Fr. Willie Escalante will celebrate a special commemorative mass Saturday, Jan. 15, at 9:30 a.m. at the St. Arnold Janssen Shrine in Cainta, Rizal in solemn observance of the Feast of Saint Arnold Janssen, the revered founder of the Society of the Divine Word, marking his 113th death anniversary.
The holy mass will be streamed live through the parish Facebook page Novena masses were held from Jan. 6 to 14.
Saint Arnold was the founder of the missionary congregations Society of the Divine Word (1875), the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, also known as the blue sisters because of the color of their habit (1889), and the Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration, also known as the pink sisters (1896).
The well-venerated saint worked for the unity of Christians, developed the apostolate of the press, and pioneered in sending women to foreign missions. A man of prayer, he began his ministry as a teacher and was known as a great devotee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Born in the year 1837 in Goch, Germany, he was ordained priest in 1861. He died in 1909 and was canonized by Saint John Paul II on Oct. 5, 2003. Today, there are more than 6,000 Divine Word missionaries working in at least 63 countries all over the world including the Philippines.