By Christina Hermoso
Commemorative masses will be held in many parts of the country tomorrow in memory of Italian saint and Franciscan mystic Saint Joseph (San Jose) of Cupertino, the patron saint of people with mental handicap, students, examinees, and air travelers.
In Quezon City, the San Jose de Cupertino Center for Special Children in La Vista, Loyola Heights, a school for children with special needs, was built and placed under his patronage.
Church officials encourage the Catholic faithful, the youth in particular, to pray for Saint Joseph’s intercession during examinations and when facing difficulties in school.
Born on June 17, 1603 in Cupertino, Italy, St. Joseph was said to have been slow witted and was believed to have a learning disability. Over the years, he grew in holiness and faith and was, according to stories, prone to miraculous levitation and intense ecstatic visions. Admitted into a Franciscan friary, he was ordained priest in 1628. He led a life of poverty and prayer, and was a great devotee of the Holy Mother. Because of his gift of healing and purity of heart, he attracted large crowds of believers in his lifetime.
He died in 1663 and was canonized by Pope Clement XIII on July 16, 1767. His life has been made into a movie entitled “The Reluctant Saint,” as well as into a comic book, “The Flying Friar,” and a children’s book, “The Little Friar Who Flew.”