St.Laurence, the patron saint of this chaplaincy, was one of the first Christian martyrs.
He was born in Spain in 225 and spent his early life in Valencia. He was one of seven deacons of ancient Rome and was one of the first archivists and treasurers of the Church. He is the patron of many causes and activities, most famously, of librarians the world over.
When Pope Sixtus II was martyred during the persecution of the Roman Emperor Valerian on August 6th 258, Laurence was given three days by the prefect of Rome to gather up the riches of the church. During this time he gave away as much as he could to the poor. When he returned to the prefect and was asked to hand over the riches, he presented the poor, crippled, blind and other sufferers, stating that they were the true treasures of the church.
He declared that the church was truly rich, far richer than the emperor. This act of defiance led to his martyrdom the next day, August 10th, on a gridiron.
Laurence is worshipped in many places but none more so than in the Catholic Cathedral of Valencia in Spain where, in a special chapel, the Holy Chalice believed to have been used at the Last Supper is venerated. It is believed that Laurence sent this Holy Grail back with a friend to his family before his martyrdom.
He is honoured in Rome and is one of the city’s Patrons. He is also patron saint of the monks at Ampleforth College in Yorkshire – one of the best known of Britain’s Catholic public schools.
The prayer of St. Laurence
Father, you called Saint Laurence to serve you by love and crowned his life with glorious martyrdom.
Help us to be like him in loving you and doing your work.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.