Saint of the Day ~ December 26

SAINT STEPHEN (?-c.33), first Christian martyr (Protomartyr) and deacon – Patron saint of deacons, stonemasons and bricklayers

Today, the universal Church commemorates the death of Saint Stephen, the first person to give his life in witness to the Christian faith.

Stephen was a deacon in the early Church. The sixth chapter in the Acts of the Apostles says that Stephen was a man “…filled with the Spirit and wisdom…filled with grace and power…working great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:3b, 8). The Bible also notes that Stephen was a gifted orator and that his logic was beyond reproach. The conversions of many people were attributed to him.

However, his outspokenness provoked the ire of some of his listeners, and he was accused of blaspheming against Moses and against God. He was brought before the high priest and many false witnesses testified against him.

The seventh chapter from the Acts of the Apostles gives us Stephen’s response. In his defense, he gave an eloquent analysis of salvation history and the Love and Mercy of God. He also recounted Israel’s repeated ungratefulness towards their God. However, his words did not sway his accusers.

Then, Stephen looked up to Heaven and said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56). In a rage, they forcibly removed him to the outskirts of the city of Jerusalem and, as they began stoning him, Stephen “cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’” (Acts 7:59b).

His last words, as he fell to his knees and dying, were, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60ab).

Stephen died as Jesus did, falsely accused and unjustly condemned, but with a faith which was focused on God’s Merciful Love and with a prayer of forgiveness on his lips.

For more on the martyrdom of Saint Stephen and how his martyrdom influences our own life of faith, please see today’s Meditation for the Day”.

We celebrate the Feast of Saint Stephen on December 26.

(From,,,, and the Holy Bible)



(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Stephen)

“Lord, today we celebrate the entrance of Saint Stephen into eternal glory. He died praying for those who killed him. Help us to imitate his goodness and to love our enemies.

“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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