Celebrating San Roke, patron saint of sick and invalids


Jesus desires our perseverance in prayer, says Archbishop Byrnes

By Anne Marie Rodriguez
Umatuna Si Yu’os

On a cloudy Saturday afternoon, the parish of San Vicente Ferrer & San Roke Catholic Church in Barrigada celebrated the joyous feast of one of their namesakes, San Roke on August 20, 2017.

A solemn procession was followed by the veneration of the relic of San Roke and the Na’Taotao Tumåno’.

Archbishop Michael Byrnes, the main celebrant of the festal Mass, was joined by concelebrants Father Vincenzo Acampora, parochial vicar of the Barrigada parish, and parochial administrator Father Joel de los Reyes. Deacon Larry Claros of the Barrigada parish assisted in the Mass.

The archbishop reflected on the gospel of the Canaanite woman’s faith and said, “We know the gospel and reflect on what Jesus actually did and said, but what is this about? This is about being in a personal relationship with Jesus. It’s about being engaged with Jesus, personally, in prayer.”

It “takes boldness and perseverance” to live out our Christian faith and “have a relationship with Jesus Christ,” the archbishop said.

Drawing from the persistence of the Canaanite woman, whose daughter was tormented by a demon, the archbishop said, “We have things in our lives that we cannot handle on our own. We have needs and desires that cannot be met by anything earthly but can only be filled in a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

San Roke, also known as Saint Roch or Saint Roque in other countries, is the patron saint of dogs, of plague and -pestilence, and of sick and invalids.

In 1295, San Roke was born into a rich and noble family in Montpelier, France. His parents died by the time the beloved saint was 20 years old, which he then sold all his possessions to live his life as a pilgrim.

San Roke devoted his life to serving those who fell victim to the plague. He, while traveling through a desert, found himself stricken by the plague.

After many months of no contact with humans, dogs would come to him, carrying loaves of bread.

Many years of travelling brought him back to his birthplace, where he was accused of being a spy and was arrested.In the five years he spent inside the prison, he passed away in 1327.

h“This is what Jesus is inviting us into today,” the archbishop declared. “Life with the saints—life with San Roke.

We need a day-to-day relationship with Jesus. No matter the disappointment, no matter the challenge.”