By Ojok Emmanuel

The Vice Chancellor University of the Sacred Heart Gulu, Rev. Fr. Jino Mwaka has called for compassion towards the underprivileged. Fr. Mwaka made the call during celebrations to mark St. Martin de Porres day in Lukome parish. St. Martin de Porres is the patron saint of the parish. Fr. Mwaka presided over the Homily on behalf of Gulu Archbishop John Baptist Odama.The archbishop was out of the archdiocese for a meeting in South Sudan to deliberate on hope for peace to return to the country.

Fr. Jino Mwaka prepares to start the Mass (Photo by Odoch Sunday)

“We are part of the one body of Christ. Each one is gifted by god. It is important to discern and discover ‘what is my unique contribution and how do I allow my life be a blessing to my chapel, for my parish’”, stressed Fr. Mwaka. About compassion for the underprivileged, he asked, “What am I contributing in the different areas of life of our people? We must learn to discern that not everyone who comes to us, who wants to be our friend can be a trustworthy, true friend. We are also challenged to be people who are trustworthy and concerned about the wellbeing of others in the spirit of the greatest commandment; The Love of God and Love of Neighbor”.

Procession towards the alter (Photo by Odoch Sunday)

St. Martin de Porres Lukome Parish Priest Fr. David Kolo spoke about the special attachment the parish has with St Martin de Porres. “We celebrate our feast day on the 3rd of November but we decided to push it on the 9th not to interfere with the Primary Leaving Examinations that would be sat here at the parish centre (Lukome Primary School). The day is highly celebrated by the Christians around the parish from all the 14 chapels because St. Martin is a Saint for the poor. He continues to intercede for the poor and his life is also inspiring for the poor”, emphasized Fr. Kolo.

Procession towards the alter (Photo by Ojok Emmanuel)

The annual celebrations have transformed the lives of many Christians, according to testimonies from most Christians.  Three catechists were commissioned and nearly two hundred children from the 14 chapels received the sacrament of confirmation. It was the 35th St Martin de Porres day celebration.

Other pictures taken from the ceremony (Photo credits: Odoch and Ojok)

Brothers and Novices of St. Martin de Porres

The Catholic Women Action members

St. Martin de Porres Choir delivering their best

About Martin de Porres

Juan Martin de Porres Velázquez was born in the city of Lima, Viceroyalty, on 11 December 1579. He was the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman, Don Juan de Porres, and Ana Velázquez, a freed slave from African descent. He had a sister named Juana de Porres, born two years later in 1581. After the birth of his sister, the father abandoned the family. Ana Velázquez supported her children by taking in laundry. He grew up in poverty and, when his mother could not support him, Martin was sent to a primary school for two years, and then placed with a barber/surgeon to learn the medical arts. He spent hours of the night in prayer, a practice which increased as he grew older. He was noted for his work on behalf of the poor, establishing an orphanage and a children’s hospital. He maintained an austere lifestyle, which included fasting and abstaining from meat. Among the many miracles attributed to him were those of levitation, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures, and an ability to communicate with animals.

Martin de Porres portrait

Martin was a friend of both St. Juan Macías, a fellow Dominican lay brother, and St. Rose of Lima, a lay Dominican. By the time he died, on 3 November 1639, he had won the affection and respect of many of his fellow Dominicans as well as a host of people outside the priory. Word of his miracles had made him known as a saint throughout the region. As his body was displayed to allow the people of the city to pay their respects, each person snipped a tiny piece of his habit to keep as a relic. It is said that three habits were taken from the body. His body was then interred in the grounds of the monastery.

After De Porres died, the miracles and graces received when he was invoked multiplied in such profusion that his body was exhumed after 25 years and said to be found intact, and exhaling a fine fragrance. Letters to Rome pleaded for his beatification; the decree affirming the heroism of his virtues was issued in 1763 by Pope Clement XIII.

Pope Gregory XVI beatified Martin de Porres on 29 October 1837, and nearly 125 years later, Pope John XXIII canonized him in Rome on May 6, 1962. He is the patron saint of people of mixed race, and of innkeepers, barbers, public health workers and more, with a feast day on November 3. End. (Source: Wikipedia)