation.
Ordained at age 36. In 1522, Cajetan founded a hospital in Venice, Italy for victims of incurable illness. Cajetan was aware of the need of reformation in the Church, and felt called to enter a religious community to serve the sick and poor.
On May 3, 1524, with three others, including John Peter Caraffa who later became Pope Paul IV, he formed the Congregation of Clerks Regular (Theatines) at Rome, Italy with the mission of fostering the Church’s mission and reviving the spirit and zeal of the clergy. Founded a bank to help the poor and offer an alternative to usurers (loan sharks); it later became the Bank of Naples.
St. Sixtus II was pope less than a year (from August 30, 257 - August 6, 258 AD), following Pope Stephen I.
Even though his reign was short, he restored relations with the African and Eastern churches following strained relations under Pope Stephen I. The issue that caused the dispute was the rebaptism of heretics. Pope St. Sixtus II believed that anyone who was baptised with a desire to be a Christian, even if the Baptism was performed by a heretic, was truly baptised into the faith; the validity of his faith was based on his own desire and actions, not the errors of the person who performed the sacrament.
Thankfully, St. Sixtus II restored relations with the churches that disagreed with Rome. Yet, not one year after his elevation to the papacy, he was beheaded by order of Emperor Valerian I in 258.
Pope Sixtus II was beheaded in his chair, which was later enshrined behind his tomb. Two other deacons, Felicissimus and Agapitus, were martyred the same day. Today we remember Sts. Sixtus II and his six companions who died for the Faith.
Before Pope St. Sixtus II was martyred, his deacon St. Lawrence, came to him and said: "Father, where are you going without your son? Where are you hastening, O priest, without your deacon? Never before did you offer the holy Sacrifice without assistants. In what way have I displeased you? In what way have you found me unfaithful in my office? Oh, try me again and prove to yourself whether you have chosen an unworthy minister for the service of the Church. So far you have been trusting me with distributing the Blood of the Lord."
To this Pope Sixtus II replied, "I am not forsaking you, my son; a severer trial is awaiting you for your faith in Christ. The Lord is considerate toward me because I am a weak old man. But for you a most glorious triumph is in store. Cease to weep, for already after three days you will follow me."
By the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray, almighty God, make us docile in believing the faith and courageous in confessing it, just as you granted Saint Sixtus and his companions that they might lay down their lives for the sake of your word and in witness to Jesus. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.