By Christina Hermoso
The Roman Catholic Church observes today the feast of the author of the second Gospel of the Holy Bible and the founder of Christianity in Africa – Saint Mark the Evangelist (San Marcos Evangelista).
Commemorative masses, novenas, and special prayer services will be held in his honor in several Catholic churches in many parts of the world, including the Philippines.
In the country, feast rites will be celebrated in the towns of San Pablo and Pangil in Laguna and in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur.
In Infanta, Quezon, the “Harana’t Sayaw” Festival in honor of St. Mark will be held, while the “Fiestang Balen” will be celebrated in Concepcion, Nueva Ecija.
St. Mark was one of the 72 disciples mentioned in the scriptures sent out by Jesus Christ to help spread the Word of God. He was believed to have preached in Cyprus and Alexandria, Egypt, where he converted thousands to the faith.
He served as the first bishop of Alexandria and was regarded as the founder of Christianity in Africa.
A companion of St. Peter in his missionary work, St. Mark wrote the second Gospel before 60 A.D. in Rome, Italy based on the teachings of St. Peter. He died a martyr of the Catholic faith in 68 A.D. His major shrines are located in Venice, Italy, and in Cairo, Egypt.