26 December: The Protomartyr and The Octave

In addition to Boxing Day it is the feast of St Stephen. His feast has been celebrated this day since the earliest centuries of the Church’s life.

We are also in the Octave of Christmas. Octaves are mysterious. For Holy Church time is suspended so that we can rest in the mystery of the feast.  In her wisdom, Holy Church “stops” her clock so that we contemplate the mystery of the feast from different angles, through different lenses.

St. Stephen reminds us of the consequences of discipleship.

Today I also congratulate all the members of the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen!

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9 Responses to 26 December: The Protomartyr and The Octave

  1. I, too, hold this day in high regard, as St. Stephen is the saint I was named after.

  2. Supertradmum says:

    The priest who gave the sermon this morning noted that there was a connection between the Incarnation and our cross which comes from our baptismal vows. He noted that we are all called to be witnesses of Christ in the world, and that our daily sufferings make us strong

  3. Paul Lemmen says:

    I am keeping all of our holy and hard working Deacons in my prayers today, the feast of St. Stephan, Deacon and Martyr.

  4. Chatto says:

    Thanks Father! As a long serving (and long suffering!) altar boy, I appreciate it ;-)

  5. FrPaul says:

    Fr. Z,
    Something noteworthy concerning today’s date should receive wider notice. On this day the Bishop of Mexico, Bp. Zumarraga, transferred the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on St. Juan Diego’s Tilma. This was in accord with Her repeated requests. The Tilma was translated in a formal procession to a small chapel at the site of Our Lady’s appearance on the day after Christmas. In less than 20 years, we will celebrate the 500th anniversary of these miraculous events. Father Paul Weinberger, St. William Church, Greenville, TX (Diocese of Dallas).

  6. FrPaul says:

    In Acts of the Apostles, 7:44ff St. Stephen is giving his final address before he is sent to his death. He makes great mention to the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem about God’s dwelling place, “not made with human hands.” Down through the centuries Our Lady has been referred to as the Ark of the New Covenant, “not made by human hands.” Over the former basilica in Mexico City, these words were spelled out in micro lights, in Latin. The Tilma of St. Juan Diego was “not made by human hands.” Also, the Book of Revelation 11:19-12:2 refers to the Ark of the New Covenant in Heaven – a fitting description of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Image on the Tilma. How fitting that St. Stephen’s Day would be the occasion for the translation of the Tilma from the Bishop’s chapel to the Hill of Tepeyac where she miraculously appeared to St. Juan Diego. Fr. Paul, St. William Church, Greenville, TX (Diocese of Dallas)

  7. Medjugorje Man 07 says:

    Thank you for that info Father Paul

  8. fvhale says:

    Perhaps this has been addressed elsewhere.

    I noticed today that the American English Lectionary (2nd ed.) unfortunately truncates the story of St. Stephen’s martyrdom from Acts chapter 7. The first reading at (Ordinary Form) mass today ends abruptly with “…As they were stoning Stephen, he called out ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’”

    While this is a nice lead-in to the Responsorial Psalm with responsory “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit,” (Ps 31), it cuts off both St. Stephen’s last words, his prayer for those who are stoning him (“And falling on his knees he ried with a loud voice, saying Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”) and also omits his actual death (“And when he had said this, he fell asleep in the Lord.”) Very unfortunate truncation.

    I believe this is a result of renumbering and rearranging of the verses of Acts 7:55-59 as we have travelled in time from the Clementine Vulgate and Douay-Rhiems English (which has all this in Acts 7:58-59) to the new Nova Vulgata and New American Bible (and Revised Edition), which has the old verse 58 as verse 59, and has spread the old verse 59 into a new verse 60 and added to the front of the first verse of chapter 8 of Acts.

    The verses have moved around in the new Latin and English texts, but the verse numbers of the Ordo Lectionum Missae have stayed the same. Perhaps there is a disconnect here?

    I have only seen this problem in the newer lectionaries of the Ordinary Form in English which still wish to follow the Ordo and end the reading at Acts 7:59. My Italian missal adjusts the verse numbers for the reading to cover the proper text (ending at the new Acts 7:60), and, of course, this is not a problem for the Extraordinary Form which uses the older texts for the reading.

    Is this already a well-known problem with the Ordinary Form lectionary for St. Stephen, December 26?

  9. StWinefride says:

    Father Z says: We are also in the Octave of Christmas. Octaves are mysterious.

    I was wondering yesterday whether Father Z was planning to prepare a few Christmas OctavecaZts for his online flock?! They would be gratefully received! [Perhaps. There were a good number of downloads, but not enough feedback to merit the work for now.]