St. Roch’s Day is observed on August 16 each year. This is the feast of St. Roch, a Frenchman, who is recognized as the patron saint of dogs.
The day is revered throughout Italy. In Realmont, Sicily, the Saint’s poverty is commemorated by a procession of people dressed in rags carrying a shabby image of a saint. In Spain, the San Roque festivals are held annually in August around the province of La Coruna. They feature traditional dances of farmers and sailors and processions in honor of St. Roch.
History of St. Roch’s Day
St. Roch or Rocco is a Catholic saint, a confessor whose death is observed on August 16 and September 9 in Italy. In English, it can also be called the Rock, and it has the Rollox designation in Glasgow, Scotland, which is said to be a distortion of Loch Roch, which once belonged to a small lake near the Roch Chapel in 1506. He is considered the patron saint of dogs, the disabled, unjustly accused people, bachelors, and many other things.
According to the Golden Legend, he was born in Montpellier, “on the border of France,” in the family of the noble governor of this city. Even his birth was considered a miracle because his noble mother was barren until she prayed to the Virgin Mary. Miraculously born with a red cross on his chest, he began to show interest in strict asceticism and great piety at an early age. After the death of his parents in the 12th year of his life, he distributed all his worldly goods to the poor and went as a beggar pilgrim to Rome.
Arriving in Italy during the plague, he took great care of the sick in public hospitals in Aquapendente, Cesena, Novara, and Rome and is said to have performed many miraculous healings through prayers and the signs of the cross, and the touch of his hand. He later contracted the disease himself and went into the woods to die alone. But his faithful dog brought him food every day, and he recovered enough to return to his home in Montpellier. However, he has changed so much that no one has recognized him. He was arrested as a spy and died in prison.
St. Roch’s Day timeline
St. Roch languishes in prison for five years and dies on August 16, without giving his name to avoid world fame.
The Venetian governor of Brescia says that the plague broke out in 1414 after public processions and prayers for Roch’s patronage.
Roch’s body is transported from Voghera, not from Montpellier to Venice.
Pope Paul IV elevates the fraternity of St. Roch to the archdiocese.
St. Roch’s Day FAQs
What is the gift of St. Roch to the world?
People said that Roch miraculously healed many of the bubonic plague victims he cared for when they were sick.
Why did Roch become a saint?
Throughout the history of his life, the Catholic Church has called Roch the patron saint of dogs, plague, and AIDS.
Who is the first saint?
The first saint was Ulrich, Bishop of Augsburg, who died in 973 A.D. and was canonized by Pope John XV at the Lateran Council in 993 A.D.
How to Observe St. Roch’s Day
Spend the day with your dog
Since St. Roch was the patron saint of dogs, the best option to celebrate this day would be to spend time with your pet. If you don’t have a dog, it could be just another animal.
Pray to St. Roch
Besides being the patron saint of dogs, Roch is also the patron saint of the sick and disabled. So, go to church on St. Roch’s Day and pray to him for your health and the health of your family.
Help the needy
St. Roch was well known for donating not only his money but also his time to the plague-stricken peasants. Follow his example and help those who need it.
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Your dog’s sense of smell is about 100,000 times better than yours, so they smell fear.
A dog’s wet nose has a purpose
A wet nose helps absorb odors.
They can be trained to detect cancer
Cancer cells secrete other metabolic products in the human body than healthy cells, and dogs can smell them.
Three dogs survived on the Titanic
These are dogs from first-class cabins — two Pomeranians and one Pekingese.
Why St. Roch’s Day is Important
It has a long history
Saint Roch lived in the 1300s, but people still ask him for help and protection. This day was created to show that even though many centuries have passed, people still remember Roch and pray to him.
It reminds us of our pets
It happens that there is almost no time left for pets because everyone is very busy at work, school, or university. St. Roch’s Day, whose life was saved by the dog, encourages people to dedicate time to their animals.
It’s a day to honor Roch’s life and death
After suffering in prison for several years, St. Roch died on August 16. And during his life, he helped and cured many people. So, let us commemorate his life and death on this day.
St. Roch’s Day dates