November is Black Catholic History Month
I have had many people throughout the years ask me why I wear something over my alb when I serve at Mass as an acolyte. It is called a Scapular. Not the brown, green or red scapular that is wool and worn under clothing, but the cloth garment scapular that was worn by men in the early church who were lay persons. This is my way of celebrating and honoring not only our Catholic heritage but our African Ancestral Catholic heritage.
St. Martin de Porres was a Lay Brother who wanted to become a religious, but due to his mixed racial ethnicity he was not allowed to do so. He was ridiculed by many, both religious and not, merely for his mixed racial make up and the fact that he was descendant of slaves.
At an early age, Martin had the desire to serve others and serve his Church, of which he did by working in the kitchen and feeding the poor who came to him by way of the alley. Martin grew up in deep poverty, but was placed with someone of whom he learned the trade of Barbering and medicine. He would cut hair and provide much needed medical attention to those who would not normally be able to receive it.
Martin continued to provide unconditional care for all people, regardless of their economic situation or racial make up. He helped the rich and poor, and would often times give of his own bed to those who were diseased and infected.
The story of this great Saint, who is the first an only Saint of African Decent from North America (he hailed from Lima, Peru), and is the patron of Mixed Race people, Barbers, Public Health Workers and Inn Keepers. So next time you stay in a hotel, tell the person who cleans your room, their patron Saint is Martin de Porres!
St Martin, pray for us, that the Holy Spirit would give us the same spirit of unconditional love and service our Lord granted you. Father we thank you for the great witness and work of Your Servant Martin de Porres, that we as Laity might continue to emulate his example of service to all people regardless of their economic, racial, sexual orientation, or religious make up and affiliation. Let us all see and encounter Your Face, Lord, in those whom we serve daily. In the MIGHTY Name of Jesus we pray… amen, Amen and AMEN!!!
Amen and ASHAY!!!
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