Vincent was trained and ordained a deacon by Valerius, bishop of Saragossa, Spain, in the third century. The Roman emperors had made being a Christian punishable by death, so when Emperor Dacian discovered Bishop Valerius holding Christian services, he had him imprisoned. Vincent was soon caught visiting the bishop and was also imprisoned. The emperor refused them food. Both men were so cheerful and strong in suffering, however, that the emperor banished Bishop Valerius and had Vincent tortured on the rack. Vincent endured this suffering for love of Christ.
Dacian told Vincent he would spare his life if he would hand over the sacred books to be burned. Vincent refused, and in a fury, Dacian ordered that he be roasted on the gridiron. Again, Vincent suffered this patiently and survived. It is said that Dacian wept with rage and had Vincent thrown in a dungeon filled with broken pottery. Vincent was so calm and heroic that he converted the jailer. The emperor then had Vincent put in a regular prison. Friends came to console Vincent, cleanse his wounds, and pray with him. Vincent finally died there in a bed his friends had made for him.
Invite a deacon to the class to explain his role.
Direct the students to read Acts of the Apostles 6:1–7 to discover the role of deacons in the early Church. Have them make a chart comparing their role with the role of deacons today.
Suggest that the class try to accept patiently and uncomplainingly difficulties they face this week.
Excerpted from Christ Our Life, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio
Image credit: San Vicente de Zaragoza by unknown artist, 16th century. Public Domain via Wikimedia.