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Check This Out: Deacons Who Are Saints

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Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 05/25/16

In a nice bit of synchronicity, as the Jubilee for Deacons gets underway here in Rome, my pal Kevin di Camillo has a helpful primer on deacons who have been declared saints. From the National Catholic Register: 

1. St. Stephen (1st century A.D.). St. Stephen was the Protomartyr, the first to die a martyr’s death for the Christian faith. We can read all about the passion of St. Stephen in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 6: 8-7:60)—the longest single discourse in Acts—where his death mirrors very clearly that of Jesus Himself, right down to the forgiveness of his killers, which included Saul (soon to be St. Paul) who “consented to his execution”. His feast day is appropriately the day after Christmas. 2. St. Philip (1st century A.D.). Like St. Stephen, one of the “original” Seven Deacons (cf. Acts 6: 5-6) along with Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas of Antioch. St. Philip converted the Ethiopian eunuch of Queen Candace’s court and baptized him, thus bringing Christianity to the Horn of Africa. “Philip [then] came to Azotus, and went about preaching the good news to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.” (Acts 9:40) According to the Roman Martyrology, Philip was the father of four daughters. He is commemorated on June 6. 3. St. Lawrence of Rome (d. ca. 258). One of the most beloved of all the early Roman saints, Lawrence is remembered for presenting the Prefect of the Empire with the “Treasure of the Church”—that is, the poor, the sick, the lame, the old, the infirm and all those who suffer. For this Lawrence was slowly roasted alive on a great giant gridiron, all the while maintaining his sense of humor, telling his tormentors to “turn me over; this side is cooked enough.” His feast day is August 10—three days after Pope St. Sixtus II, whom he served and who preceded him to the martyr’s death. 4. St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). Many seem to forget that Francis was a deacon, and never was ordained to the priesthood. While there is some debate over this—being a “permanent deacon” in 13th century Italy didn’t mean the same thing it does today, and apparently Francis did not want to be ordained a priest due to his great humility, Francis is still the first recorded recipient of the stigmata (give or take St. Paul’s account of his own sufferings in his body) and remained only a deacon till his dying day. Undoubtedly one of the most important saints of all time, as well as one of the most beloved. His feast day is October 4.

Those are just for starters. Check out the whole list. Holy and sainted deacons, pray for us!

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