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Saint of the Day December 28: Holy Innocents

Holy Innocents: Memory and Meaning of Child Martyrs in Christian History


Holy Innocents




28 December



O holy Innocents, firstfruits of the Catholic Church, who continually praise, and contemplate the Divine Immaculate Lamb, and always sing new canticles before the throne of the Most High, please obtain for me an innocent life, perfect contrition, and immense sorrow for my sins, and a righteous and pure intention in all my thoughts, words and deeds, so that I may be preserved in the grace of God, and then be your companion in that immortal glory, which you have purchased by the shedding of your innocent blood. So be it.

Protector of


Roman Martyrology

In Bethlehem of Judah the birthplace of the Holy Innocent Martyrs, who were for Christ’s sake slain by King Herod.

The Saint and Mission

The Holy Innocents, the children killed on the orders of King Herod in an attempt to eliminate the infant Jesus, represent a particularly poignant and tragic component of Christian history. Their remembrance underscores a fundamental aspect of the Christian mission: the recognition and defense of the sacredness of all human life, especially that of the most defenseless and innocent.

The mission that emerges from the memory of the Holy Innocents is first and foremost a call to the protection of the vulnerable. Their innocence and involuntary sacrifice remind us that the Christian mission includes an unconditional commitment to the defense of life and dignity of every person, from conception to natural death. This message is especially relevant in a world where the rights of children and the defenseless are often threatened or ignored.

In addition, the commemoration of the Holy Innocents invites Christians to meditate on innocent suffering and injustice in the world. Their story is a painful reminder that evil and violence are realities with which humanity has yet to come to terms. The Christian mission, therefore, includes the task of struggling against these dark forces, bringing the light of the Gospel and working for justice, peace and reconciliation in every community and nation.

The memory of the Holy Innocents also inspires a sense of hope and redemption. Despite their tragic deaths, Christian tradition sees them as martyrs and witnesses whose innocence was accepted and redeemed by God. This perspective encourages believers to look beyond suffering and death to the promise of eternal life and the ultimate victory of God’s love and mercy.

The memory of the Holy Innocents is a powerful and provocative call to Christian mission in the world. Their remembrance challenges us to be defenders of life and dignity, fighters against injustice and bearers of hope, reminding us that in every child, in every vulnerable person, there is a reflection of the innocence and love that God has for every one of his creatures.

The Saint and Mercy

The Holy Innocents, remembered as the children of Bethlehem killed on the orders of King Herod in an attempt to eliminate the newborn Jesus, are a harrowing testimony to human cruelty and, at the same time, a powerful reminder of divine mercy. Their memory evokes profound reflections on innocent suffering and God’s merciful love that embraces and redeems even the darkest situations.

Mercy in the context of the Holy Innocents is revealed first and foremost in God’s compassion for the smallest and most vulnerable. These children, innocent victims of an act of terror, are welcomed into the kingdom of heaven, symbolizing the promise that God is close to those who suffer unjustly and that their suffering is not ignored or forgotten. Their untimely and unjust deaths are wrapped in the mercy of God who welcomes innocent souls and offers them eternal rest.

Moreover, the remembrance of the Holy Innocents is a reminder of human mercy. Their story prompts us to reflect on our responsibilities to the most helpless and vulnerable in society, especially children. It invites us to consider how we can act to protect, support and care for those who cannot defend themselves, thus showing mercy to those most in need.

The commemoration of the Holy Innocents is also a time to meditate on mercy as an antidote to violence and evil. It reminds all believers that they are called to resist the injustices of the world and to promote the peace and love of Christ, even in the face of the greatest darkness. The memory of the Holy Innocents challenges believers to live out mercy in concrete actions that counter hatred and violence with love and compassion.

The memory of the Holy Innocents teaches us that God’s mercy is present even in the most tragic circumstances and that each person is called to reflect that mercy in the world. Their story invites us to reflect on our responsibility to show love and care for the smallest and most vulnerable and to actively work for a more just and compassionate world.


The Holy Innocents are those children who were slaughtered in and around Bethlehem when the cruel Herod wanted to put Jesus Christ to death. They, not by the confession of their voices, but by the outpouring of their blood became the first victims of the faith, the firstfruits of the Martyrs whom the earth sent to heaven after the Savior’s birth.

And here is what the Gospel tells about the Massacre of the Innocents.

Born Jesus in Bethlehem of Judah at the time of King Herod, here come to Jerusalem of the Magi from the East, and…


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