A Colourful Inauguration of the Jubilee of the Canonization of St Martin de Porres


This week, on the same streets of Lima that had once been the scene of the inexhaustible charity of St. Martin de Porres, great tributes were paid to this humble Dominican friar on the 50th anniversary of his canonization. At his canonization, he was also proclaimed the International Patron of Social Justice and he is fondly called “St Martin of Charity”.

On the 5th of May, at 3pm local time, the beautiful Dominican Convent of the Holy Rosary was home to thousands of people. The Dominican friars of Peru had everything organized to the utmost. The brothers carried the relics of St. Martin de Porres and the image of the saint. The faithful crowded the church and the triumphant bands were also in attendance. It was an atmosphere of excitement filled with the cheers and applause of the faithful.  

Although the distance to the Cathedral is short, the brothers deliberately took it slowly so as to make it an opportunity for an inner pilgrimage for the faithful, filling the entire day with profound charity. It was a time of deep prayer and meditation. People came to the shrine of the relics and begged the friars to touch their pictures and rosaries. Along the way, young brothers from different religious mendicant orders (Mercy, Augustinian, Camillians, Franciscan) took turns to carry on their shoulders, the beautiful and artistic urn containing the relics.

When they arrived at the Cathedral, the brothers began the Solemn Vespers of Easter Sunday V and this was presided over by Bishop William Abanto, Auxiliary Bishop of Lima. After the singing of psalms and reading of the Word of God, Bishop Abanto gave a homily in which he lifted up the Son of Lima as the pride of the entire Peru. He highlighted the ways in which St Martin de Porres showed the holiness of God in everyday life.

The next day, the city of Lima which is surrounded on all sides by its public squares was decorated with multi-coloured carpets. At about 11am, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani began the Mass in the Cathedral. Six bishops and many priests and religious concelebrated at the Mass. There was also massive attendance of school children, civil authorities, the faithful from different parishes, lay movements and fraternities of St Martin de Porres (Martiniana) from all over Peru.

There was a very long queue of the faithful who wanted to touch the relic of St Martin. The cardinal invited all to a deep prayer and contemplation of San Martin de Porres who understood deeply the message of Christ and expressed it in holiness and charity. He urged those present also to express in this time and age this same deep experience of the Gospel. At the beginning and at the end of the celebration, the anthem of St Martin was sung joyfully.

Before the final blessing, Fr. Juan José Salaverry OP, Prior Provincial of the Province of St. John the Baptist, Peru thanked the civil authorities, religious and people of God. He said, St. Martin de Porres is a model and a challenge to the entire Order of Preachers and its new generation.

After the Eucharistic celebration, there was a procession back to the convent with the statue of St. Martin. The brothers shared a fraternal meal in the beautiful cloisters of the convent, close to the same place where St. Martin distributed his daily bread of charity. Truly a thanksgiving to God for this profound experience of faith and ever-present manifestation of God in the humble and simple.

By Bro. Carlos Caceres OP (Province of St. Vincent Ferrer)