Some 300 people attended the celebration of the feast day of San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila on Sept. 25, 2015 at the St. Thomas a’Becket church in Canton.
The fiesta goers, mostly Filipino Americans, came from various parishes in Michigan, including those in Wayne, Ann Arbor and Belleville. They responded favorably to the invitation extended by the Filipino San Lorenzo Ruiz group headed by Lee Vargas.
The celebration, the first in Southeast Michigan, was highlighted by a mass said by Fr. Chris Maus. In his homily, Father Maus extolled the strong faith in God of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint. He also recalled the terrible torture San Lorenzo Ruiz was subjected to in Japan when he was asked to renounce his faith in Christ.
The San Rafael-Isang Binhi choir sang the hymns and psalms in Filipino. The choir was praised by Father Maus for their excellent singing.
In a message published in the souvenir program for the event, Father Maus commended “the volunteers from other parishes in joining hands with Filipinos of this parish to make this event a success.” He also said, “As your pastor, it is an honor and privilege to have worked with you through such meaningful and concerted efforts.”
Also in attendance at the celebration were Filipino-American priest Msgr. John Vargas and another Filipino priest.
The mass was followed by a dinner of favorite Filipino dishes, including (of course) lechon.
The celebration was capped by a cultural show presented by the Philippine Arts and Culture Ensemble of Michigan (PACE-MI) headed by Benita Murriel, president. It featured rondalla music, singing of Tagalog songs, and cultural dances such as the “tinikling,” “Carinosa” and “bangko.”
Every number in the cultural show drew loud applause from the appreciative audience.
Addressing the audience shortly before the cultural presentation began, Vargas said “this is just the first San Lorenzo de Manila fiesta” and henceforth it will be celebrated every year.