Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Angelus Message for Feast of St. Stephen 2003

by Pope John Paul II

Featured eBook

    Document Information

  • Descriptive Title:
    Martyr's Death Shows Christ's Love
    Description:
    On December 26, 2003, Feast of St. Stephen, the Holy Father introduced the prayer of the Angelus in St. Peter's Square with brief comments on the Protomartyr and on martyrs as "witnesses on every occasion to the love of Christ".
  • Larger Work:
    L'Osservatore Romano
  • Pages: 6
  • Publisher & Date:
    Vatican, December 31, 2003

1. Today, in the joyful atmosphere of Christmas, we are celebrating the Feast of St Stephen, one of the first deacons of the Church. He is also known as the "Protomartyr" because he was the first disciple of Christ to pour out his blood for him. Stephen was stoned to death because of false accusations similar to those levelled at Jesus himself and, like the Master, he died forgiving those who killed him.

2. The Church calls the day of martyrdom a dies natalis (birthday). Indeed, by virtue of Christ's death and Resurrection, the death of the martyr is a birth in Heaven. This is why it is so meaningful to celebrate the First Martyr the day after Christmas: Jesus who was born in Bethlehem gave his life for us so that we too, reborn "from on high" through faith and Baptism, might be willing to give up our own lives for love of our brothers and sisters.

Today I would especially like to remember the Christian communities that are suffering persecution and all the faithful who suffer for the faith. May the Lord give them the strength to persevere and the ability to love even those who cause their suffering.

3. May Mary, Mother and disciple of her Son Jesus, accompany all Christians on their journey, from the baptismal font to the hour of their death. May she, Queen of the Martyrs, help us too to be "martyrs", that is, witnesses on every occasion to the love of Christ whom we contemplate in these days as a Child in the crib.

This item 5459 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline April 17
The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer April 16
Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra April 16
Russia's demographic recovery + US demographic decline = danger April 16
James Carroll strikes (at the Church) again April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis's Easter Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video CWN - 19 hours ago
Pope Francis: Easter Vigil homily (full text) CWN - 19 hours ago