Feast of St. Stephen celebrated at infirmary near site of his martyrdom

(terrasanctablog)  St. Stephen was the first Christian martyr.  Having been stoned to death near the Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem for his witness to Jesus Christ as Lord, he has been celebrated by the Church ever since as giving the ultimate testimony to his faith.

In order to celebrate the Feast of St. Stephen in the Holy Land, the Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land, along with faithful pilgrims, made their way to the Custodial Infirmary that is built near the site of St. Stephen’s martyrdom.  Presiding at the Mass, Fr. Pizzaballa, the Custos of the Holy Land, remarked at one point 

“Saint Stephen said, ‘receive my spirit, receive my life’. Then he died. We are gathered here, young and old. We are at the beginning of our religious life or are approaching its goal, but all of us have consecrated our lives to the Lord. The young are in the midst of the enthusiasm of beginnings and they have to put even this enthusiasm into the hands of God. The elderly have more experience, have experienced a great deal, have already given a great deal to the Lord and today they again have to offer their wills, their bodies that obey them no more, their suffering bodies that abandon them, into a greater abandonment of themselves in prayer.