Wednesday, August 29, 2012

121. RETRO-SANTO: San Geronimo of Baloc, Nueva Ecija

 SAN GERONIMO (ST. JEROME), patron saint of Baloc, Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija. A donation of Mr. A.A. Nunez and Family.

In a chapel in Baloc, in Brgy. Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija is enshrined a small image of the town patron, San Geronimo, Doctor of the Church (340-420). It was donated by the Nuñez Family in 1961. The carved figure depicts San Geronimo as a cardinal, in a red cardinal hat and cape, based on an erroneous legend from the Medieval age that the saint was a prince of the Church.

His most popular representation depicts him as a hermit in the dessert, where he stayed for four years. The legend then turns to the story of St. Jerome's pulling a thorn from a lion's paw. In gratitude the lion is said to have become a sort of lay brother in Jerome's monastery, doing chores for him.

The Baloc image shows the animal attributed to him by his side. Actually this story was transferred to him from the tradition of St. Gerasimus, but a lion is not an inappropriate symbol for so fearless a champion of the faith.

There is another image of San Geronimo in Sto. Domingo housed in the small chapel of the Iglesia Filipiniana Independiente, visited by both Catholics and IFI devotees during its September 30 feast day. His feast day is marked with lighting of red candles and a procession.

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