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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Saint Stephen

Then the twelve calling together the multitude of the disciples, said: It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying was liked by all the multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch. (Acts 6:2-5)

From this part of Acts of the Apostles we are introduced to St. Stephen. He was chosen as one of the original 7 deacons of the Church to work in the ministry of the Apostles.

By his faith, he was also a miracle worker along with being one of the earliest of preachers. It was in the name of his great faith and love that he was dragged outside the city of Jerusalem and stoned to death. He went to his death asking Jesus to forgive his killers.

From the last 2,000 years to infinity, he is one of the great standards for all mankind's witness to the Lord.

The Ordination of St. Stephen
Ordination of St. Stephen by St. Peter

St. Stephen Preaching at Jerusalem
St. Stephen preaching at Jerusalem by Vittore Carpaccio

The Stoning of St. Stephen
The stoning of St. Stephen by Bernado Daddi 1324

Prayer of Saint Stephen Martyr
Loving God, Saint Stephen was one of the first deacons in the Church. The Apostles ordained him with six others because they needed ministers who wouldoversee the needs of the poor and the widowed. His holiness was so evident that when he preached to his enemies, his face glowed brightly like an angel's. I ask him to pray for those who have been called to a life of service as ordained deacons. O Lord, help them to be a sign of Your love in their parishes and in the world where they live and work. Bless them with a vision of their ministry that stirs them to passion and tireless effort. Saint Stephen, pray for us. Amen. - Terry Anne Modica


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