In 258, in Rome, Christians came under heavy persecution from Emperor Valerian. St. Lawrence was serving as one of seven deacons who helped provide help to the poor. When the persecution broke out, Pope Sixtus II was sentenced to death and St. Lawrence followed after him, weeping. “Where are you going without your deacon?” he cried. The pope answered, “I am not leaving you, my son, in three days, you will follow me.” The emperor demanded that St. Lawrence hand over all the riches of the church, thinking the church was hiding a great treasure. St. Lawrence worked zealously the next three days, giving all the church’s money to the poor and selling anything of value so that more could be given. After three days, he gathered the poor, the sick, and the crippled and brought them before the emperor, saying they were the riches of the church. For this, he was sentenced to death over an iron grill that slowly cooked him to death. St. Lawrence received God’s aid and did not even feel the flames. He told the judge to turn him over, “I’m done on this side!” And just before death he said, “I’m cooked enough now.”
St. Lawrence prayed for the conversion of Rome and that the gospel may be spread to all the earth. He is the patron of cooks, Sri Lanka, libraries, deacons, the poor, restaurateurs, and Rome. His feast day is August 10.
Blessed Lawrence showed forth the fire of his love for you, both by faithful service and glorious martyrdom.
Make us to love the things which he loved,
and to do the works that he taught.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.