St. Lawrence

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St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr – August 10th

Having died a martyr for Christ, St. Lawrence is the patron of deacons, chefs and firefighters. Around the time of his feast day, which is celebrated on August 10, the night sky is lit with bright lights. The phenomenon is related to the passing of a meteorite swarm left by a comet. For folk tradition these lights are “falling stars”, tears St. Lawrence shed during his martyrdom.

The testimony of this holy martyr, born in Spain in the first half of the 3rd century, is marked by piety and charity. Immediately after his election, Pope Sixtus II entrusted him with the care of the archdiocese. As the deacon responsible for charitable activities in the diocese of Rome, Saint Lawrence administered goods and catered to the needs of orphans, widows, and the poor generally.

His journey was shaken in youth by the drama of persecution. In AD 258, Emperor Valerian issued an edict: all bishops, priests and deacons must be put to death. Saint Lawrence, other deacons, and Pope Sixtus II were apprehended. The Pope was killed on 6 August. At first, the emperor offered to spare Lawrence’s life, in exchange for his handing over of “the treasures of the Church.” Lawrence is said to have presented the emperor with the sick, the needy, and the marginalized. These, he said, are the treasures of the Church. Four days later, on August 10, Saint Lawrence would be martyred.