The patron saint during pandemic

The patron saint during pandemic
By Mel Jasmin

On August 16, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Sant Rock or San Roque as he is popularly known in the Philippines.
Scarcely 32 years old when he died, it is generally accepted that Saint Roch was born about 1295 in Montpellier, France and died in 1327. St. Roch was the only child of rich and noble parents in southern France. John, his father, descendant of the kings of France, was also governor of their home city of Montpel­lier. He and his wife, Libera, were good Christian people. They had one cross. It was that they were aging and still childless. God at length heard their prayer. In due time a child was born, a boy, whom they named Roch, (pro­nounced rock).
Roch responded to the virtu­ous training his parents gave him. He was twenty when the turning point came to his life. It was the death of his parents. First there was his Christian father. He had hardly laid his aged father to rest amid the pomp due his rank and fortune, when Almighty God asked of him also the sacrifice of the dearest soul he still had on earth, his good mother.
The plague was abroad in Italy when Roch went afoot on his pilgrimage. Reaching a town called Aquapendente, he found St. John's hos­pital filled with the plague stricken. He offered his as­sistance to the head of the hospital. What time was left over from his day's work in the hospital, Roch spent in visiting and waiting on the sick in their homes. The peo­ple were agape at what they saw. Amazement gave way to veneration for this youth who was like the Archangel St. Raphael in the flesh to these people.
Secretly he stole away and went to Rome. There he satisfied his devotion to the holy Apostles. But he found more of the same kind of work waiting for him there. The mortality from the plague was frightful in Rome.
To all other suffering, there was now added that of complete abandonment by every­body when they should have helped him in his need as he had helped them in theirs.
The images of St. Roch show him either ministering to the sick or alone, attired in pilgrim's cloak and cap. A staff is in his hand, with the traditional pilgrim's wallet, sometimes indicated as· a scallop on his shoulder. A dog is at his side, recalling the story of his rescue on the Trebbia at Piacenza. At times, he points to a mark on his side or his thigh, indi­cating either the storied birthmark or the pain which attacked him at Piacenza.
Today St. Roch is one of the popular saints, as a patron against diseases, notably as a healer of contagion of all kinds. San Roque, pray for us!
Share this post...
Previous post Next post


Leave a comment