Is your parish blessed by the presence and service of a devoted deacon? Deacons serve parishes and communities in invaluable, tangible ways and support our very busy priests. Thank your deacon with a quality Saint Stephen rosary! Acts of the Apostles records the process of how the designation of Deacon came to be (Acts 6:1-5). The Apostles were committed to spreading the Gospel unceasingly; at the same time, there were widows and orphans who needed material assistance. The Twelve elected Stephen and six other men to serve the needy in the community so that the Apostles could continue evangelizing. Like Jesus before him, Stephen ignited the anger of Jews in the area with his powerful sermons, and they dragged him before the Sanhedrin with the charge of blasphemy. The vengeful crowd stoned Stephen to death, making him the first Christian martyr. He died a holy death, calling for the Lord's mercy on his murderers. Stephen reminds us to be courageous in both preaching the Gospel as well as in accepting persecution for our preaching. St. Stephen is the patron saint of deacons, and his feast day is December 26.