Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lorenzo Ruiz, back in 1981...

Pope John Paul II visited the Philippines for his first papal visit from February 17 to 21.  The Holy Father visited several places then around the country, like Manila, Baguio, Cebu, Bacolod, Davao...(I might have missed another one).

But the highlight of this is the beatification of my dear lolo, Lorenzo Ruiz and his companion martyrs in Luneta Park on February 18, 1981!

This statue which still stands on Luneta Park is a gift of the Holy Father to the Filipino people on the occasion of the beatification of Lolo Lorenzo, the first beatification outside the Vatican.

And in case you didn't know, that tree behind the statue is the tree planted by Paul VI when he visited the country.

It has been 33 years since that day!

And according to tradition, Lolo Lorenzo might have been martyred at the age of 37.

The photo above is from this blog, where you can also read about the historic documentation of the martyrdom.

You can also grab a copy of  “Lorenzo de Manila, the Protomartyr of the Philippines and His Companions,” by Fr. Fidel Villaroel, OP, the prolific historian-saint maker, credited for the beatification and canonization of Lorenzo and his 15 companion martyrs.  The book is available via the UST Press.

Below is a photo essay of that historic visit to the country.  I still have vivid memories of that trip.  :)


  1. When Pope Paul VI gets canonized, does that tree count as a relic? Better go to Luneta now and get some leaves from that tree if it is!

  2. Indeed, this 1981 1st Papal Visit of Papa Wojtyla was so memorable because that was the last apostolic he had when he was at the peak of his energy. By May 13 that year, a Turkish assassin commissioned by the communist bloc, shot the Pope in his weekly audience, and he was never the same after that, but nevertheless his pastoral passion never toned down to strengthen is brethren, right after he had recovered.

    Marcos at that time was all to ready to take advantage of the visit as a propaganda for his new society, which at that time, already lost its credibility to a nation whose economy was fast sinking. But JP2 was well aware of this ploy, and he delivered the blow right at his first speech at the Manila International Airport:

    "Vengo a voi nel nome di Gesù Cristo, di cui sono servo. E vengo per una visita religiosa e pastorale, per proclamare il suo Vangelo, per proclamare la salvezza nel suo nome. Come successore dell’Apostolo Pietro, desidero confermare i miei fratelli e le mie sorelle della Chiesa cattolica nella loro fede in Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, nostra giustizia e nostra pace, nostro più grande tesoro e unica sorgente della nostra speranza."

    In English: I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ, WHOM I SERVE. I come FOR A RELIGIOUS AND PASTORAL VISIT, TO PROCLAIM HIS GOSPEL, to proclaim salvation in his name. As the successor of the Apostle Peter, I desire to strengthen my brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church in their Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, OUR JUSTICE AND OUR PEACE, our greatest treasure and only source of our hope.

    // Note well how he emphasized that his was a pastoral visit of a religious nature and NOT POLITICAL, even if Marcos was there at the tarmac to visit the head of the Vatican State.

    More than this, I would like to seriously INVITE EVERYONE to read his speeches that you still can find in the link below. They really contained a lot of wisdom from a Pope who deeply knew what was happening to the Philippines at that time.

    Beati Joanni Pauli II, ora pro nobis!