St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Church
747 Meadow Pass Road
Walnut, CA 91789-4907 United States
8:00 am & 5:00 pm
7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, 1:30 pmSpanish & 6:30 pm
Monday – Friday 6:45 am – 7:00 am and 6:45 pm – 7:00 pm Saturday 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Weekly Mass Schedule
1:30 pm (Spanish)
Holy Days of Obligation
All Saints’ Day
Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary
“One of the first questions visiting parishioners would always ask is this, “Who is SAINT LORENZO RUIZ”? That is not actually surprising, considering the vast number of saints that Vatican had recognized and canonized through the years, starting from the 10th century. In terms of worldwide recognition and popularity, St. Lorenzo Ruiz is arguably a cub compared to the old-timers of the League say St. Francis of Assisi, St. Paul or St. Augustine–whose fame and following are beyond measure. But just like the rest of the saints who came before him, his story continues to inspire and influence many lives today, providing an important reminder that holiness is not the privilege of the few, but the vocation of all the baptized. So who is St. Lorenzo Ruiz? He is the first Filipino Saint, beatified by Saint John Paul II (then a Pope) in Manila on February 18, 1981 and canonized in Rome on October 18, 1987. We celebrate his feast day every 28th of September. He was born in Binondo, Manila around 1610 of a Chinese father and a Filipina mother. He received education from the Dominican friars of Spain when Philippines was under the Spanish rule. The Spaniards ruled over the lands for 333 years. Lorenzo spoke three languages: Tagalog, Spanish and Chinese. As a young boy, Lorenzo held various tasks in the Church of Binondo – as an altar server, calligrapher and as the friars’ most favorite errand boy. Wherever he went, Lorenzo’s outstanding honesty always preceded him.
Lorenzo, who was an ardent member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary, was a fervent devotee of our Blessed Mother, a devotion which he passionately passed along to his wife, two sons and daughter. In 1636, Lorenzo was accused of murder. Two Spanish sailors figured in a drunken brawl which resulted to a murderous rage. Spanish authorities, not intending to send one of their own in prison, looked for someone to blame and found Lorenzo, a Filipino-Chinese, as a perfect scapegoat. The Filipino-Chinese, at that time, suffered the worst discrimination from the Spaniards who considered them as the lowest among the social class in the Philippines. Filing of trumped up charges and gathering phony witnesses were common sights in the courts during Spain’s tyrannical rule, leaving Filipinos with practically nothing to defend themselves except to surrender their fate to the mercy of the corrupt judges issuing the verdicts. Compelled to leave the country, his wife, and children, Lorenzo joined the Dominican missionaries on what he thought was a missionary work to Macao. Unbeknown to him, the chapman carrying them, instead of taking a western course, veered northward all the way to their final destination–Okinawa, Japan. Japan at that time was under the Tokugawa Shogunate. Shoguns, who were mostly Buddhists and Shintoists, were particularly hostile and merciless to Christians who were attempting to preach the Gospel in their land. Several weeks after they docked in the rocky beaches of Okinawa, Lorenzo and his companion martyrs were captured while celebrating a Mass in a secluded village of Christian converts. Before they were subjected to various methods of inhuman torture, the daimyo offered Lorenzo and his group a pardon on a condition that they would renounce their faith and leave Japan. The captives politely agreed to leave, but refused to depart from the island as “nonChristians”. This made the Shogun lord extremely furious, for none has ever refused the Shogunate before. Unaccustomed to rejection, the Shoguns considered the group’s decision as an insult to their empire and immediately sent the prisoners into their slow and painful execution. Bamboo sticks as sharp as the samurai sword were hammered into their fingernails and toes, while different ways of achieving asphyxiation were administered to each prisoner without ceasing. On the eve of his death, while hanging from the gallows upside down and his head buried in a pit filled with human and animal waste, Lorenzo’s torturer – possibly feeling some ounce of pity for his victim – persuaded him to renounce his faith for the last time to end his agony. Lorenzo, however, in his dying breath replied: “I am a Catholic. If I had a thousand lives, I shall offer them all to God!” There are countless miracles attributed to St. Lorenzo Ruiz but the one that people remember and which stands out the most was the story of Cecilia Alegria Policarpio, a 2 year old girl suffering from a rare, “paralysiscausing” brain disease (brain atrophy hydrocephalus) who was cured through the intercession of her family to the saint. This took place in 1983. In her recollection, Cecilia said she was lying on her bed, unable to move from the pain of her brain disease, when she noticed a light coming from where her feet were. She recalled seeing a man holding a rosary, looking up to heaven, but not saying anything. The following morning her illness was completely gone and, for the first time, was finally able to sit on her bed without help. What she didn’t know was that her mother and relatives prayed a novena to then Blessed Lorenzo and placed the picture of the saint on her pillow.
The story of St. Lorenzo Ruiz is a story of an ordinary man who did not dream of sainthood. Yet when fate shoved him towards the dark and stormy regions of life, Lorenzo did not give up his faith and his God; instead, he showed how the Word of God can be put into practice, by facing adversity with courage and by looking at death–not as a grim tyrant–but as a welcoming friend that will fly him into God’s heavenly abode, in the company of angels and saints, spending eternity. Like the colors of spectrum in relation to light, St. Lorenzo Ruiz’s story reflects the pure light of God’s holiness.
God worthy of a thousand deaths.”