Shepparton's Filipino community will honour their island country's first Catholic saint with a celebration on Sunday.By Estelle Griepink
Shepparton’s Filipino community is inviting the public to participate in a colourful celebration honouring their island country’s first Catholic saint.
San Lorenzo Ruiz was a priest born in Manila in about 1600.
In 1693, he travelled to Japan to preach the gospel, but was arrested for doing so.
The Japanese offered San Lorenzo freedom if he would renounce his faith, but he refused and was killed.
St Mel’s Catholic Church’s Father Joven Lustre said the saint was a model for all Filipinos.
‘‘The Philippines is a Catholic country so he serves as an inspiration,’’ Fr Lustre said.
‘‘He was someone who loved life, loved the church, loved the Lord and loved the community – to the extent that he offered his life for his faith.’’
Fr Lustre said the annual event was so enjoyable, he had been travelling from Bendigo for the past four years to attend.
He transferred to St Mel’s Church late last year.
‘‘It’s loud, festive and colourful, a typical celebration,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s songs, dances and food.’’
Fr Lustre encouraged everyone to attend, stressing the event wasn’t only for the Filipino community.
‘‘It’s something everyone looks forward to and it’s open to everyone, not just Filipinos,’’ Fr Lustre said.
‘‘Anyone who loves life is welcome.’’
Mass will be followed by lunch, dances, songs and games at the parish hall.
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