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Celebration for first Filipino saint

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SAN DIEGO — The Filipino Catholic community will celebrate the Feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila, the first Filipino saint and martyr, with a  Mass on Sept. 11.

It’s one of two events being held that month to mark the 500th anniversary of Christianity arriving in the Philippines.

St. Lorenzo Ruiz was born in Manila in 1594 and grew up in a Catholic family. He became a missionary and sailed to Okinawa in 1636, along with three Dominican priests. In Japan, he refused to renounce his faith and died after two days of torture at the age of 42.

“I am a Christian, this I profess until the hour of my death and if I had a thousand lives I would give them all to the Lord,” he is said to have declared before dying.

The community is highlighting its faith traditions during the anniversary celebration. San Lorenzo Ruiz is the patron saint of altar servers, and their service will be honored at the Mass on Sept. 11.

The celebration begins with a procession and rosary at 9 a.m., followed at 10 by a Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert McElroy. There will be a fiesta afterward, featuring food and entertainment.

Everyone is welcome to attend this celebration at Santa Sophia Church, 9800 San Juan St., Spring Valley. It’s recommended everyone wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

The Diocesan Commission for Filipino Catholics is organizing this event. For more information call Alejandra Diaz at (858) 490-8306, or visit

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