Woman believes Calungsod saved life of newborn grandson
TOLEDO CITY, Philippines – Bringing her grandson before an image of Blessed Pedro Calungsod at the parish church in Barangay (village) Cantabaco in this city has been part of the daily routine of Rosita Roma for the past year and a half.
Roma is fulfilling promise to the Visayan martyr who she believed healed her grandson 17 months ago.
Rosita, 54, was in tears when she told Philippine Daily Inquirer how she prayed and went to church daily for two weeks while the newborn Aeron Miguel was at the intensive care unit after being diagnosed with neonatal pneumonia right after his birth.
“I was so afraid that something bad might happen to my grandson. So I went to Mass everyday and prayed before the image of Calungsod and asked him to save Miguel from the illness,” she said in Cebuano.
She believes Blessed Calungsod heard her plea for, after 15 days in the ICU, the baby recovered and was released from the hospital.
Roma’s daughter-in-law Belcee, 34, a teacher at Bunga National High School in Toledo, gave birth to Miguel through caesarian section on May 13, 2011 at the Cebu Maternity Hospital in Cebu City. The physicians noticed that the baby had difficulty breathing.
According to Miguel’s doctor, Dr. James Windford R. Gelaga, a pediatric allergist and immunologist, the infant was diagnosed with neonatal pneumonia, caused by bacteria that infected the newborn.
Two days after he was born, the baby was transferred to the ICU of the Visayas Community Medical Center, also in Cebu City.
“He was kept alive by machines already. A lot of tubes were connected to his body for him to be able to breath,” said Belcee.
Belcee said the doctors didn’t know how Aeron Miguel developed pneumonia –whether he had it when he was still in her womb or right after he was born.
She said she had almost lost hope that her son could be saved. Miguel is third child of Belcee and husband Rolando, 37, a supervisor at a car assembly plant at the Mactan Economic Zone in Lapu-Lapu City. Their two other children are aged 5 and 3.
“I said to God that if Aeron Miguel was really not for us to take care of, I asked him to take care of him. I did not want him to suffer,” said Belcee.
But her mother-in-law Rosita would not give up.
Every day, she would go to the Blessed Pedro Calungsod Parish Church, the first church in Cebu to bear the name of the Visayan martyr, which is just about 40 meters from her house in Cantabaco.
She would attend Mass and pray before the image of Blessed Calungsod to seek his intervention. She then promised that if her grandson lived, she would bring him to church daily.
So she prayed to Blessed Pedro Calungsod for two weeks. Then one morning, the family went to visit Miguel at the ICU and was greeted with a pleasant surprise. The doctors had removed the ventilator from the baby.
“I was shocked. I asked the doctors what happened and they all told me that my son was already doing well,” Belcee said.
She then remembered what the physicians had told her when Miguel was at the ICU: He might stay at the hospital for a month and there was no guarantee that he would live.
“I really believe that it was a miracle. My son’s life is a gift from Calungsod,” said Belcee.
Now, Aeron Miguel a healthy and happy child. And Rosita keeps her promise to Blessed Calungsod.
“Every day, I take Aeron Miguel to Blessed Calungsod. We attend the Mass together. I wipe him with a handkerchief I use to wipe the image of Calungsod. This is our way of saying thank you for saving my grandson,” said Rosita.
Fr. Russell Sungcad, the parish priest, said what happened to Miguel was just one of the prayers answered by Blessed Calungsod.
He said a lot of people would come to the church daily – all with different intentions. They all come back to say that their prayers have been answered, he added.
“There were around 30 nursing students who came back here and told me how all of them passed the board examination. There was also a devotee who came back after she was saved from a dangerous illness. There are really a lot of stories of hope and faith involving the church of Calungsod,” said Sungcad.
Sungcad said most of the prayers to the Visayan martyr are for healing. Because of this, the church will hold a monthly healing Mass, starting this Sunday – the day of Blessed Calungsod’s canonization.
The healing Mass will be held every 21st of the month, said Sungcad.
“It is actually a very good idea because we can further serve the devotees, especially those who need attention and prayers for them to be free from all their health problems,” he added.
Sungcad said the healing Mass was not only to gain good health but also for other special concerns such as personal and financial.
“I can personally listen to that and lift it up to God through the intercession of Saint Calungsod,” said Sungcad.
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