The Diocese of Kalookan has started the nine-day novena in honor of its patron San Roque (Saint Roch), the revered patron saint of the sick, the invalid, and against the plague.
The faithful are encouraged to download the novena e-booklet prepared by the SRC Commission on Worship and Liturgy to be able to join the novena either online or at the San Roque Cathedral at 6 pm.
On the first day of the novena on August 7, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles John Brown presided over the novena mass in honor of San Roque at the San Roque Cathedral. The Papal envoy was welcomed by Kalookan Bishop and CBCP president Pablo Virgilio David, Vicar General and cathedral rector, Fr. Jerome Cruz, and the other cathedral priests.
After the reception, Archbishop Brown led the Eucharistic Celebration. The Novena will be held until August 15 as a prelude to the feast day of San Roque on August 16.
Venerated as the protector against the plague, local devotion to San Roque started as early as the year 1637 when, according to stories, many were miraculously cured of malaria after holding a procession in honor of the healing saint.
Born in 1295 in Montpellier, France, San Roque was miraculously marked from birth with a red cross on his chest that increased in size as he grew up. He entered the Franciscan Order and cared for the sick and the poor. He was known as a miracle healer as he cured the sick through prayer, the touch of his hand, and by making the sign of the cross.
San Roque died at the age of 32 on Aug. 16, 1327, and was buried at the Church of San Rocco in Venice, Italy.
At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, several Church leaders encouraged the faithful to seek the intercession of San Roque for an end to the health crisis.