10/3/12 | 684 views
Filipino Catholics Remember San Lorenzo Ruiz
In anticipation of the Feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the Philippine community of the archdiocese recently gathered with great fervor in remembrance of the first known Filipino martyred for the faith and canonized a saint.
Some 500 Filipino Catholics commemorated, in English and the native tongue of Tagalog, San Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila at a Sept. 23 Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz is Sept. 28, and this year marked the 25th anniversary of his canonization by Pope John Paul II as the first Filipino saint.
As they honored San Lorenzo Ruiz, many in St. Patrick’s recognized that in less than a month, on Oct. 21, Pope Benedict would canonize Blessed Pedro Calungsod as the second saint from the Philippines. Blessed Pedro was a teen catechist from the Cebu Province who was martyred while serving in Guam in the 17th century.
Auxiliary Bishop Gerald T. Walsh, vicar for clergy and episcopal vicar for the Rockland, Central Westchester, South Shore and Yonkers vicariates, served as principal celebrant and homilist at the Mass, which was sponsored by the archdiocese’s Filipino Apostolate.
In his homily, Bishop Walsh described San Lorenzo Ruiz as a man of great faith who lived and died with his values intact. “May his example of fidelity inspire and strengthen us to be not only recipients of the Lord’s grace and blessings, but also sharers of these gifts with our brothers and sisters in God’s one human family,” Bishop Walsh said.
Bishop Walsh was joined at the altar by many Filipino clergy members as well as other priests who serve the Filipino community in New York.
Bishop Walsh also called on the congregation to cultivate the faith through catechesis, by studying the teachings of the Church.
Malron Porras, a native of the Philippines, moved to New York in 1985. He considers the saint a role model of sorts. “There is a sense of pride knowing that San Lorenzo is Filipino and I am proud to be from Philippines,” he said. “When I first heard of him being named a saint it made me research his story, look deeper into my own faith and read the Bible more often. And I feel when you study the teachings of the Word of God it can only strengthen your faith.”
San Lorenzo Ruiz was born circa 1600 in Binodo, Manila. His father was Chinese and his mother a native Tagalog Filipino.
As a youth, Lorenzo rendered services in his church and was mentored by a Dominican priest. He later worked as a parish clerk and is said to have been a skilled calligrapher. In 1636 he joined a missionary group of four priests and one Japanese layman on a mission to Japan.
During the 17th century it was illegal to practice Christianity in Japan. As a result, Christians were persecuted and many were executed.
Soon after landing in Okinawa, Lorenzo and his companions were arrested. During his time in prison, Lorenzo was given the option to renounce beliefs in return for his freedom. Lorenzo valiantly chose to defend his Catholic faith. The noble act led Lorenzo to suffer torture tactics and eventually death in 1637 as he and 15 others were hung from their feet upside down.
He was beatified Feb. 18, 1981 and canonized Oct. 18, 1987.
The Filipino Apostolate of the archdiocese was established by Cardinal O’Connor in 1995 to address the pastoral needs of Filipino Catholics in New York. Father Jose Marabe is director of the Filipino Apostolate, which oversees the Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz in lower Manhattan.
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