3 August: Finding of the Relics of St. Stephen

With the older, traditional Roman calendar we can today celebrate the Finding or “Inventio” of the Relics of St. Stephen, Protomartyr and deacon.

There are very few saints who receive two feast on the calendar of the Roman Church. Among them are John the Baptist and Agnes.

But today we again celebrate St. Stephen. Read Butler’s explanation of the day HERE.

LESSON (Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-60)

In those days, Stephen, full of grace and fortitude, did great wonders and signs among the people. Now there arose some, of that which is called the synagogue of the Libertines and of the Cyrenians and of the Alexandrians and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit that spoke. Now hearing these things, they were cut to the heart: and they gnashed with their teeth at him. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looking up steadfastly to heaven, saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And he said: “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” And they, crying out with a loud voice, stopped their ears and with one accord ran violently upon him. And casting him forth without the city. they stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, invoking and saying: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling on his knees, he cried with a loud voice, saying: “Lord, lay not his sin to their charge”: And when he had said this, he fell asleep in the Lord.

GRADUAL (Ps. 118:23, 86; 6:5)
Princes met and spoke against me, and the wicked persecuted me. V. Help me, O Lord my God! Save me for Your mercy’s sake.

Alleluia, alleluia! V. (Acts 7:56)
I see the heavens opened, and Jesus standing at the right hand of the power of God.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Kerry says:

    The Dinosaur Media, “And they, crying out with a loud voice, stopped their ears and with one accord ran violently upon him”.

  2. Gregory DiPippo says:

    Optime Pater, the keeping of multiple feasts of the same Saint used to be very much more common. Before the calendar reform of 1960 which also brought the abolition of the Finding of St. Stephen’s body, the Apostle Peter had four feasts, and St. John the Evangelist had two, as did St. Michael the Archangel and St. Francis. Many religious congregations and dioceses kept several feasts of their more prominent saints. Our Augustinian friends used to celebrate the feast of St. Augustine’s conversion in late April or early May, and the translation of his relics on October 11. The custom of celebrating the feasts of the translation of a Saint’s relics is a very ancient one, and many medieval calendars celebrate those of Ss. Nicolas (May 9), Martin (July 4) and Benedict (July 11).

  3. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    The Protomartyr needs more attention. However much I am in sympathy with the OF calendar, this saint needs, in addition to 26 Dec, another day. Martyrdom is what all of us should be prepared to do, and I fear that the likelihood is increasing of the martyrdom of many of us.

    The Deaconate, and this saint was one of the first seven, needs more attention (and the Vatican II is right about this). Most Presbyters in parishes spend most of their time doing things for which the Deaconate was set up do (see Acts). Indeed, in the Roman See during Late Antiquity often it was a deacon who was chosen Bishop of Rome (e.g. Gregory the Great), because deacons had more experience in management. And the duty of the deacon also includes what cost St. Stephen his life and earned him what his name is, his crown: evangelical preaching.

    And his relics need more veneration. The Basilica of Saint Lawrence Outside the Walls, the church of the great deacons, needs more visits from pilgrims, for there Sts. Stephen and Lawrence are buried. Ditto San Stefano in Rotundo.

  4. Joe in Canada says:

    Are commemorations like this permitted in the OF on ferial days?

  5. teomatteo says:

    This reading of the finding of St. Stephen’s relics is fascinating. Thank you Father. I have an on going daydream that i write a novel (historical fiction) about the travails of transporting the relics of a saint from the holy land to some place in Europe. I would have the suffering that the Saint had kinda mimic those of the priest who is saving the relics from an outside sinister force. It would have great characters and be enlightening to the faith (and veneration). And then i wake up…..

  6. carl b says:

    Is this a feast particular to dioceses? It isn’t on the 62 calendar. Assuming Gregory is right, and this was removed in 1960, it may not be celebrated in the EF today, right?

    Joe in Canada,

    On ferial days in the OF (at least in ordinary time, I forget about privileged seasons), any saint listed on the Martyrology for that day may be celebrated as a memorial ad libitum. Not having a Roman Martyrology, I don’t know if this particular feast may be celebrated, but that is the principle.

  7. jmf says:

    St. Stephen and St. Lawrence are both great martyrs who were Deacons. There stories of great faith and death with dignity are both inspiring and needed to be told in this day and age.


  8. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Ah! I would love to be back at St. Stephen’s in Sacramento this coming Sunday. I’m sure it will be a Solemn High at the 10:30am. The annual pig roast and square dance will be the “Happening!” Having several families of filipino ancestry, the pig is roasted whole on a spit and is to die for. Watching our priests whirling around in their cassocks, smiling broadly and having a great old time, is a treat. Sometimes a lamb is roasted as well. Whatever is served, and side dishes are parishioner-donated, is wonderful. There usually is a follow-up game of dodge ball with the altar servers and priests. Of course, Dec. 26 is celebrated as well, with the annual Christmas Party ………..Sigh! Love my Texas FSSP little parish, but still miss all the doings in CA.

  9. wolfeken says:

    Carl B — using the 1962 calendar, today is the only day of the month where a priest can pretty much pick anything he’d like with propers. (It’s a ferial day with no commemorations.)

    So, most priests will opt for the First Friday devotion using the Sacred Heart propers, a few may use the 9th Sunday After Pentecost propers, a few may offer Requiem Masses, but it is also completely permissable to offer the old Finding of the Body of Saint Stephen the Martyr Mass in red, as it could be considered a votive Mass on this 4th class day.

    John XXIII may have gutted some of the calendar, but he didn’t institute anything additionally for 3 August.

  10. The three possibilities listed by Mr. Wolfe are precisely the three alternatives for this date listed in the FSSP Ordo.

  11. Eriugena says:

    Anyone know why the Feast of St Thomas Aquinas (7 March) was suppressed, to be replaced by the Feast of his Translation (28 January)?

  12. Pingback: FRIDAY AFTERNOON EDITION | Big Pulpit

  13. carl b says:


    Thanks for clearing that up for me. I had forgotten about the votive Mass possibility. Saying only the breviary and not saying Mass makes me forget about the possibilities one has with Mass.

  14. robtbrown says:

    Eriugena says:

    Anyone know why the Feast of St Thomas Aquinas (7 March) was suppressed, to be replaced by the Feast of his Translation (28 January)?

    Not suppressed–it was moved to 28 Jan. The reason given was so it would always be outside Lent, but I wonder whether that was the real reason.

  15. aquinas138 says:

    The Invention of St. Stephen is still listed in the “1962” Martyrology – it was just moved to the last position for July 3 and deleted from the general calendar. Same thing with St. Peter’s Chains the other day. The feast of the Invention of St. Stephen was in the past often used as the feast of title for churches under the patronage of the Protomartyr in order to avoid the messiness of having the patronal feast and its octave occur within the Christmas Octave.

    As to St. Thomas Aquinas, I think the Lenten reason is probably true. In the 1960 rubrics, St. Thomas is almost always a mere commemoration at Lauds and Low Masses since his feast so often occurs in Lent; moving it to January obviates that problem. Of course, this only became a problem with the ruthless way that the 1960 rubrics truncated Matins and restricted commemorations. In the Divino Afflatu rubrics, Mar. 7 would be of St. Thomas (a Double feast), with the homily of the Lenten feria read as Lesson ix at Matins, and a commemoration of the feria made at Lauds, Mass and at Vespers. The OF is actually an improvement over the 1960 rubrics in this respect, since the collect for St. Thomas can be used in the ferial Mass (a rare commemoration!) and his proper reading, antiphons and collect can be added at Lauds and Vespers in the LOTH.

  16. Fuquay Steve says:

    My Mom (let perpetual light shine upon her) somehow knew I needed two days to honor my namesake. I least she didn’t name me Agnes.

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