Saint Cornelius was elected pope during a very difficult time. In fact, the pope before him, Pope Fabian, had been killed more than a year before Cornelius could be elected. Christians were being persecuted and killed so often, the cardinals couldn't get together to vote. And then when Cornelius was finally elected, he had to deal with all the Christians who had abandoned the faith in order to avoid being attacked. Some priests wanted to just forget that some people had left the Church when it was dangerous to be a Christian, but Cornelius pointed out that it was a sin that must be confessed.
When he was pope, Cornelius taught people that it was very, very important to take responsibility for their sins and to show God that they were sorry by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The key prayer to this sacrament is the Act of Contrition. Spend some time today learning this prayer by heart.
Saint Cornelius, pray for us!
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