At that time, as the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenist (Greek-speaking) Christians complained about the Hebrew-speaking Christians, saying that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit.... (Acts 6:1-5)
Today is St. Stephen's Day. St. Stephen, the protomartyr and archdeacon, gave his life for Christ. St. Stephen is a most special saint for all deacons today, especially the permanent deacon. The permanent deacon is a unique sign and instrument of what Jesus Christ is for the Church, and of what the Church must be for the sake of Christ. The permanent deacon serves the bishop. He serves in two worlds, the secular and the Church, although these worlds are closely intertwined. Most permanent deacons are married with children, they work full time jobs, they minister to the poor and downtrodden - and also serve at the altar. Please pray for deacons and for diaconal vocations.