Skip to comments.A patron Saint for Deacons [St. Stepehen]
Posted on 12/26/2006 7:47:59 AM PST by Salvation
Other Articles by Thomas Craughwell
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|A Patron Saint for Deacons|
Everything we know about St. Stephen, one of the first deacons and Christianity's first martyr, comes from chapters six and seven of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament.
Stephen came from a family of Hellenists, Jews who had emigrated from Palestine to one of the Greek-speaking provinces of the Roman Empire. These Jews spoke Greek rather than Aramaic and in their synagogues heard Scriptures read in Greek rather than Hebrew. The sixth chapter of Acts tells us that tension arose between the Greek Jewish converts to Christianity and the Palestinian Jewish converts. The Greeks said that their widows and needy were being neglected in favor of the Hebrew poor. To resolve the problem the Apostles ordained seven men as deacons to serve the poor and preach the faith. The first name on this list of seven is Stephen.
St. Luke, the author of Acts, tells us that Stephen was a handsome man with "the face of an angel...full of grace and fortitude," who in his zeal for the faith debated with members of four different Greek synagogues. When Stephen's eloquence got the better of the Hellenist Jews, his angry opponents seized him and dragged him off to the court of the Sanhedrin. Their false witnesses charged him with blasphemy, denouncing the Temple sacrifices, and reviling the Law of Moses.
The High Priest (perhaps Caiaphas, the same High Priest who tried Jesus) asked Stephen if he had anything to say. In answer to the accusations Stephen delivered a lengthy speech that traced the sacred history of the Jews from Abraham to their own day. He concluded his discourse with a denunciation of his accusers and judges: "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do you also. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?"
Oblivious to the commotion in the court, Stephen antagonized his audience further by characterizing them as "betrayers and murderers" who did not keep the Law of Moses. Then, suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit, he looked up to Heaven and cried out, "Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God."
This was too much for the men in the court. They rushed upon Stephen, dragged him outside the city walls and stoned him to death. The man who watched the killers' clothes as they went about their brutal business was named Saul known to us as St. Paul the Apostle.
As the stones struck him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then, when he was down on his knees and near death, he prayed again, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge."
After the mob had dispersed Christians took Stephen's body away for burial.
St. Stephen has always been venerated by deacons as their special patron. Today a network of deacon-intercessors who call themselves the Sons of St. Stephen pray daily for an end to abortion, the protection of families, the health of the Holy Father and for all priests and bishops that they may be inspired by St. Stephen to be courageous in teaching and bearing witness to the truth.
**Today a network of deacon-intercessors who call themselves the Sons of St. Stephen pray daily for an end to abortion, the protection of families, the health of the Holy Father and for all priests and bishops that they may be inspired by St. Stephen to be courageous in teaching and bearing witness to the truth.**
This groups sounds wonderful!
Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Saint of the Day Ping List.
I'm not Catholic but I do have a favorite Saint. I'm quite Partial to Saint Maurice.
Just like his Master, St. Stephen was holy, heroic, uncompromising and politically incorrect.
The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
Saint Stephen's Day was caught in the furze,
Although he was little, his honor was great,
Jump up, me lads, and give us a treat!
Hurrah, me boys, hurrah!
Hurrah, me boys, hurrah!
Knock at the knocker and ring at the bell,
What will you give us for singing so well?
Singing so well, singing so well,
Give us a copper for singing so well.
We followed the wren three miles or more,
Three miles or more, three miles or more,
Through hedges and ditches and heaps of snow,
At six o'clock in the morning.
Rolley, Rolley, where's your nest?
It's in the bush that I love best,
It's in the bush, the holly tree,
Where all the boys do follow me.
As I went out to hunt and all,
I met a wren upon the wall,
Up with me wattle and gave him a fall,
And brought him here to show you all.
I have a little box under me arm,
A tuppence or penny'll do it no harm,
For we are the boys tht came your way,
To bring in the wren on Saint Stephen's Day!