Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy Feast Day to My Hero!

My wife and I have just moved again; the original house we rented turned out to have certain, shall we say, issues.  We have now settled into a wonderful new place and I'm back online!

And what a great time to return to the blog!  August 10th is the feast day of the greatest deacon who ever lived, Deacon Lawrence of Rome!  OK, so that's one person's opinion, but consider:

1) Lawrence, when instructed to gather up the treasures of the Church to present to the magistrate, did just that -- he gathered the poor of Rome and presented them as the treasure of the Church!

2) Notice that Lawrence was correctly assumed to be responsible for the temporal goods of the Church -- a longstanding tradition of the Church.

3) Lawrence displays a particularly diaconal sense of humor when he tells his executioner to turn him over because he's done on that side!  Not to mention the wit mentioned above about playing on the term "treasures of the Church."  His rapier wit is seen quite often in his deacon-successors around the world, who frequently take great joy in "tweaking" people and getting them to think and to laugh!  Deacon Larry of Rome would fit in easily with any community of deacons (and wives of deacons) with whom I'm familiar!

4) John Paul II recognized all of this in Lawrence.  During the Jubilee Day for Deacons in 2000, an urn containing the relics of Lawrence was brought to the audience hall from the Basilica of St. Lawrence.  When the pope began his address to us, he gestured to the urn and said, "You were unable to go to Lawrence, dear Deacons, so I had Lawrence brought to you!"

So, dear sainted brother Lawrence, we celebrate your feast with great joy!  Thanks for the inspiration!


  1. Thanks for this Bill. I was thinking about your dissertation this morning just as I was pondering that Lawerence was charged with administering the Church's temporal affairs, something deacons seem almost canonically forbidden from doing in our own time.

    So thanks for your ministry, especially all you do further and deepen our ecclesial understanding of what it means to be deacons.

    Happy feast day!

  2. I prayed for all my deacon friends on this day and I pray for those who are discerning that beautiful vocation.

    Fran (at work)

  3. It is very interesting and inspiring to us as well that St. Lawrence is initmately associated with being a guardian of the Blood of Christ, bot at liturgy and in his alleged preservation of the Holy Grail to safety. While these maybe be authentic or legendary, even legend finds a basis in fact and so we can be assured that St. Lawrence had a reverence and devotion to the Eucharist and especially the Chalice as deacon.

    According to such legend or history we are told that the holy Grail - Chalice of the Last Supper treasured in Rome as a precious relic - was sent by St Lawrence to his parents in his homeland of Spain. He entrusted this sacred Chalice to a friend whom he knew would travel back to Huesca, remaining in the monastery of Saint John of Pena, core of spiritual strength for the emerging kingdom of Aragon. While the Holy Chalice's exact journey through the centuries is disputed, it is generally accepted by Catholics that the Chalice was sent by his family to this monastery for preservation and veneration. Historical records indicate that this Chalice has been venerated and preserved by a number of monks and monasteries through the ages. Today the Holy Grail is venerated in a special chapel in the Catholic Cathedral of Valencia, Spain.

  4. Shortly after I was ordained I was asked why deacons are ministers of the cup. I didn't have an answer then but after several years of study and prayer and meditation I think it is likely that the deacon's charge to keep safe the material goods of the Church, the gold and silver, extended to the liturgy itself. The deacon is the minister of the cup because the precious materials used to contain the Precious Blood were his responsibility.

    St. Lawrence reminds us that each time we serve as ministers of the cup during Mass, we should remember that we are also ministers of the true treasures of the Church.

    During formation I did this painting of deacon St. Lawrence for my class. It shows the good deacon with book and cup symbols of his (and our) ministry.You can see it here:

    St. Lawrence pray for us.

    By the way did you know that St. Lawrence is the patron saint of football? Because he died on the gridiron. I think he would appreciate that.

  5. Dear Deacon Lawrence,

    I have loved your icon of our brother from the first moment I saw it! Thanks so much for sharing your gift.

    I love that he is the patron saint of football; I also love the fact that he is the patron saint of comedians!

    See what I mean, folks? Deacon Larry is a contemporary kind of guy!

    God bless,


  6. When I was in the seminary in Rome, I made a pilgrimage to his shrine, just behind the Termini station.


    NAC 09

  7. Yeah I have been to the Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls and its a special place for me.

    Both Sts Lawrence and Stephen are entombed in the basilica, side by side.

    I went with a relative who was studying at the NAC and was to be ordained transitional deacon the next day in St. Peter's. We prayed for his upcoming ordination and for my acceptance into the permanent diaconate of God willed. Both prayers were answered. :)

  8. Hi My Brother in Christ,
    Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Deacon Peter Venter, 72, ordained Deacon on the 1st March 2002. Married with 5 children. I am full-time employed at the Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Durban North, South Africa.
    St Lawrence has always been a role model for me in regard ministering to the sick, handicapped and the lonely(widows/widowers).I look forward to keeping in contact with all who subscibe to this site. God Bless