Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego in California led Mass with the Filipino community on September 10 to honor San Lorenzo Ruiz, the Philippines first canonized martyr.
According to the diocese’s newspaper, The Southern Cross, it was McElroy’s first local Mass for the general Catholic community since he was elevated to the College of Cardinals on August 27.
In his homily, the cardinal challenged the faithful “to make the same affirmation in our faith that San Lorenzo made, and every martyr before and after him.”
“We are called to place our lives in the person of Jesus Christ and understand that it is in the cross of Christ crucified and Christ risen that we see a pathway to our own salvation,” Cardinal McElroy said.
About a thousand Filipino Catholics from across the region joined the annual celebration, held this time at St. Charles Church in the city’s south.
Lorenzo Ruiz is considered to be the patron saint of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and migrants in general.
The cardinal also took the occasion to acknowledge the Filipino community, which, according to him, is the diocese’s “source of strength and vitality.”
“And I give thanks to you for all that you do in your parish communities to enrich our church of San Diego,” he added.
After the Mass, Cardinal McElroy led a procession with the image of San Lorenzo Ruiz around the church.
Canonized by Pope John Paul II in Rome on Oct. 18, 1987, San Lorenzo Ruiz was martyred during the persecution of Christians in Japan during the 17th century while on a missionary expedition.
Filipinos celebrate the feast of the saint every September 28.