Skip to content

St. Stephen's martyrdom shows 'true meaning of Christmas,' Pope Francis says

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

The death of St. Stephen, the Church's first martyr, teaches Catholics to renew their commitment to charity and self-gift, part of the meaning of Christmas, Pope Francis said Thursday.

To all our readers,

Please don't scroll past this. We interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to defend Catholic Online School's independence. 98% of our readers don't give; they look the other way. If you are an exceptional reader who has already donated, we sincerely thank you. If you donate just $10.00, or whatever you can, Catholic Online School could keep thriving for years. Most people donate because Catholic Online School is useful. If Catholic Online School has given you $10.00 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the world that access to Catholic education matters to you. Thank you.

Help Now >

Pope Francis gives the Angelus address

Pope Francis gives the Angelus address

Highlights

By Hannah Brockhaus
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
12/26/2019 (2 years ago)

Published in Christmas / Advent

Keywords: POPE FRANCIS - ANGELUS, VATICAN CITY, VATICAN

Vatican City, (CNA) - The death of St. Stephen, the Church's first martyr, teaches Catholics to renew their commitment to charity and self-gift, part of the meaning of Christmas, Pope Francis said Thursday.

In his address before the Angelus on the feast of St. Stephen Dec. 26, the pope noted that "in the joyful atmosphere of Christmas, this memory of the first Christian killed for the faith may appear out of place."

However, in the perspective of faith, he explained, the celebration is "in harmony with the true meaning of Christmas," because in St. Stephen's martyrdom, "violence is defeated by love, death by life."

St. Stephen, "in the hour of the supreme witness, contemplates the open skies and gives the persecutors his forgiveness," he added.

Pope Francis said that "at the school of St. Stephen" Catholics learn to fix their eyes on Jesus and to remember that Heaven's glory lasts for eternal life, "and is not made up of wealth and power, but of love and self-giving."

"For us Christians, heaven is no longer distant, separated from the earth: in Jesus, Heaven descended to earth," he said, adding that for this reason everything human can be seen in the light of Heaven.

Francis explained that St. Stephen's testimony shows Catholics how to live in accord with Jesus: "mild and courageous, humble and noble, non-violent."

The testimony and martyrdom of St. Stephen can be a source of inspiration for the renewal of Catholic communities, he continued, urging them to be more missionary and evangelical, reaching even the men and women at the existential and geographical peripheries.

St. Stephen "teaches us to proclaim Christ through gestures of fraternity and evangelical charity," he argued.

Be "communities that do not follow worldly logic, that do not put themselves, their image, at the center," he encouraged, "but only the glory of God and the good of people, especially the little ones and the poor."

According to Francis, the feast of St. Stephen is also a call to remember the many martyrs of the Church, both those of the past and those of today, of which there are many, he said.

He urged Catholics to be "in communion with them, and to ask them for the grace to live and die with the name of Jesus in their heart and on their lips."

"May Mary, Mother of the Redeemer," he prayed, "help us to live this Christmas time by fixing our gaze on Jesus, to become more like him every day."

---


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'


Copyright 2021 - Distributed by Catholic Online

Join the Movement
When you sign up below, you don't just join an email list - you're joining an entire movement for Free world class Catholic education.

Crowd at BBQ with Montana Ranch and Cattle meat As a big thank you for your service to our Church, Montana Ranch and Cattle offers you a special discount. Enjoy 25% off ‘The Greatest Meat on Earth’.

By the Grace of God, with the help of Montana Ranch and Cattle, Catholic Online School has become one of the fastest-growing, online K-Adult schools in the world. The school now has over 915,000 student enrollments from 193 countries. Click to Save 25% Now >

FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!