Today marks the feast of this proto-martyr, patron of deacons. Curious to find a prayer invoking this powerful saint, I discovered this great resource online.
St. Stephen, pray for us and for all deacons!
The Litany of St. Stephen
(For private recitation only)
Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, hear us,
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
St. Stephen, first martyr,
pray for us. *
St. Stephen, who suffered for preaching the name of Jesus Christ,*
St. Stephen, who so closely imitated Jesus Christ in that great virtue of charity for your enemies,*
St. Stephen, who, when stoned by your enemies, cast forth sparks, not of anger, but of love, to set on fire their hearts, harder than the stones which they threw,*
St. Stephen, having recommended your own soul to God, cried for your enemies, Pardon them, O Lord, and punish them not for their sins,*
St. Stephen, most zealous for the glory of God,*
St. Stephen, most patient and constant,*
St. Stephen, pattern of chastity and purity,*
St. Stephen, whose heavenly fortitude caused admiration in all,*
St. Stephen, by whom so many miracles were wrought,*
St. Stephen, who, in the love of God, was not inferior to the Apostles themselves,*
St. Stephen, who converted many to the faith of Christ,*
St. Stephen, by whom the Church has received and does continually receive such singular benefits,*
St. Stephen, of whom it is said, that the Holy Ghost, Who inhabited your soul, shone and darted forth his rays into your body,*
St. Stephen, whose face shone like that of an angel,*
St. Stephen, an angel in chastity,*
St. Stephen, full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,*
St. Stephen, dear to the heart of Jesus,*
Let us pray:
O glorious saint, faithful imitator of Jesus Christ martyr in will and in reality, so full of charity, zeal, love, and purity, deign to intercede for us poor exiles; you who are so high in the favor of God, we do entreat you to procure for us a little spark of that divine love which animated your heart, that we too one day may have the happiness of seeing our God face to face.
Oh! obtain for us that virtue for which you were so eminent, and which in our holy vocation is particularly required–Charity. Amen.
Prayer to St. Stephen as your Patron Saint
Saint Stephen, whom I have chosen as my special patron, pray for me that I, too, may one day glorify the Blessed Trinity in heaven. Obtain for me your lively faith, that I may consider all persons, things, and events in the light of almighty God. Pray, that I may be generous in making sacrifices of temporal things to promote my eternal interests, as you so wisely did.
Set me on fire with a love for Jesus, that I may thirst for His sacraments and burn with zeal for the spread of His kingdom. By your powerful intercession, help me in the performance of my duties to God, myself and all the world.
Win for me the virtue of purity and a great confidence in the Blessed Virgin. Protect me this day, and every day of my life. Keep me from mortal sin. Obtain for me the grace of a happy death. Amen.
Also writing on St. Stephen: Fr. Steve Grunow, at Word on Fire, who notes:
Today the Church remembers the witness of Saint Stephen, the first of the Church’s martyrs. The cruelty of his death is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, as is the manner in which he died, transforming the violence that took his life into an occasion to give witness to an authority greater than those fallen powers who would rule us by fear and threats.
That the Church remembers Saint Stephen today is no accident. Strip away the sentimentality that obscures the story of Christ’s Nativity and one realizes that Christ came into this world, and from the first instant he showed his infant face, he was opposed. Recall yesterday’s excerpt from the magnificent prologue to the Gospel of John which testifies that Christ came to his own (us) and his own (again, that means us) “knew him not.” But worse than this- we refused him.
And many still do.