San Roque's tomb, Venice [Wikipedia]
Today, 16 August, is the feast of San Roque in the Philippines where there is great devotion to him. He was a French layman born around 1348 and who died 16/17 August 1376/79. (Some date his life from c.1295 – 16 August 1327). He is invoked against the plague. He is known in France as St Roch, in Italy as San Rocco and in Spain, Portugal and the Philippines as San Roque. He is no so well known in the English-speaking world and in English is referred to as St Rock.
According to Wikipedia: Ministering at Piacenza he himself finally fell ill. He was expelled from the town; and withdrew into the forest, where he made himself a hut of boughs and leaves, which was miraculously supplied with water by a spring that arose in the place; he would have perished had not a dog belonging to a nobleman named Gothard Palastrelli supplied him with bread and licked his wounds, healing them. Count Gothard, following his hunting dog that carried the bread, discovered Saint Roch and became his acolyte.
Among other things, he is a patron saint of persons falsely accused because when he arrived back in his native Montpellier, France, after a pilgrimage to Rome during which he took care of strangers he met on the way who were suffering from the plague, he was arrested as a spy and put in jail by his uncle who didn’t recognize him. He died in jail after five years and it was only then that the people recognized who he was.
San Roque Cathedral, Caloocan, Philippines [Wikipedia]
As of 15 August, yesterday, the Philippine Daily Inquirer notes in its Kill List that since 30 June, when the current president took his oath of office, 646 have been killed. Since his election on 10 May, 693 deaths have been listed by the Inquirer. Most of these are vigilante murders against ‘suspects’ connected with illegal drugs. Others have been of persons in police custody killed while ‘trying to escape’ and such things. Many are unidentified.
All of these people were poor and not a single one was brought to court. Politicians and other prominent persons who have ‘surrendered’ have been treated with kid gloves, one even staying for a few days at the official residence of the Chief of Police, a crony of the President who served under the latter as Police Chief in Davao City while the current President was Mayor/Dictator there, a city where there are more than 1,400 unsolved murders. This allegedly peaceful city has, according to the Philippine National Police, one of the worst crime records in the country.
But the escalation of killings is not going unnoticed in the Philippines itself nor in the international media, for example, here.
May San Roque, unjustly jailed, and venerated as a healer, intercede for the poor of the Philippines, so many of whom have been brutally murdered, their bodies left in gutters, under the brutal regime now in power.
Statue of San Roque, Prague [Wikipedia]