St. Florian (b.250-d.304AD) celebrates his feast day on May 4. He was a Roman Army officer.
While most military elite belonged to the equestrian class (knights), Florian had higher ambitions. He was a Christian. He did not believe in the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and shared his faith and his love for his Lord Jesus Christ with others. He did this in uncertain times under Emperor Diocletian. Sentenced to death for refusing to persecute Christians, Florian was tortured and scourged, half-flayed alive, burned and thrown with a stone around his neck into the river Enns (todays' Austria). At the request of Polish King Casimir the Just (Kazimierz Sprawiedliwy) in 1138, Pope Lucius III sent St. Florian's relics to Cracow and so a church was erected under his name. 800 years later, a young priest Fr. Karol Wojtyla (Future Pope and Saint John Paul II) served there from 1949-1951, teaching catechists to high school students and providing pastoral service to academics. St. Florian is one of Poland's and Austria's patron saints, also the protector of firefighters, flood and drowning victims. We have St. Florian's parish (opened in 1905) right here in Chicago. A prayer for his intercession reads:" Make us as fearless in protecting the laws of God, as we were brave in protecting the lives and property of our fellow man. When we answer our final alarm in your Heavenly force-we will be as proud to protect the throne of God as we were to protect the city. Amen.' St. Florian Pray for us!
Photo displays St. Florian's wooden statue from our PMA treasures, conservation sponsored by Crissie Insurance Company in 2014.