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Mass to Honor St. Lorenzo Ruiz

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On September 19, 3:00 p.m., at St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Apex, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge will celebrate a Mass in honor of St. Lorenzo Ruiz. Born in Binondo, Manila, Philippines to a Chinese father and a Filipina mother about 1600, he grew up and was educated under the influence of the Dominican fathers. He served as an altar boy and later as a clerk sacristan in the Church of Binondo. He married and became the father of two sons and a daughter, practicing his faith devoutly and joining the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary of Our Lady.

In 1636, he was wrongly accused of murder. With the advice and help of the Dominicans, he left Manila for Japan to avoid prosecution. Unfortunately, in Japan at that time it was a crime to be Christian. St. Lorenzo and his companions were all captured, imprisoned, and tortured in Nagasaki. The authorities offered to spare his life if he would denounce his faith, but he replied, “I did not come to Japan to be a martyr, but if I had thousands of lives I would gladly give them all up for Christ.”

On September 29, 1637, he was martyred with fifteen companions. His body was cremated and his ashes thrown into the sea.

All 16 Filipinos were canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 18, 1987. St. Lorenzo became the first Filipino martyr to be canonized. The feast of Saint Lorenzo is celebrated on September 28, and it is said that Pope John Paul II called St. Lorenzo Ruiz a patron saint of immigrants.