Commentary on the Gospel of
St. Lawrence was martyred in Rome in 258 during the persecution under the Roman emperor Valerian. He was among the seven deacons serving Pope St. Sixtus II, who was martyred three days before Lawrence. When he was challenged to hand over the Church’s treasure to the authorities, he asked for a few days’ grace; then “he went all over the city, seeking out in every street the poor who were supported by the Church, and with whom no other was so well acquainted. On the third day, he gathered together a great number of them before the church and placed them in rows: the decrepit, the blind, the lame, the maimed, the lepers, orphans and widows; then he went to the prefect, invited him to come and see the treasure of the Church.” Many conversions to Christianity throughout Rome reportedly followed after Lawrence’s death, including those of several senators witnessing his execution on a gridiron.