The Franciscan Sisters in the Archdiocese of Bloemfontein play a big role of taking care of the spirituality of the Altar-servers. This group of young people is called St. Stephen’s. They meet once or twice in the year from different Parishes in the Archdiocese. to talk about their challenges and to have retreats.
The reason for this is to have something in common according to the way the Archbishop or the Parish Priest would prefer and to unites Altar Servers of different Parishes give them mutual support and encouragement.
During their meetings, since others are still very young. there are variety of activities to suit them all. They also raise funds for their attires and contribution in the church.
St. Stephen’s take part in all youth ministry in the Archdiocese, including youth rally that is mostly takes place in 16 June.
Stephen’s name means, “crown", and he was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr’s crown. Stephen was a deacon in the early Christian Church. The Apostles had found that they needed helpers to look after the care of the widows and the poor. So they ordained seven deacons, and Stephen is the most famous of these.God worked many miracles through Stephen and he spoke with such wisdom and grace that many of his hearers became followers of Jesus. The enemies of the Church of Jesus were furious to see how successful Stephen’s preaching was. At last, they laid a plot for him. They could not answer his wise argument, so they got men to lie about him, saying that he had spoken sinfully against God. Stephen faced that great assembly of enemies without fear. In fact, the Holy Bible says that his face looked like the face of an angel. Stephen spoke about Jesus, showing that He is the Saviour, God had promised to send. He scolded his enemies for not having believed in Jesus. At that, they rose up in great anger and shouted at him. But Stephen looked up to Heaven and said that he saw the heavens opening and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. His hearers plugged their ears and refused to listen to another word. They dragged Stephen outside the city of Jerusalem and stoned him to death. Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"Then he fell to his knees and begged God not to punish his enemies for killing him.After such an expression of love, the holy martyr went to his heavenly reward. St Stephen’s feast day is on 26th December.
St. Stephen's Prayer
O God, you accept our ministry and allow us to serve at your Altar; grant that while serving you we follow the example of our Patron, St. Stephen, the first martyr, and that we may, like him, come to see Jesus standing at your right hand in the kingdom of heaven. We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son. Amen.