When the feast of Sta. Rita de Cascia comes every May 22, expect fashion designer Oskar Peralta to be there at San Agustin Church, attending to the carroza of the saint, decorating it with red roses for the procession after the 5:30 p.m. Mass. Oskar has been doing this for the past 40 years, since his client Providad Herrera told him about the devotion to Sta. Rita de Cascia in 1972. Oskar didn’t know the devotion would change his life.
As the years went by, Oskar found himself getting closer to God. He found his rather bohemian life changing, especially when his blood pressure shot up to 170/90 when he turned 50 years old. His friend Eddie Chua drove him to the Makati Medical Center emergency room.
Thankful for his being saved, Oskar found himself going to Mass every day and visiting the Blessed Sacrament. He took on the responsibility of bringing out the “La Pieta” every Good Friday in Lipa.
His best friend Rodante Tolentino, who owned the image, was then working in San Francisco as a stylist. When Rodante passed away in 2005, Oskar continued to go to Lipa to dress up “La Pieta,” prepare the carroza and bring it out for the Good Friday procession.
Altar of repose
Over the past years, Oskar has been doing the “altar of repose,” every Maundy Thursday, of the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Dao Street, Makati, which is near his atelier.
He has also found himself joining Robert Castañeda’s God Loves Catholic Charismatic Community where he found friends who have experienced conversion.
Peralta prays hard that God will release him from attachment to the same sex. He is working very hard at his conversion.
Every Friday, he goes to Quiapo to pay homage to the Black Nazarene.
One of the few fashion designers who continue to maintain a faithful clientele, Oskar Peralta has not stopped working. He doesn’t call it work, but calls it his “passion.” His old clientele still go back to him, such as Ludette Carmona, whose daughter Diane wore a wedding dress designed by Oskar; Cecille Meneses, Haydee Castillo and Baby del Rosario.
Peralta, who will turn 70 this December, said he feels very strong and healthy. When he prays, he doesn’t ask God for anything, but just says, “Thank you, Lord, for blessing my family, for my peace of mind and good health.”
Saint of impossible cases
Rita of Cascia (1381-May 22, 1457) was an Italian Augustinian saint. Born near Spoleto, Italy, she was married at an early age to an abusive husband. This marriage lasted 18 years, during which she was a model wife and mother.
When her husband was killed by his enemies, she sought to dissuade her sons from revenge. She subsequently joined an Augustinian community of nuns. She was known for the apparent efficacy of her prayers and is venerated for the various miracles attributed to her intercession.
The saint’s devotees believe she can help in the solution of impossible cases. San Agustin Church in Intramuros holds a Novena of Masses that ends May 22. Devotees receive roses, a symbol of the saint’s efficacious intercession.
St. Philomena relics
Santuario de Santa Philomena in Most Holy Redeemer Parish, together with Universal Living Rosary Association of St. Philomena, will celebrate the Feast of the Finding of the Holy Relics of St. Philomena May 25. Her relics were discovered in the Catacombs of St. Priscilla in Rome in 1802.
In line with the celebration, the Relics of Arma Christi (Weapons of Christ) will be visiting Santuario on May 25 for the 6 a.m. Mass, celebrated by Fr. Clod V. Bagabaldo, parish priest.
Public veneration of the holy relics is from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Novena to St. Philomena is at 6 p.m, followed by the 6:30 p.m. Mass to be celebrated by Fr. Michell Jojo B. Zerrudo, spiritual director of Living Rosary.
The people of San Miguel, Bulacan, have a very special devotion to Mary, whom they call “the flower of their faith.”
On May 9-31, the Holy Rosary is prayed at 4 p.m. at Parish of St. Michael, followed by the offering of flowers and singing of “Salve Regina.”
Sundayis the feast of Nuestra Señora de las Flores, which will be celebrated by a Pontifical Mass to be officiated by Malolos Bishop José Oliveros at 10 a.m.
Hermanas mayores are Violy Mendoza, Irene Abelardo and Cathy Antonio. Bb. Pilipinas World 2010 Czarina Gatbonton will be Reyna de las Flores during the procession and sagalahan at 6 p.m.
Priests mark milestones
Rev. Fr. Troy de los Santos, OFM-Cap, marked 50 years as a Franciscan Capuchin on May 18 with a Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral in Abu Dhabi, where he is based. A former Provincial Minister of the Philippine Province, Father Troy will celebrate his 43 years as a priest on Aug. 30.
Rev. Fr. Rahnie Aquino will celebrate his 37th year as a priest on May 27 with a Mass at 5 p.m. in Monastery of St. Clare in Iquig, Cagayan Valley. May God bless you both with good health and the strength to serve the Lord all the days of your lives.
Padre Pio’s birth anniversary
Fr. Jojo Gonda, parish priest of Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, will hold the blessing of the new adoration chapel in the shrine at 3 p.m. on May 25, the birth anniversary of the saint. Those who wish to help complete the chapel can text Father Jojo at 0917-5272004.