for the Feast of

December 26


Apertae sunt inuae caeli beato Stephano, qui in numero Martyrum inventus est primus, et ideo triumphat in caelis coronatus.
The gates of heaven were opened for blessed Stephen,
who was found to be first among the number of the Martyrs
and therefore is crowned triumphant in heaven.


Grant, Lord, we pray,
that we may imitate what we worship,
and so learn to love even our enemies,
for we celebrate the heavenly birthday
of a man who knew how to pray even for his persecutors.
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.

FIRST READING          Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyrenians, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.

When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But he, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven
and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and he said,
“Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears,
and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

RESPONSORIAL PSALM          31:3cd-4, 6 and 8ab, 16bc and 17
In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum.

R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

ALLELUIA          Ps 118:26a,27a
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini; Deus Dominus et illuxit nobis.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD:
the LORD is God and has given us light.

GOSPEL          Matthew 10:17-22
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

May these offerings of our devotion today,
be acceptable to you, we pray, O Lord,
for they are prompted
by the glorious commemoration of Saint Stephen the Martyr.
Through Christ our Lord.


COMMUNION ANTIPHON          Acts 7: 58
Lapidabant Stephanum, invocantem et dicentem; Domine Jesu, suscipe spiritum meum.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,
Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

For the many mercies which surround us
we give thanks to you, O Lord,
who save us through the Nativity of your Son
and gladden us with the celebration of the blessed Martyr Stephen.
Through Christ our Lord...


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