by Margaret de la Cruz
“The Heavens are not pure in the sight of Him Whom I serve; how then shall I, a sinful man, stand before Him?” -St. Nicholas of Tolentine
Saipan, CNMI–For most of us here in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, St. Nicholas of Tolentine is probably an unfamiliar saint to us. So, who is this St. Nicholas of Tolentine and why is he important to know?
St. Nicholas of Tolentine is a simple priest and Augustinian friar who touched the lives of many people. He is a man with great compassion and charity towards his Augustinian brothers as well as towards the people that he came in contact with. He is also known for his great hospitality to visitors and especially generous to all in need.
He is said to have cured the sick with bread over which he had prayed to Mary, the Mother of God. He used this bread to feed the sick and cure them.
In preparation for the feast day of St. Nicholas of Tolentine, the Northern Cluster parishes prayed the Septinarium of St. Nicholas of Tolentine – a seven-day prayer in his honor.
On Thursday, September 10th, the Feast of St. Nicholas of Tolentine, the Northern Cluster parishes of San Roque, Santa Remedios and Kristo Rai gathered as one community to celebrate the feast day in his honor with Concelebrated mass by the our priests from the Order of Augustinian Recollects de Saipan (OAR) and assisted by our two assigned Deacons for the Northern Cluster. Fr. Albert A. Pellazar, OAR, the local Prior presided at the Eucharistic Celebration and concelebrated by Fr. Leo Neil Bullos, OAR from San Roque and Fr. Jayferson Baldelovar, OAR from Santa Remedios.
Part of the celebration was the actual blessing of the “Healing Bread” and later distributed at the end of Mass to all the faithful in attendance. Together with the healing bread was also the Intercessory Prayer to St Nicholas of Tolentino.
It is said that in life, there is always a first for everything. And yes, indeed, Kristo Rai Parish had the great opportunity to experience for the first time the propagation of the devotion in honor of St. Nicholas of Tolentine.
May we all continue to pray to Nicholas of Tolentine for our poor souls in Purgatory. St. Nicholas, pray for us.