Filipino Catholic Community to celebrate San Lorenzo Ruiz

The Filipino Catholic Community in the Diocese of Raleigh will celebrate and commemorate the life and Christian works of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino martyr and saint.

A special Mass will be celebrated at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral Sunday, Sept. 24, at 3 p.m. Bishop Luis Zarama will be the principal celebrant.

A traditional Filipino Fiesta—prepared by the different members and families of the Filipino community—will take place after Mass. All are welcome to attend.

About San Lorenzo Ruiz

A layman, Lorenzo Ruiz was a husband and father to two sons and a daughter. Born in Binondo, Manila, around 1600, he was educated in the school of the Dominicans.

He served as an altar boy and later was a helper and clerk-sacristan in the church of Binondo. He was a member of the Confraternity of the Rosary. He made his living as a calligrapher.

He left the Philippines in 1636. When he was in his late twenties or early thirties, he became involved or was accused of being involved in a criminal case, the circumstances of which were far from clear. Whether he was involved or not, one thing was clear, he was afraid that, as a consequence of a trial or mistrial, he might be given a death sentence. Upon landing in Japan where Christians were being persecuted, he was arrested and imprisoned together with his companions.

He underwent inhuman tortures and valiantly confessed his Christian faith. Refusing to renounce his faith, he told his executioner that he was ready to die for God.

On Sept. 27, 1637, he was hung from gallows by his feet. After two days of agony, he died of bleeding and suffocation. His body was cremated and the ashes thrown into the sea. He and his 14 companions, martyred in the same persecution, were beatified by Pope John Paul II in Manila on Feb. 18, 1981, and canonized Oct. 18, 1987, in Rome. Their feast day is Sept. 28.