By Christina Hermoso
Friday, June 21, is the feast day of a popular Roman Catholic Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, the patron saint of the Christian youth.
Commemorative masses in honor of the revered Italian saint will be observed in San Luis, Agusan del Sur; Caluag, Quezon; San Fernando, Pampanga; and at the St. Louis University in Baguio City.
In Rome, pilgrims and devotees traditionally gather for the religious services at the Church of St. Ignatius, where the well-venerated saint was buried.
Born in the year 1568 in a castle in Castiglione, Italy, St. Aloysius’ first spoken words were the holy names of Jesus and Mary. He taught catechism to poor children and was a devotee of the Blessed Mother. In 1591, while serving the sick as a Jesuit student during a plague in Milan, Italy, he contracted the disease and died at the young age of 23.
Canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII, he was declared patron saint of the Christian youth by Pope Pius XI in 1926.