May 3.  The post-confirmation group were studying history of religionThe catechist led the discussion. “St Stephen is the first Christian martyr, stoned to death for his bravery and conviction about his beliefs.  In today’s world there has been an increase in violence.  Many people are killed because of their religious beliefs, in other parts because of politics that also causes wars, or people are killed over race or ethnicity. A serious problem is family violence, even femicide and the number of women killed, often by a partner or even a husband. Shockingly in the recent war in Ukraine there have been hundreds of thousands of deaths, soldiers on both sides and civilians, women, children, men. Were they killed defending a country or over an ideology, or just obeying orders?  What is a true martyr?  Would you really be prepared to die for your beliefs or your country? Do parents willingly die for their children?

Reflect, share and act. Scripture. Stephen said to the people and the elders and scribes, ‘You stiff-necked people, you always resist the Holy Spirit.” They were enraged and cast him out of the city and stoned him.  Acts 7:51-8:1.  Pope Francis:   Faith means believing in God, believing that he truly loves us, that he is alive and that he is mysteriously capable of intervening, does not abandon us and brings good out of evil by his power and his infinite creativity.  It means believing that he marches triumphantly in history with those who are called and chosen and faithful. EG278. Pray. Holy Mary, Queen of martyrs, pray for us.