On September 29,1637, San Lorenzo Ruiz professed his faith by martyrdom. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Manila and later canonized on October 28,1987. San Lorenzo Ruiz holds the distinction of being the first person beatified outside the Vatican. He also holds the honor of being the first Filipino saint, the "most improbable of saints," as Pope John Paul II described him during the canonization ceremony.
Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint, was the kind of man who could die for God and religion a thousand times if he had to. Lorenzo Ruiz was was a layman who worked as a calligrapher for the Dominican parish of Binondo, Manila. As an "escriba," he was exceptionally gifted, and the Dominican friars relied on him to transcribe baptismal, confirmation and marriage documents into the church's official books. He was also an active member of the Marian confraternity, a man the Dominicans described as someone "they could trust."
The son of a Chinese father and Tagala mother who lived in the Parian district outside the city walls of Manila, Lorenzo Ruiz married a Tagala like his mother and had three children -- two sons and a daughter -- whose descendants are currently residents of the same area where the original Ruiz family lived.In 1636, Ruiz was implicated in a murder. He sought help from his Dominican superiors who believed in his innocence. In order to escape what they believed would have been an unjust prosecution for their protege, the Spanish friars immediately sent Ruiz on a missionary expedition outside of the Philippines. Initially, Ruiz thought he was being sent to Taiwan, where he believed his Chinese roots would enable him to start a new life. Little did he know that he and the missionary expedition led by Fray Domingo Ibanez was actually headed for Nagasaki, Japan, where feudalism was fanning the flames of Christian persecution. Lorenzo Ruiz was headed straight into the arms of death.
He was arrested almost immediately upon his arrival in Japan in 1636, and subjected to torture by his Japanese captors for more than a year. Tied upside down by his feet and dropped into a well where sharp stakes lined the bottom, his torturers would stop just before he would be impaled, and thereupon try to convince him to renounce his faith.
"Deny your faith and we will spare your life," his persecutors said.
To which Lorenzo Ruiz answered, "I will never do it. I am a Catholic and happy to die for God. If I have a thousand lives to offer, I will offer them to God."
Existing documents attest that the Japanese promised him a safe trip back home where he could be reunited with his loved ones, but Ruiz staunchly chose to remain faithful to his religion.
On September 22, 1637, Ruiz, Fray Domingo and their 14 companions were led up a hill overlooking the bay of Nagasaki. There they were hung upside down with their heads inside the well. Their temples were slit open to let blood drip slowly until they died either from loss of blood or asphyxiation. Many died after several days. Ruiz died last, on September 29,1637.
"The Lord gives us saints at the right time and God waited 350 years to give us this saint," the Holy Father then said. "It is the heroism which he demonstrated as a lay witness to the faith... which is very important in today's world. The witness of San Lorenzo is the testimony we need of courage without measure to show us that it is possible. Faith and life for Lorenzo was synonymous and inseparable. Life without faith would have been without value...he proved that sanctity and heroism are there for anybody and the final victory is made to size for each one of us."
PRAYER TO SAN LORENZO RUIZ de MANILA
Beloved SAN LORENZO RUIZ DE MANILA, confronted with death, you proclaimed your readiness to die a thousand times for your Christian faith. Today the whole world admires your courage. We feel particularly proud of you as our brother. And we pray: You, a family man, protect our families. Keep them united in love. You, who bore your sufferings with patience and resignation, intercede for the sick of mind and body; help them to receive the grace of God’s miraculous healing. You, who died in a foreign country, take care of Filipinos living and working in this country and in other parts of the world. You, an example of Christian fortitude, sustain our faith and make it spread and grow strong all around us. You, the Philippines’ first saint, be the country’s special protector. Unite us as one people; help us to work in harmony for development and progress; and give us peace. AMEN.
(State your intentions). San Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us.
PRAYER IN TIMES OF ADVERSITY
Beloved SAN LORENZO RUIZ DE MANILA and Companion Martyrs: You, who experienced the supreme sacrifice of martyrdom for the proclamation of the Christian faith, inspire us with your strength and firmness of conviction to withstand the adversities of our lives and the difficulties of our existence. Teach us with your marvelous example and saintly wisdom to turn trials into blessings, by showing us the glory that comes from discovering the redemptive power of God's love. When times are full of grief, when moments are suffused with worry, let us feel your presence in our midst, so that we will be aware that you are by our side, strengthening us and interceding for us before Almighty God that we may have patience in our sufferings and consolation in our hardships. Help us realize that only in knowing our weakness can we be strong, only in undergoing sadness can we find real happiness, and only in passing through trials and distress can we find peace, encouragement and spiritual joy. AMEN. (State your intentions). San Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us.
PRAYER FOR THE SICK
Beloved SAN LORENZO RUIZ DE MANILA and Martyr Companions, to you do we come for help.Help us to have the same faith and love that you had for God. We call upon you today on behalf of our ailing beloved ones. By your prayers and intercession obtain for them, not only comfort and peace for their souls, but also vigor, strength and health for their bodies. We place our entire confidence in you because we know that God loves you and that you care for us. We earnestly pray that our sick ones be purified and revitalized in every cell, tissue, nerve and organ, so that the bodily limbs may function effectively again. Through your powerful intercession help our sick to receive the grace of God's miraculous compassion, so that they will be completely whole again, and thereby be able to continue serving God faithfully in this life to the best of their strength and to attain the salvation to which you arrived. AMEN.
Welcome to Sambayanihan
We are a community of Filipino American families conscious of its own socio-cultural identity, growing intellectually and spiritually together thru the reception of the sacraments rooted in the scripture and devotion especially to Mother Mary but integrated in the community life of St Mary Parish (Alpha NJ).
Sambayanihan is a composite word. SAMBA refers to the worshipping and prayerful nature of this Christian Community. SAMBAYANAN is the Filipino word for community. BAYANIHAN refers to the spirit of solidarity, cooperation and service among the members of the community.
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A Prayer for the New Year
We pray that this New Year will bring us closer to You.
May we take the time to get to know You.
Help us to truly celebrate the gifts You have graciously given us
and use them to serve You and spread Your word.
May we also see and love You in all the people we meet,
so that in turn, they can see You in us.
We know that all human relations take time
if they are to grow and deepen.
This is also true of our relations with You,
the Father and the Holy Spirit,
which must group over the course of our lives.
In this new year,
let us realize that every action of ours
no matter how great or small
enables us to be in touch with You.
Let us accept You in our lives,
in the way it pleases You,
as Truth, to be spoken,
as Life, to be lived,
as Light, to be lighted,
as Love, to be followed,
as Joy, to be given,
as Peace, to be spread about,
as Sacrifice, to be offered among our relatives,
friends, neighbors and all people.
St. Mary Parish Organizations
- Altar Rosary Society
Meets every 4th Tuesday of each month at 7PM Mass followed by meeting in the Church Hall.
- Adult Choir
Thursdays at 7PM in Church. New members welcome - HS age and up.
- Footprints Ministry (Cancer Support)
2nd Monday of each month at 7PM in the Parish Center.
- Martha's Table
Assist parishioners with dinners after surgery, accident, death or when dealing with a long-term illness.
- Mary's Helpers
A group of parishioners available to help families with refreshments after a Funeral Mass.
- Sanctuary Guild
Each Thursday following the 8AM Mass.
- Meals on Wheels
Provides home delivered meals services to people in need. Refer to Bulletin for contact name.
- Youth Choir
Thursdays at 6 PM in the Church Hall.
If you would like to be added to our email list, or have any questions about "Sambayanihan ni Maria", please email us at SambayanihanniMaria@gmail.com.