By Christina Hermoso
Feast masses will be celebrated in several Roman Catholic churches and medical facilities in many parts of the country on Friday, March 8, as Roman Catholics mark the Feast of Saint John of God (San Juan de Dios), the revered patron saint of hospitals and of the sick.
The venerated Portuguese friar was the founder of the Order of the Brothers Hospitallers, a religious order whose main apostolate was to care for the sick around the world, particularly the poor and neglected. Granted approval by Pope Pius V, the order has been entrusted with the important task of looking after the Holy Father’s health.
Born in the year 1491 in Portugal, his spiritual mentor was St. John of Avila. He died in 1550 and was canonized by Pope Alexander VIII on Oct. 16, 1690. In 1886, Pope Leo XIII declared St. John as the patron of hospitals and the sick and ordered his name to be included in the Litanies of the Dying. (Christina I. Hermoso)