Here is a text from the Feast: ‘The gates of heaven are opened wide for Stephen, the first of all the martyrs, crowned in glory, alleluia’.

That phrase ‘opened wide’ recalls the Baptism of the Lord, when the heavens were also ‘opened wide’. Stephen’s death was similarly a Baptism, and we are told that the Lord Jesus received him ‘standing’ at the right hand of God – a position of honour.

Today we pray for all who give their lives for Christ, and specially in this most holy season. May God bless you.