It has been a few years since I was informed of the desire of some people and of the Filipino Council about Saint Lorenzo Ruiz being present in one way or another in our Church. I am also aware there is a strong devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague. I have been praying to Saint John Eudes to assist me in being faithful to the Church and our bishop and allowing several parishioners to keep their devotion toward our Lady of Guadalupe, Saint John Eudes, the Holy Family and the infant Jesus. How do we make room for Saint Lorenzo, canonized by Saint Pope John Paul II, as the Philippines' first saint in 1987?
San Lorenzo Ruiz is the patron saint of the Philippines as well as of overseas Filipino workers, Filipino youth, and Chinese Filipinos, among others. His feast day is on September 28, the day before every anniversary of his death, and celebrations are held every year in our region culminating by the Holy Eucharist presided over by Bishop Solis. Our turn will be in 2019!
You know the mission statement of our parish. It was published in the front page of our bulletin last March and can be found on our Web page. Every ministry action we make, and that the pastoral team accepts or makes, has to be clearly connected and to derive directly from this mission statement. Saint Lorenzo, as well as Saint John Eudes our patron saint, can be good models by which we can be inspired.
Our temple or our narthex cannot become a museum: that means adding a series of private devotions.
The sacraments should be the core of our faith experience, and the Eucharist in particular. I do not want to hurt our Child Jesus devotees’ feelings who after mass touch and kiss the statue of the infant Jesus of Prague. This beautiful statue belongs to all the parish devotees and not to just a few. I decided to place this statue on a solid stand in a different spot in the narthex to offer him to our devotees. There is no question of preventing people from touching and kissing the statue. But being a private devotion, I will not permit a sanctuary to be developed around this wonderful statue. This is the reason I moved it from where it is now – to be more visible and touchable.
Now we had to find a place for Saint Lorenzo. The church has made him a saint and the patron saint of the Filipinos. I want to honor the church decision and place his statue where the infant Jesus is currently located. I would like to have a small committee to be responsible for the maintenance of his space.
In Jesus and Mary,
Go and proclaim the Gospel with a burning heart!
Fr. Gérard Lecomte, CJM, Pastor