Feast of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and His Companions (September 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Philippines and Japan at the end of the Seventeenth Century

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT LORENZO RUIZ (NOVEMBER 28, 1594-SEPTEMBER 29, 1637)

Chinese-Filipino Roman Catholic Missionary and Martyr in Japan, 1637

Alternative feast day = September 29

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SAINT ANTONIO GONZÁLEZ (1593-SEPTEMBER 24, 1637)

Spanish Roman Catholic Missionary Priest and Martyr and Japan, 1637

His feast transferred from September 24

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SAINT GUILLERMO COURTET (CIRCA 1590-SEPTEMBER 29, 1637)

French Roman Catholic Missionary Priest and Martyr in Japan, 1637

His feast transferred from September 29

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SAINT MIGUEL GONZÁLEZ DE AOZARAZA DE LEIBAR (FEBRUARY 1598-SEPTEMBER 29, 1637)

Spanish Roman Catholic Missionary Priest and Martyr in Japan, 1637

His feast transferred from September 29

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SAINT VICENTE SHIWOZUKA DE LA CRUZ (CIRCA 1576-SEPTEMBER 29, 1637)

Japanese Roman Catholic Missionary Priest and Martyr in Japan, 1637

His feast transferred from September 29

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SAINT LAZARO (OR LAZARUS) OF KYOTO (DIED SEPTEMBER 29, 1637)

Japanese Roman Catholic Layman and Martyr in Japan, 1637

His feast transferred from September 29

St. Lorenzo Ruiz comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic.  You, O reader, may notice that I have transferred feasts from September 24 and September 29 to September 28.  This Ecumenical Calendar is one of my hobbies, so I get to do whatever I want here.  Also, I reserve September 29 for St. Michael and All Angels, given my policy (with very few exceptions) of reserving some days for just one post, if that post is about a Biblical character or Biblical characters.

St. Lorenzo Ruiz, born in Manila, the Philippines, on November 28, 1594, came from a Roman Catholic family.  His father was Chinese.  Our saint’s mother was Filipino.  Ruiz, bilingual in Chinese and Tagalog, served as an altar boy in the family’s parish church.  The Dominican friars taught him Spanish.  Our saint, a member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary, married one Rosario.  The couple had two sons and one daughter.

Then, in 1636, our saint’s life took a detour.  Ruiz, falsely accused of murdering a Spaniard, fled the country.  He escaped on a ship carrying four Dominican priests and a layman.  They were:

  1. St. Antonio González, born in Léon, Spain, in 1593, became a Dominican priest and missionary. 
  2. St. Guillermo Courtet, born in Sérignan, Languedoc, France, circa 1590, became a Dominican priest and missionary.
  3. St. Miguel González de Aozaraza de Leibar, born in Oñate, Guipúzcoa, Spain, in February 1598, became a Dominican priest and missionary.
  4. St. Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, born in Nagasaki circa 1576, became a Dominican and missionary.
  5. St. Lazaro (or Lazarus) of Kyoto, born in Kyoto, was a layman and a leper.

The six saints sailed for Okinawa.

The Tokugawa Shogunate, which pursued an isolationist foreign policy, persecuted Christians.  After someone at Okinawa betrayed the six saints, they spent more than a year in prison and endured tortures.  St. Antonio González died first at Nagasaki, on September 24, 1637.  St. Vincente Shiwozuka de la Cruz briefly wavered in his faith yet recovered it.  Likewise, Ruiz briefly became ready to renounce his faith in exchange for release while hanging upside-down over a pit in Nagasaki for two days.  Yet he recovered his faith in time to die as the first Filipino martyr on September 28.  Sts. Guillermo Courtet, Miguel González de Aozaraza de Leibar, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and Lazaro (Lazarus) of Kyoto received the crown of martyrdom on September 29.

Holy Mother Church recognized these saints formally.  Pope John Paul II declared them Venerables in 1980, Beati in 1981, and full saints in 1987.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 3, 2021 COMMON ERA

HOLY SATURDAY

THE FEAST OF LUTHER D. REED, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF SAINTS BURGENDOFARA AND SADALBERGA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESSES, AND THEIR RELATIVES

THE FEAST OF MARC SANGNIER, FOUNDER OF THE SILLON MOVEMENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY OF EGYPT, HERMIT AND PENITENT

THE FEAST OF REGINALD HEBER, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CALCUTTA, AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the

flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyrs

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz,

Saint Antonio González,

Saint Guillermo Courtet,

Saint Miguel González de Aozaraza de Leibar, 

Saint Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and

Saint Lazaro (or Lazarus) of Kyoto:

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love,

that we who rejoice in their triumph may profit by their examples;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 715

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