Today the Church celebrates St Lawrence (St Laurence, San Lorenzo)
Born in 225AD in the Roman province of Hispania (Spain), tradition holds that the martyrs Orentius and Patientia were his parents.
In Spain, Lawrence encountered a famous and highly revered teacher of Greek origin who was to become the future Pope Sixtus II.
The two travelled from Spain to Rome and when Sixtus become Pope in 257 he ordained the young Lawrence archdeacon of Rome with responsibility for the treasury and riches of the Church and of the distribution of alms to the poor.
In 258 Emperor Valerian issued an edict that all bishops, priests and deacons be put to death. After the execution of Sixtus, Lawrence was ordered by the Roman prefect to turn over the riches of the Church.
Lawrence is said to have asked for three days to gather the riches of the church. Meanwhile he distributed the Churches wealth to the poor and on the third day presented the prefect with the blind, crippled and lame declaring them to be ‘the true riches of the church’.
In 1983 Pope John Paul II dedicated the church of San Lorenzo in Rome (where Lawrence is buried), to the youth of the world. It is the official home of the World Youth Day Cross and a centre for youth formation, pilgrimage and social events.
St Lawrence, teach us to love the poor and to live the truth fearlessly.