The Treasures of the Church - Growing in Community
Persecution was a daily reality for third-century Christians in Rome. In 258, the Emperor Valerian issued an edict commanding that all bishops, priests, and deacons should be put to death, and he gave the Imperial treasury power to confiscate all money and possessions from Christians. Lawrence was the Roman archdeacon, giving him responsibility for the Church’s outreach to the poor and putting him in charge of the Church’s riches, The pope sensed his own days were numbered and therefore commissioned Lawrence to protect the Church’s treasure. Valerian set his sights on Lawrence, but before killing him, the Emperor demanded the archdeacon turn over all the riches of the Church. He gave Lawrence three days to round it up. On the third day, the Emperor summoned Lawrence to his palace and asked for the treasure. With great aplomb, Lawrence entered the palace, stopped, and then gestured back to the door where, streaming in behind him, poured crowds of poor, crippled, blind, and suffering people. “These are the true treasures of the Church,” he boldly proclaimed. One early account even has him adding, “The Church is truly rich, far richer than the Emperor.”
I would like to visit the treasures of the Church here at St. Denis & St. Patrick. I know that there are many important parishioners in our parishes who are not able to attend Sunday Mass because they are homebound or need some level of assisted living. I have noticed that some of you who are able to attend Sunday Mass bring the Eucharist to your friends or family members who are not able to attend Mass. Next Sunday, September 29, I would like to make those visits myself. I want to be able to connect with those treasured members of our parishes whom I have not been able to meet at Church yet. If you know of anyone who is homebound or in a nursing home, please email me at [email protected] this week. Next Sunday afternoon, I plan to visit each of these parishioners. For those who do bring communion to the homebound, at the weekend masses, Sept. 28 & 29, instead of giving out communion in pyxes, please connect with me before or after mass, so that I can get the information on how to join you on your visits and bring them communion myself.
-Fr. Michael Thiel
Story adapted from WordOnFire.org