Filipino Ministry celebrates feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz

On Saturday, September 16, the Archdiocesan Filipino Ministry celebrated the feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila at St. Mark’s Church in Belmont.  Following the Mass celebrated by Father Peter Eugenio, there was a short procession with the statue of San Lorenzo Ruiz from the Church to the parish hall. A reception was held after the procession.

The Filipino Ministry shares the story of St. Lorenzo:

San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila is the first Filipino saint. He was canonized by Pope St. John Paul II and is the patron saint of Filipino youth, people working overseas, and altar servers.

San Lorenzo was born around the year 1600 in Binondo, Manila in the Philippines.  He was the son of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother. Both were Christians and took care to  raise Lorenzo as a Catholic. He served happily in his parish church as an altar boy  and calligrapher. 

As a young man, Lorenzo joined the Dominican Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary. Later, he married a woman named Rosario. The happy couple had three children, two sons and  one daughter. By all accounts, the family was ordinary and happy. 

In 1636, Lorenzo was accused of murder. Allegedly he killed a Spaniard. To protect his safety  at the time, he fled home and found refuge on board a ship with three Dominican priests and  a leper. There are no details of this alleged crime other than a journal entry by two Dominican  priests, that he joined their group to escape possible arrest.

The ship departed the Philippines on  June 10, 1636, bound for Okinawa. A shock awaited the passengers when they arrived in Japan. At the time of their arrival, the  rulers of Japan, the Tokugawa Shogunate, were persecuting Christians. Lorenzo and his  companions were arrested by Japanese officials for the crime of being a Christian and ordered  them to recant his faith. When they refused, they were imprisoned.

On September 27, 1637,  Lorenzo and his companions were taken to Nagasaki to be tortured and killed if they would not  recant their faith. Lorenzo refused to recant. According to the record of his death, his last words were, “I am a  Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for God. Had I a thousand lives, all these to Him  I shall offer. Do with me as you please.” His traveling companions were all killed, steadfast until the end. 

Lorenzo was beatified by Pope John Paul II on February 18, 1981. The beatification ceremony  was held in the Philippines making it the first beatification ceremony ever held outside the  Vatican. A miracle attributed to his intercession occurred in 1983. A two-year-old girl, Alegria  Policarpio, suffering from hydrocephaly, a condition she had since birth, was miraculously  cured. His canonization took place at the Vatican on October 18, 1987.

St. Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us!

Photos: Angelica Tubig