A grace-filled healing morning!-A A +A
By Luci Lizares
Thursday, August 22, 2013
THE date was August 19. I couldn’t wake up for my usual 6 a.m. mass, so which was it? Was it going to be San Antonio de Abad Church or the Cathedral of San Sebastian? Just as I was propping myself up in the driver’s seat, my son comes out and says “You have to gas up, Mom!” Lazy to do that, I decided to walk to University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R), where there is a 7 a.m. mass for students on weekdays.
The chapel lights were all lit but there seemed to be no one. The guard tells me the Mass is in the quadrangle so dutifully I walk in that direction.
The UNO-R amphitheatre was full of students, teachers and guests. What was the occasion?
The Order of Augustinian Recollect (OAR) Communities was celebrating the Solemnity of St. Ezekiel Moreno, the Patron Saint of the Order of the Agustinian Recolletos in the Philippine Province.
St Ezekiel is the Patron Saint of Cancer Patients. Many do not know that for a time, part of his life was spent in the Convent of the Recollects in the then municipality of Talisay. Yes, our very own Talisay in Negros Occidental.
St. Ezekiel set foot on Philippine shores on February 10, 1870. He received his sacerdotal orders in Manila a year later. After his ordination, he was immediately sent to his first mission in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, Mindoro. Then, he had the arduous task of being the Military Chaplain of a penal colony in Puerto Princesa City where he was struck by malaria which forced him to leave the islands. This illness brought him to Talisay by invitation of Fray Fernando Cuenca.
So prior to Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod, we had a canonized saint who walked on our grounds here in Negros.
It was a concelebrated mass and the main celebrant of the Mass was Rev. Fr. Ferdinand T. Hernando. Fr. Soy, as he is called, has a special concern for the poor and the sick. Aside from being the founder-steward of the Missionaries of the Beatitudes, he has been actively promoting the devotion to St Ezekiel. He says that the faithful should emulate St. Ezekiel Moreno, patron of cancer patients, who selflessly dedicated himself to them by giving them all his time as he did in all his missions here in the Philippines.
During his homily, he said that we shouldn’t only be shepherds of the flock but be prophets as well. St Ezekiel was a good shepherd. When he was assigned to take charge of the Recollect Hacienda in the towns of Imus and Bacoor in Cavite, the towns were struck by cholera and he worked hard to make the last rites available to his faithful. Of the 3,200 who perished in the tragedy, only 3 died without the blessings of the priest.
During his mission in Las Piñas, he worked zealously for the development of the lives of the people in the area. The city suffered many major calamities during his pastorship, yet the people did not lose hope because of his example.
St Ezekiel was called to Manila by the order but the people of Santo Tomas, Batangas where he was assigned made an appeal to suspend the order just like what happened in Las Piñas.
He was a prophet because he spoke only upon the inspiration of the word of God and the OAR made him Preacher General and he assumed his post on February 1881 in Sta Cruz, Manila.
Fr. Ferdinand said that we should all be St. Ezekiel. We must listen to the dictates of the Church. We must all practice and preach what our Church says. Indeed with all that is happening in our country, it is not Malacañang or the Capitol or the City Hall that is not always right. But the Church being one, true, holy and apostolic is always right.
I did not realize that Fr. Ferdinand is well known as a healing priest. After the Mass, those who wanted to be healed were asked to form a vertical line. The catchers were positioned at the back of everyone. I had no plans of joining that line however, there was a lady who was waving at me to come down and join. Robotic, I did so.
Father told us to put our hands on our hearts as he prayed for healing for all with physical ailments and those suffering from intense pain. We prayed for all with deep rooted issues harboring hatred and anger. We prayed for estranged relationships and abuses suffered in the home and in the streets. We prayed for families and communities and most importantly for our country. We prayed for fathers and mothers, children, leaders and politicians.
Indeed there was much to pray for. As I received the special healing blessing, I had in my heart and my mind, friends and relatives who are in much suffering from cancer, heart problems, and all other major and minor ailments and also for those whose lives have been sheer torture because of that deadly sin pride and fatal anger.
I never would have realized that my morning would be such a blessing. Sometimes, when we just follow God’s lead, an ordinary morning can be so grace filled.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 22, 2013.