Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Monday, 26 December 2016

Saint Stephen. First Martyr. Feast Day, Today, 26 December.

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

Saint Stephen.
First Martyr.
Feast Day 26 December.

Station at Saint Stephen's-On-The-Coelian Hill.

Indulgence of 30 Years and 30 Quarantines.

Double of The Second-Class
   with Simple Octave.

Red Vestments.

The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen.
Artist: Rene de Cramer.
“Copyright Brunelmar/Ghent/Belgium”.
Used with Permission.

The Church was still in her infancy when Stephen, renowned for his virtues, received from The Apostles the mission to organise the meals where the Poor were fed in common. He worked such "great wonders and signs among the people" (Epistle) that the Jews from five different synagogues became alarmed and summoned him before the Sanhedrin (Introit).

Jesus had upbraided the Jews "for having killed and stoned the Prophets" (Gospel); Stephen, in his turn, addressing his judges declared that in crucifying Christ they had shown themselves worthy of their fathers who put to death the messengers of God. The Holy Deacon then lifting his eyes to Heaven said that "he saw The Son of God standing on the Right-Hand of God" (Gospel). What a splendid testimony to The Divinity of this Child Whom we Venerate in The Crib.

English: Basilica of Saint Stephen-in-the-Round on The Coelian Hill.
Italiano: Basilica di Santo Stefano al Monte Celio.
Latin: Basilica S. Stephani in Caelio Monte.
Basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo in a 19th-Century painting.
Artist: Ettore Roesler Franz (1845–1907).
Date: Circa 1880.
(Wikimedia Commons)

On hearing these words, the Jews, fulfilling once more the words of The Master (Gospel), "with one accord ran violently upon Stephen and stoned him,", who, falling on his knees, commended his Soul to Jesus (Epistle) and asked pardon for his executioners (Collect).

Stephen is the first of the witnesses of Christ, it is therefore only right that he should appear first in the glorious procession of Saints who surround The Cradle of The Saviour. It is a tendency noticeable in a Greek Martyrology of the 4th-Century A.D., to connect the greatest of The New Testament Saints with The Feast of The Nativity. His name is inscribed in The Canon of The Mass (Second List).

Following after the example of Stephen, may we "love by Charity even those who wrong us" (Collect), and be ever ready to surrender our life for Christ.

Every Parish Priest Celebrates Mass for the people of his Parish.

Mass: Sedérunt principes.

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