The body of St. Stephen, the first martyr, with those of some other saints, was discovered near Jerusalem in the year 415. Later the body of the saint was taken to Constantinople and finally to Rome, where it now lies beside that of St. Lawrence. The many miracles that occurred on the finding of St. Stephen’s body led to the institution of this festival, besides that of December 26th. A tradition states that Gamaliel, the teacher of St. Paul, had buried the body of St. Stephen at his country house; Nicodemus and Abibas, son of Gamaliel, and Gamaliel himself, were also buried there.
(Source: The New Roman Missal, Rev. F. X. Lasance)
St. Stephen, by birth a Roman, was made Pope on May 3, 253, and governed the Church for three years. He decided the question of the validity of Baptism when administered by heretics, ordering that the tradition should be preserved according to which it was sufficient that they receive confirmation. He was murdered by the Emperor’s soldiers while seated in his Episcopal chair in the catacombs, during the celebration of Mass August 2, 257.
(Source: The New Roman Missal, Rev. F. X. Lasance
St. Alphonsus was born of noble parents near Naples, Italy, in 1696, and died in 1787. In the midst of many evils he appeared with a three fold mission as a Doctor, Bishop, and founder of a new religious Order. As Doctor he became the great teacher of Moral Theology; he founded the middle way between the two extremes of the lax and the over rigorous, and by his ascetic writings he spread amongst the people Catholic piety, devotion to Our Lady, to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, to the Passion, and defended the supreme rights of the Church and the Pope.