St. Stephen’s Day


December 26 is the Second Day of Christmas and the Feast of St. Stephen,

(See Melissa Musik’s page for today on the Catholic Catalogue).

Today’s morning prayer celebrates both of  these feasts.



 Light Christmas Candles and say or sing:

O Holy ONE + open my lips,

~And my mouth will proclaim your praise.


Glory to God in the highest

~And peace to God’s people on Earth.



Invitation to Worship

Christ, the newborn, today crowns blessed Stephen: Come, let us adore Him!



All may sing or alternate the verses of any Christmas Morning Carol .

The root of Jesse now has flow’red

for Sarah’s daughter bears a son!

Behold the Mother of our God

draws to her breast the Holy One.


The co-eternal Word of God

is cradled now in slumber deep:

he who holds planets to their course

now nestles in her arms, asleep.


The law which girds the universe,

God’s Torah teaching Wisdom’s ways,

in Mary, both have been enfleshed–

a source of scandal and God’s praise.


This Jewish daughter’s bold consent,

her wonderment, her “Let it be!”

has touched the very depths of God

and ever changed the way we see.


A contradiction to our time,

her single “Yes!” to what could be.

Have we such openness within

to bring the Word to birth as she?

Text: Aelred-Seton Shanley, OSB.  Tune: Von Himmel Hoch. L.M.



Psalm 2

Adonai said to me:

You are my Son, this day have I begotten you.

Why all this strife among the nations?

among peoples all this pointless scheming?

The arrogant arise and conspire together

they plot against the Holy One and the Anointed:

“Come, let us break free of Love’s law;

humility and service are for others!”


God, who sees all, can but smile at their foolishness,

knowing they will learn to regret this approach;

Do they not hear God’s  firm and steadfast voice;

are they not moved with reverence and awe?

“It is I who anoint the One who loves,

on Zion, my holy mountain!”


Let me repeat the decree I have heard:


Adonai said to me: You are my own.

Today I give you birth.

Ask of me whatever you will;

I give you nations and Earth to care for–

Your love, like an iron rod,

will shatter greed like a potter’s jar.


Listen then, leaders of nations,

take heed, and come to your senses.

Serve the Holy One with reverence,

bow your heads, acknowledge the Truth;

otherwise, ignorance and fear

will bring you to despair and destruction.


Blessed are those who trust and dwell in God.

Adonai said to me:

You are my Son, this day have I begotten you.


READING      Sermon of St. Fulgentius on the Feast of Stephen

Yesterday we celebrated the birth in time of our eternal King. Today we celebrate the triumphant suffering of his soldier.  Yesterday our king, clothed in his robe of flesh, left his place in the virgin’s womb and graciously visited the world.  Today his soldier leaves the tabernacle of his body and goes triumphantly to heaven.

Our king, despite his exalted majesty, came in humility for our sake; yet he did not come empty-handed. He gave of his bounty, yet without any loss to himself.  In a marvelous way he changed into wealth the poverty of his followers while remaining in full possession of his own inexhaustible riches.

And so the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven; shown first in the king, it later shone forth in his soldier.  Stephen’s love of God kept him from yielding to the ferocious mob; his love of neighbor made him pray for those who were stoning him.  Love inspired him to reprove those who erred, to make them amend; love led him to pray for those who stoned him, to save them from punishment.

Love, indeed, is the source of all good things; it is an impregnable defense, and the way the leads to heaven. Those who walk in love can neither go astray nor be afraid; love guides them, protects them, and brings them to their journey’s end.

Christ made love the stairway that would enable all of us to climb to heaven.  Hold fast to it therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it, and by your progress in love, make your ascent together!



R. Yesterday the narrow crib carried the infant Christ; today the boundless heavens receive the triumphant Stephen.  V.  Our King has humbled himself, that he might exalt a soldier;  today the boundless heavens receive the triumphant Stephen. 



Canticle of Zachary–  Luke 1:68-79


The Word grew and multiplied,

and Stephen prepared for the harvest.

Blessed + be Adonai, the God of Israel,

Who visits this people to set us free

Raising for us a sign of salvation

In the house and family of David.


God promised throughout past ages

In words of holy prophets

To save us from our enemies,

And from the control of our oppressors.


Adonai favored our ancestors

And remembered the sacred covenant.

The pledge to Abraham and Sarah

Is now renewed for us;


That freed from the grip of our foes

We might worship without fear

And be both just and holy

For the rest of our days.


And you, child, called “prophet of the Most High,”

Will go ahead to prepare the way,

By teaching this people of salvation

Through forgiveness of their sins.


For the loving compassion of the Holy One

As the Rising Sun will shine upon us

To illumine the darkness and dispel death’s shadow

To guide our feet on the way of peace.


Glory to the ONE and to the WORD

and to the BREATH of Love!

As always before,

so now and evermore.  Amen

The Word grew and multiplied,

and Stephen prepared for the harvest.


Litany of Intercession

Lord Jesus, Son of the Most High, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


Lord Jesus, Son of Earth, blossoming with justice,

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


Lord Jesus, Son of David, shepherd and king, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


Christ Jesus, Son of Mary, virgin and mother, Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.


Prayer of Jesus

Our Father …


Closing Prayer & Blessing

Holy One, Source of all light and life, your eternal Word leapt down in the silent watches of the night, and now your people are filled with wonder at the nearness of our God.  Open our hearts to receive him that our lives may be filled with his peace who lives and reigns forever and ever.

~ Amen.


May the  Word Made Flesh, + full of grace and truth, bless us and keep us.

~ Amen.


Let us bless Adonai.

~Thanks be to God.