By Christina Hermoso
Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco will lead a concelebrated high mass at 5 p.m. on Monday, January 20, at the 128-year-old Basilica Minore de San Sebastian on Plaza del Carmen in Quiapo, Manila, in solemn observance of the Feast of San Sebastian, the revered patron saint of athletes and soldiers.
A solemn procession will precede the holy mass. Novena masses were held from January 11 to 19.
Feast masses will also be celebrated by the Diocese of Bacolod City as well as in Lumban, Laguna in honor of one of the most illustrious martyrs of the Roman Catholic faith
A native of France, St. Sebastian died fighting for his faith during the third century, when Christians were being killed and persecuted. He was buried along the Appian Way in Rome, Italy, where the Basilica of San Sebastian, one of the seven chief churches of Rome, stands today. Over the years, the church has become a popular pilgrimage site and tourist attraction.
The Catholic Church considers St. Sebastian as “a fervent servant of Jesus Christ.” Many churches and schools all over the world, including the Philippines, were placed under his patronage and named in his honor and memory.