Diocese promotes 11 young saints for ‘Year of Youth’

Diocese promotes 11 young saints for ‘Year of Youth’

As part of the celebration of the Year of the Youth, the Malolos Diocesan Commission on Liturgy (DCL) has been promoting eleven youth saints as examples of Catholic virtue. DOEL PETER PAUL ALVAREZ

By Sem. Kendrick Ivan B. Panganiban

Jan. 5, 2019

Malolos City, Bulacan

Kicking off during the Simbang Gabi or the traditional novena in preparation for Christmas Day, the Malolos Diocesan Commission on Liturgy (DCL) has been promoting eleven youth saints as examples of Catholic virtue, especially in line with the Church in the Philippines’ celebration of the Year of the Youth.

Young yet holy

DCL Consultant and Northern District Episcopal Vicar Msgr. Andres S. Valera explained that these saints were chosen, “because of the virtues they exemplified as young saints, which we want the youth in our diocese to imbibe.”

According to the St. Augustine parish priest and “Itanong mo kung Bakit?” Video Series host, the commission chose eleven saints to promote starting on Dec. 15, 2018, which has become a usual celebration of Simbang Gabi in some barrio chapels in the parishes. The saints were also specially highlighted during the nine succeeding days from Dec. 16 to 23, and two for both the morning and evening Masses on Dec. 24.

The saints are the following:

  • St. Dominic Savio
  • Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
  • St. Therese of the Child Jesus
  • St. Maria Goretti
  • St. Pedro Calungsod
  • La Niña Maria
  • St. Tarcisius
  • St. Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio
  • St. Aloysius Gonzaga
  • Young St. John the Baptist
  • St. Stanislaus Kostka

Not too young to be holy

This list of saints presents a variety of vocations among young people. St. Dominic Savio is the patron saint of choirboys. Savio was an Italian adolescent student of St. John Bosco. He was studying to be a priest when he fell ill and died at the age of 14.

Bl. Pier Giorgo Frassati, patron saint of youth groups, was an Italian Roman Catholic social activist and a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic who joined several youth groups such as Catholic Social Action and other Catholic charities that helped the poor.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, patron saint of missions, was a French Carmelite nun known as “the Little Flower.” She comes from a family of saints with her mother and father, Louis and Zelie Martin, canonized in 2015. Her sisters Marie, Pauline, Leonie, and Celine were all nuns and are on the path to sainthood as well. She promoted the “little way” or doing small things with great love as a path to holiness.

St. Maria Gorretti, patron saint of teenage girls, was an Italian virgin and martyr who refused to submit to a young man’s sexual advances and who forgave him for killing her.

From catechists to martyrs

St. Pedro Calungsod, the patron saint of Filipino Catholic youth, migrants and catechists, was a Visayan migrant, sacristan, missionary catechist, and aid to Jesuit Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores who was killed in Guam by Chamoros.

La Niña Maria is the young Virgin Mary, under the care of Sts. Anne and Joachim, her parents.

St. Tarcisius, patron saint of altar servers and first communicants, was an early Christian Church martyr, who according to Pope St. Damasus I, was stoned by a crowd while carrying the Blessed Sacrament, and was beaten to death.

St. Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio, patron saint of persecuted Christians, was a young Mexican Cristero who was put to death by government officials because he refused to renounce his faith during a time of anti-Catholic propaganda and violence in a Catholic country.

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, patron saint of the youth and AIDS patients, was an Italian aristocrat who joined the Jesuits, giving up his nobility and inheritance to follow Christ’s path. Despite being sickly, he continued in his vocation to become a priest and helped the poor and the sick.

The young St. John the Baptist is featured in light of his jumping for joy in the womb of his mother Elizabeth during her meeting with the Blessed Virgin who was pregnant with Jesus.

A Filipino tradition

St. Stanislaus Kostka, patron saint of students, was a Polish Jesuit novice who despite the refusal of his brother to enter the congregation, became one of the most renowned pious Jesuit youth who helped the needy during his time.

In St. Ildephonse of Toledo Parish in Guiguinto, Bulacan, they added on Christmas, Dec. 25, 2018, St. Josephine Bakhita, a Canossian nun who fought against racism and slavery in Africa.

The Simbang Gabi tradition has been a practice of the Catholic Church in the Philippines since the Spanish period. Through an indult or special permission from the Holy See, the Gloria could be sung in these novena Masses and the white liturgical color is used over the violet color of Advent.