Feast Day: 10 August
His Role In The Church
Saint Lawrence (225-258 AD) held the role of deacon and was entrusted to safeguard and distribute the goods and wealth of the church particularly among the poor and needy. His work was overseen by Pope Sixtus ll who trusted him immensely and raised him to the position of archdeacon in the year 257.
During the persecution under Emperor Valerian (253-260), Pope Sixtus ll was condemned to death. Sensing his own impending persecution and capture he resolved to distribute the remaining goods in his possession to the poor and needy, selling even items from the altar.
Word soon got round to the prefect of Rome and, tantalised by the apparent immense treasure of The Church, he sent for Lawrence and demanded that the emperor would need these goods to further maintain his forces. St Lawrence conceded that the church was indeed very rich but he just needed a few days to get everything in order and sort the inventory. When he returned to the prefect, he presented with him a troop of lame, crippled, blind and suffering declaring “these are the treasures of the church”.
Of course, this did not amuse the prefect and he was swiftly arrested and condemned to death. It was to be a slow and cruel death, being slowly roasted alive on an iron grill under a fire. However, St Lawrence famously took the punishment with miraculous wit and humour, shouting out at one point “turn me over, I’m done on this side” and concluded his ordeal by stating “it’s cooked enough now”. His dying prayer was for the conversion of the city of Rome and that the faith would spread like fire over the whole world.
Why St Lawrence is important
A reflection from someone in our young Catholic community
St Lawrence stands out as a man of immense heroism and bravery in the face of a tyrannical government. He lived with his face set firmly on Christ and expressed this resolution up to the very point of death. His charity in life and courage in death makes him of great recourse to turn as a patron when pleading for bravery and strength amidst persecution. Owing to his ability to make jokes even when roasting alive his patronages include that of comedians and chefs.