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Saint Lawrence

Born: December 31, 225 A.D. in Valencia

Died: August 10, 258 A.D. in Rome

Venerated: Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodoxy
Anglican Communion
Lutheran Church

Canonized: Pre-Congregation

Feast Day: August 10

Patronages: Comedians
Places: Rome
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Huesca, Spain
San Lawrenz, Gozo and Birgu, Malta
Barangay San Lorenzo, San Pablo, Philippines
Sri Lanka

In 257, when Saint Sixtus became Pope, he ordained Saint Lawrence deacon, and though he was still young, appointed him the first of the seven deacons who served in the Church of Rome.  To this office was annexed the care of the treasury of the Church and the distribution of its revenues among the poor.  In that same year, the Emperor Valerian published his edict of persecution and commanded all bishops, priests, and deacons to be put to death immediately.  Saint Sixtus, at the same time, ordered him to distribute the treasures of the Church among the poor.  Saint Lawrence did as he was commanded, selling even the sacred vessels to increase the sum.

At that time the Church of Rome, besides providing for its ministers, maintained 1500 poor people and even sent alms to distant countries.  The Prefect of Rome commanded Saint Lawrence to surrender the treasures of the Church, and he promised to show them to him.  On the third day, instead of gold and silver, he exhibited the poor whom he had gathered together.

The enraged Prefect commanded that he should be slowly roasted on a gridiron.  The order was mercilessly executed but the martyr, strengthened by Divine grace, endured his suffering with heroic fortitude and even found strength to jest at the expense of his torments and his persecutor.  To his last breath, the holy deacon prayed for the conversion of the city of Rome, that the faith of Christ might thence spread throughout the world.  Several senators, who had witnessed his execution, were converted to Christianity and gave decent burial to his body.  His martyrdom occurred in the year 258.

Prayer:  God, by his ardent love for You, Saint Lawrence exhibited faithful service and attained a glorious martyrdom.  Help us to love what he loved and to practice what he taught.  Amen.