|Our Patron Saint|
Laurence, Deacon of Rome
Saint Laurence is recorded as having lived in Rome during the reign of Emperor Valerian (253-260). The emperor was actively persecuting Christians, and demanded that the Church should pass all of its treasures to the state. Laurence was at the time a deacon in charge of the church finances and other valuables. When this demand was made he immediately disposed of all church assets to the poor and needy of the town. When called on to present the monies to the emperor, he called in the poor and impoverished and presented them to the emperor explaining that these people were the riches and wealth of the church. For this courageous act of witness Laurence was sentenced to death by fire on a griddle and was duly executed in this terrible manner. His executioner, Hippolytus, later was brought to the Christian faith by Laurence's martyrdom.
Saint Laurence, martyred on 10 August 258, has since been depicted standing and holding a griddle as shown both on the Saint Laurence banner and a small wood carving kept in the church. The Roman basilica San Lorenzo fuori le mura was erected above his grave by emperor Constantine the Great some forty years after his death.