Catholic Herald staff
More than 100 people attended a Mass for Healing in Honor of St. Peregrine Sept. 16 at St. Joseph Parish, Hayward.
It was the first such Mass to be held in Hayward, according to Mary Ornberg, a parishioner and Secular Servite who began organizing the event in May.
“She put this together, really,” said her husband, Robert Ornberg, who is also a Secular Servite.
Healing Masses are a rarity on this side of the diocese, Mary said. Our Lady of Sorrows, Ladysmith, has held three healing Masses in recent years, which inspired Mary to continue the Mass, and devotion to St. Peregrine, in Hayward.
A Servite priest, St. Peregrine was born in 1260 in Italy. After a rough adolescence, he had a change of heart and joined the Friar Servants of Mary. He was healed of a cancerous leg at the age of 60 and died of a fever in 1345.
Canonized in 1726, St. Peregrine is the patron saint of those who are ill, particularly those with cancer, as well as at-risk youths. He is also an advocate for world peace.
For Mary, the saint’s importance is in the healing of spiritual, emotional and physical ailments.
“There are so many sick people and people who are worried about youth,” she said.
Fr. Phil Juza, pastor of St. Joseph and St. Ann, Cable, celebrated the Mass. During his homily, he invited listeners to close their eyes and picture themselves walking through a crowd to reach Jesus, touching his cloak and hearing, “Your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
“Let the love of Jesus replace all the hurts and wounds and illness,” Fr. Juza urged. “Come to Jesus in faith … He wants you to be well and at peace, to enjoy life.”
After the homily, attendees lined up for an individual anointing with the oil of St. Peregrine, which is a sacramental blessing akin to receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday. Following the Mass, anyone suffering illness was invited to receive the Rite of Blessing with a relic of St. Peregrine. A reception was held afterward.
To raise awareness about healing Masses, the Ornbergs have started a website on St. Peregrine, www.stperegrineupnorth.org. They can be reached at .