500 Years of Christianity Countdown

By: Bro. Clifford T. Sorita

As our Philippine COVID-19 data is released daily every after 4:00pm, Let us join Radio Veritas in collectively offering during this time a nationwide deliverance prayer to SAN ROQUE [St. Roch] our Patron Saint against Plagues, and ask through his intercession the healing of those afflicted by COVID-19 and our continued protection against this plague/disease. And, on his Feast Day [August 16] let pray our country’s deliverance from this health crisis.

Who is San Roque (St. Roch)? Barely 32 years old when he died, it is generally accepted that Saint Roch (San Roque as popularly known in the Philippines) 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 Montpel¬lier. 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).

St. Roch lived the virtu¬ous training his parents gave him. He renounced his princedom and whatever property there was in favor of his uncle. The rest of his rich in¬heritance he traded and allocated among the poor. He kept nothing for himself but a “PILGRIM’S GARB” and pittance. It is not known how he meant to spend his life; only that his thought for the time being was of making a pilgrimage to Rome, to visit the tomb of the Apostles.

When a plague occurred in Italy (in a town a town called Aquapendente) while San Roque went afoot on his pilgrimage. He found St. John’s hos¬pital filled with the plague stricken. He offered his as¬sistance 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. Other towns visited and simi¬larly blessed by San Roque were Cesena, Modena, Parma, Piacenza. God had his own designs in bringing Roch to Piacenza. His hard days of personal charity were to end with grievous sufferings. Roch became an invalid, suffer¬ing steadily the severest kind of pain. In addition, he found himself afflicted with the plague. Leaving the hos¬pital where he had been placed, rather than be a burden to others, he found his way out into the country to a little hut on the Trebbia River.

As told by a Franciscan hagiographer, Marion A. Habig, O.F.M.: “When he felt that his end was drawing near, Saint Roch asked that a priest might come and administer the last sacraments. The priest, on entering the prison, beheld it supernaturally lighted up and the poor captive surrounded with special radiance. As death claimed its victim, a tablet appeared on the wall on which an angelic hand wrote in golden letters the name of Roch, and the prediction that all who would invoke his intercession would be delivered from the plague. Informed of all that took place, Saint Roch’s uncle came to the prison and, shortly after, also the governor’s mother, that is, Roch’s grandmother. She identified the dead man as her grandson by the birthmark of the red cross on his breast. They gave him a magnificent funeral and had a church built in his honor, in which his body was entombed. His veneration was approved by several popes and soon spread throughout Europe.”

Later, during the Council of Constance in 1414, the plague broke out again in Rome. The Council Fathers turned to St. Roch, the patron against the plague, and arranged that prayers and public processions be held in his honor, after which the plague ceased.

So every 4:00pm, let us all join RADIO VERITAS in its daily on-air broadcast of a deliverance prayer seeking the intercession of San Roque against COVID-19. Let our collective prayer be:

O most merciful and loving Father, who through an angel promised San Roque that whoever should invoke his name would be safeguarded from epidemic and contagious diseases. Grant that through his intercession our Homes, Barangays and Communities may be preserved from all dangers both of body and soul brought about by COVID-19.

O Blessed San Roque have pity on those who lie upon a bed of suffering. Your power was so great when you were in this world, that by the sign of the Cross, many were healed of their diseases.

Now that you are in heaven, your power is no less. Offer to God our sighs and tears and obtain for us the physical and spiritual health we seek amidst this health crisis we are now experiencing. SAN ROQUE, Pray for us, that we may be relieved from all diseases of body and soul. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.