Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of John (12: 24-26) in which Jesus says ‘unless a wheat grain falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain. But if it dies, it yields a rich harvest. Anyone who loves their life loses it, anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for the eternal life’. Afterwards, Fr Paul shares a little about the life of St Lawrence, whose memorial we celebrate today. Fr Paul says Lawrence was one of the seven deacons of the Church of Rome and he was executed on 10 August 258, four days after Pope Sixtus II and his companions were put to death as well. Very few facts about his life are known for certain: we think he was a Spaniard from Toledo. After his death, some fifty years in fact, a basilica was built over Lawrence’s tomb by the Emperor Constantine, and the anniversary of his martyrdom was kept as a solemn feast – with considerably more solemnity than that of Pope Sixtus and his companions (we do not know why). By the sixth century, it was one of the most important feasts throughout much of western Christendom. His name occurs (with Sixtus’s) in the Roman Canon of the Mass, that is Eucharistic Prayer number 1. So today Fr Paul invites us to ask ‘St Lawrence…pray for us!’