Feast Day: 10 August
The feast of St Lawrence is celebrated on 10 August. As a deacon in the early Church in Rome, St Lawrence championed the inherent value of all human beings, even when it ultimately led to his martyrdom.
St Lawrence was a deacon in Rome during the reign of the Emperor Valerian, serving under Pope Sixtus II. When Pope Sixtus II was martyred in 258, he prophesied that Lawrence would soon follow. St Lawrence began to sell the valuables of the church in order to distribute the money to the poor. In response, the Roman prefect demanded that he reclaim the Church’s treasures and turn them over to the government.
Three days later, Lawrence assembled the poor, sick, and outcast of the city, presenting them as the “Church’s treasures.” Incensed, the prefect ordered Lawrence to be executed.
According to tradition, Lawrence was condemned to death by roasting over a gridiron. After some time had passed and he had not yet succumbed to death as a result of the painful torture, he joked that he was done on that side and needed to be turned over. Following St. Lawrence’s martyrdom, many were inspired to convert, including Roman senators who had witnessed his death.
In life and death, St Lawrence displayed true heroism and faith, as Pope Benedict XVI has remarked:
Pope Francis also describes St Lawrence as the perfect example of why we should care for the less fortunate:
May St Lawrence’s example encourage us to recognise the inherent value of all human beings, no matter their age, health, or status. Though we are all different, we are all created in the image of God.