By Christina Hermoso
Bishop Jesse Mercado will preside over a high mass at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, November 3, at the St. Martin de Porres Church in United Hills Village, Paranaque City, in solemn commemoration of the Feast of Saint Martin de Porres, the saint protector of mixed raced people.
A solemn procession will precede the mass.
Several towns, schools, medical facilities, and parishes in many parts of the country will observe commemorative rites in honor of the well-loved Dominican friar and the first black American saint.
Known as the patron saint of social justice and inter-racial love, St. Martin was admired for his piety, charitable work, and love for the poor and the orphans, as well as for his great devotion to prayer and the Blessed Sacrament.
Also known as Martin of Charity, the popular saint was blessed with the gifts of healing, bilocation, and the ability to communicate with animals.
Born on Dec. 9, 1579 in Lima, Peru, to a Spanish nobleman and a black woman, St. Martin was said to have been abandoned by his father at birth because of his dark complexion. This painful rejection taught him compassion and generosity at a very young age. He died on Nov. 3, 1639 and was canonized on May 6, 1962 by then pope now Saint John XXIII who named him as the Saint Protector of the Mixed Race people.