St. Lawrence Shrine Included on Pilgrimage

February 24, 2017
Source: District of the USA

Fatima is the destination for this pilgrimage, but will also visit Huesca, St. Lawrence's birthplace. Learn more while there is time to join!

At the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains, in the northern province of Aragon in Spain, lies its historic capital, Huesca, which boasts the privilege of being birthplace of two great martyrs and deacons: St. Lawrence and St. Vincent.

During the pilgrimage “Fatima to Lourdes via Catholic Shrines of Spain,” which is scheduled for August 17-28, 2017, pilgrims will not only visit the churches built in Huesca where St. Lawrence and St. Vincent were born, they will also pray before the relics of St. Valerius in Zaragoza’s Cathedral.

This 12-day pilgrimage also includes three days in Fatima to participate in the official SSPX festivities for the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady to the three shepherd children. A few seats are still available. For more information on this pilgrimage, please visit their site or contact Regina Pilgrimages at (866) 369-8149.

St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr

Tradition tells us that St. Lawrence was born of Orentius and Patientia, both martyrs, in the city of Huesca, Spain. In the year 257, St. Lawrence was appointed by Pope St. Sixtus II as the first of the seven deacons who served in the patriarchal church of Rome. He was the most important of the deacons, entrusted with the treasury and riches of the Church and with the distribution of alms among the poor.

The following year, the Emperor Valerian issued an edict ordering the immediate death of all bishops, priests, and deacons. Pope St. Sixtus II was captured and beheaded on August 6, 258 with the other six deacons. Tradition says that St. Lawrence met him on his way to martyrdom and said, “Father, where are you going without your deacon?” And the pope answered, “I am not leaving you, my son, in three days you will follow me.”

With the death of Pope Sixtus II, the prefect of Rome summoned St. Lawrence and demanded that he turn over the riches of the Church. St. Lawrence asked for three days to gather them, and during this time, he worked swiftly to distribute as much Church property to the poor as possible, in order to prevent its being seized by the prefect. He then invited all the poor, lame, beggars, orphans, widows, elderly, blind, and lepers whom he assisted, and on the third day, he appeared before the prefect. He presented to him the poor and the sick he had congregated and said, “This is the Church’s treasure!” This infuriated the greedy pagan who sentenced him to a slow, cruel death by roasting on a gridiron.

The slow fire roasted his flesh little by little, but St. Lawrence’s love for God burned stronger still. And in the midst of his atrocious sufferings, by the strength of God’s grace, he managed to say, “Turn me over. I am done on this side.” He prayed and offered his sufferings for the conversion of Rome and for the spreading of the Catholic Faith throughout the world. Just before he died, St. Lawrence said, “It is cooked enough now.” Thus he entered into the glory of heaven, rejoining the other six deacons and Pope St. Sixtus II who had preceded him in martyrdom. Several senators who were present at his death were so powerfully moved by his heroic fortitude and piety that they became Christians on the spot. These noblemen took the martyr’s body and gave it an honorable burial in the Veran field, near the road to Tivoli, on the 10th of August, 258. Within 50 years of his martyrdom, the Christian Emperor Constantine had a patriarchal church built over his tomb, the site now known as the Basilica of St. Lawrence-Outside-the-Walls, where his relics can be venerated today.

St. Lawrence is one of the most widely venerated saints of the Catholic Church. He is one of the patrons of Rome, where one finds two basilicas and many churches dedicated to him. In Huesca, where his family home once stood, now stands a Basilica built in his honor and which houses relics of St. Lawrence, including one of his fingers. His feast day is August 10 and he is the patron saint of firefighters, cooks, comedians, librarians, and students.

The Holy Grail & St. Lawrence

Tradition tells us that amongst the treasures of the Church entrusted to St. Lawrence was the Holy Grail, the chalice used by Our Lord at the Last Supper. To protect this precious relic from the prefect of Rome, St. Lawrence entrusted it to a friend, the Spanish soldier Proselius, whom he knew would travel back to Huesca and asked him to give to his parents for safe keeping.

In turn, St. Lawrence’s family sent the Holy Chalice to the monastery of San Juan de la Peña (north of Huesca) for preservation and veneration. In 1399, the relic was handed over to the King of Aragon, Martin “The Human” who kept it in the Royal Palace of Zaragoza and then in the Royal Palace of Barcelona in 1410 when he died. Towards 1424, his successor King Alfonso the Magnanimous kept it in the Valencia Palace. Because of his stay in Naples, it was given with the rest of the royal relics to the Valencia Cathedral in 1437.

Since the 15th century, the Holy Grail has been kept and venerated in the Cathedral of Valencia and it was carried during the procession of Holy Thursday up to the 18th century. During the Napoleonic Wars, between 1809 and 1813, the chalice was taken to Alicante, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca, escaping from Napoleonic invaders. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), it was hidden in the city of Carlet, south of Valencia.

Today, traditions tell us the Holy Grail is located and venerated in a special chapel in the cathedral of Valencia in Spain.

Prayer to St. Lawrence

O glorious St. Lawrence, Martyr and Deacon, who, being subjected to the most bitter torments, didst not lose thy faith nor thy constancy in confessing Jesus Christ, obtain in like manner for us such an active and solid faith, that we shall never be ashamed to be true followers of Jesus Christ, and fervent Christians in word and in deed. Amen.