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Pope Francis leaves at the end of the Mass for families (AP)

Francis urges parents to bless their children at the beginning and end of each day

Cardinal Wuerl celebrates Mass in San Pietro in Vincoli Basilica in Rome (AP)

Cardinal Wuerl says politicians, the media and even Christians have remained silent about persecution of the faithful

Pope Francis smiles during the Angelus address (AP)

Pope says St Stephen ‘offered as a gift his life in service for the poorest’

Pope Francis greets pilgrims gathered for the Angelus today (CNS)

Pope also prays for western Christians who ‘encounter abridgements of liberty’

The Stoning of St Stephen by Paolo Uccello

St Stephen, the first Christian martyr

St Stephen (December 26) was hauled up before a Jewish court for rejecting sacrificial worship