Filipino community celebrates first native martyr

.- At the special liturgy celebrating the feast day of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino martyr, on Sept. 28, Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Miss. told the congregation, “There is a road to heroic virtue ... by each one of the individual acts of charity that we do. And each day we have an opportunity to do those Corporal Acts of Mercy.”

The bishop reminded the faithful, “there is also a possible opportunity for punishment by ignoring, neglecting, or omitting to help someone in need.”

He said the faithful can achieve their reward “By joyously serving the Lord and witnessing to our faith ... the path to the crown of glory can begin with just a cup of water, a piece of bread,” he said.

Hundreds of Filipinos and others gathered at Our Lady of Fatima Church for the celebration of the feast of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, who was born in Binondo, Manila between 1600 and 1610, to a Chinese father and a Filipino mother. After traveling to Nagasaki in 1636 and subjected to torture by his Japanese captors for more than a year, he died a horrible death.

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Manila on Feb. 18, 1981. He was canonized on Oct. 18, 1987 in Rome.

A celebration of the Filipino culture followed the liturgy in the parish hall.

Printed with permission from the Gulf Pine Catholic, newspaper for the Diocese of Biloxi, Miss.

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