Today we honor St. Lawrence, the patron saint of Rome. Born in Spain in 225, an avid student, his favorite professor was elected pope; and Lawrence followed him to Rome. The new pope, Sixtus II, then ordained seven deacons to be his Curia; and he handed over to them the spiritual and worldly business of the papacy. It was to his deacon Lawrence that he gave the duty of watching over the Church’s finances and her treasury.
In 258 Emperor Valerian initiated a persecution that featured the public execution of all our priests and deacons.
The officials who were aware of the wealth in the hands of Lawrence, gave him three days to gather that wealth, and to present it to them.
Emptying the church’s treasury, and gathering up everything of value, Lawrence gave it all to Rome’s poor. On the third day, Lawrence, coming before the officials, presented to them that throng of poor people, announcing, “These poor of Rome are our church’s real treasure.”
Terribly angry with him, the officials ordered Lawrence to be roasted over a slow fire. The story has it that after a time, Lawrence instructed them, “I am done on this side, turn me over.”