St. Stephen

A Model for deacons

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As the Church in the United States celebrates the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the permanent diaconate, may we seek the intercession of — and find inspiration from — St. Stephen, the protomartyr and protodeacon.

Chosen as one of the seven deacons in the Acts of the Apostles, Stephen was credited as being “a man filled with faith and the holy Spirit” (6:5) and “filled with grace and power” (6:8). After angering the Hellenist converts with his fiery preaching, they turned on him and stoned him to death. Still, Stephen remained faithful, crying out to God, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” As he was dying, he prayed for his persecutors, saying, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

May all deacons strive to live their lives as devoutly as St. Stephen and be willing to serve and follow Christ no matter where he leads them.

A PRAYER FOR DEACONS

O God, we thank you for the diaconal witness of the martyr St. Stephen, in whom you bestow upon your Church an icon of Christ the Servant.

Grant that, through his assistance, your Church’s deacons may be aided in building up the Body of Christ through their ministry of the word, service at the sacred mysteries and by an outpouring of charity for your people.

By his witness, may St. Stephen inspire all your people to mirror Christ’s life of sacrificial service. Through the same Christ our Lord.

Amen.