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Bishop Koenig leads St. Martin de Porres Celebration and Mass at St. Helena’s in Wilmington — Photo gallery

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Deacon Sean Sudler, left, Bishop Koenig, and Deacon Robert Cousar pray during the 25th Annual St. Martin de Porres Celebration at St. Helena Church, Sunday, November 7, 2021. Dialog photo/Don Blake

Bishop Koenig was the main celebrant Nov. 7 in the Diocese of Wilmington for the St. Martin de Porres Celebration and Mass.

The Mass was celebrated at St. Helena’s Church, 602 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington.

Music was provided by St. Helenas’s Church Choir and the Wilmington Diocese Gospel Choir.

The Mass was sponsored by the Diocese of Wilmington Ministry of Black Catholics.

Deacon Sean Sudler during the 25th Annual St. Martin de Porres Celebration at St. Helena Church, Sunday, November 7, 2021. Dialog photo/Don Blake

An illegitimate son of a freed Panamanian slave and a Spanish knight, Martin became a hero to the people of Lima, Peru, his birthplace, for his compassionate care of the sick and poor. Apprenticed at age 12 to a barber-surgeon, he also learned herbal medicine from his mother. After working for several years at a Dominican monastery as a Third Order member, he made his profession as a lay brother in 1603.

He founded an orphanage and hospital, ministered to African slaves, practiced great penances, and experienced mystical gifts. Martin was carried to his grave by prelates and noblemen, and all Peruvians acclaimed him their beloved saint. He is the patron of hairdressers and interracial justice.