WILMINGTON — Bishop Malooly celebrated the annual Mass in honor of St. Martin de Porres at St. Joseph’s Church on French Street in Wilmington on Nov. 15, encouraging those in attendance and those watching at home to use their gifts the way the saint did to help his community.
St. Martin de Porres was a Dominican lay brother who lived in the 16th and 17th centuries. Born in Peru to a Spanish father and a Panamanian mother of African or possibly Native American descent, Martin grew up in poverty after his father deserted his family.
The bishop said St. Martin teaches us to live a life in service to others. St. Pope John XXIII canonized St. Martin in 1962, calling him “Martin the Charitable,” Bishop Malooly said. He compared the current administrator of St. Joseph’s, Father John McVoy, to St. Martin, particularly in his role as a hospital chaplain.
“They reach people where they are and when they’re needed, and I’m just delighted that you’ve continued that,” the bishop said.
Bishop Malooly said he was worried when he asked Father McVoy to become the administrator that he may have to leave his chaplaincies, but the priest has taken on both roles. The bishop assured parishioners that “Father Mac” will be their pastor once his term as administrator expires.
“I might have a chance still to name you pastor. It depends on what the Vatican does. But it will get done one way or another,” he said.
St. Martin de Porres had two constants in his life, according to the bishop: the poor and the Eucharist. “He spent time before the Eucharist in order to strengthen his outreach to the poor so he could see Jesus in them.”
St. Martin de Porres set an example that anyone can follow to be saintly toward others, the bishop said. When he worked at the Archdiocese of Baltimore chancery, Bishop Malooly could look out his seventh-floor window and see examples of saintly work everywhere around him. One example, just blocks from the chancery, is the seminary run by Sulpician priests to train future clerics, including those for the Diocese of Wilmington.
“It was interesting to see how God provided. That’s what we see with Martin de Porres. He took a man who could provide so much. He took all of his skills and abilities and provided so much,” Bishop Malooly said.
All photos by Don Blake.