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Emma

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Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining a group of friends to meet the famous visionary and mystic Emma de Guzman in an intimate luncheon in a house that doubles as a restaurant in the hills of barangay Busay, Cebu City.

I was able to insert myself in the group composed of four priests and three lay members of the St. Joseph parish church of barangay Mabolo because I happen to know Ms De Guzman’s host—a friend who is a big supporter of religious activities.   She requested that I disseminate the info, which I dutifully did by forwarding her text message to friends in the Catholic renewal movement, mentioning it briefly twice in this corner and posting the info on my FB account at least twice before De Guzman’s arrival.

The visionary was scheduled to attend Mass at the Mabolo parish church and the meeting with the parish priests and the lay group accorded them a closer encounter with Ms De Guzman.      As a journalist, I can’t help but probe the background of extraordinary events and observe them with a critical eye but that day I resolved to try to turn off my journalistic instincts.

When we arrived in the house cum resto, we were introduced to Ms De Guzman.  She looked young for a sixty-ish widow and dressed simply.  She had fine skin and her eyes seemed to smile as she spoke softly in Tagalog, although every now and then she would use a few English lines.

Ms De Guzman, a native of Cabanatuan, was widowed at a young age.  Left with three children to raise and educate, she was forced to work as a domestic helper in Singapore in 1984.  She led a difficult life away from her children but accepted her fate wholeheartedly.

From Singapore, she moved to Canada to work as a live-in nanny in 1986.  Her life in Canada seemed better.  She relocated to the US and it was there that Emma started to receive spiritual and mystical gifts—on Sept. 8, 1991, or 20 years ago today, the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Youngstown, Buffalo, New York, USA.

From then on, Emma saw apparitions of the Mother of God, our Lord Jesus Christ and a number of saints and angels.  She also received messages in different languages, although she only understood English and Tagalog.

This brief background is easily accessible from the website of the La Pieta Prayer Group International, the prayer ministry that Ms De Guzman founded after she experienced the apparitions.  Today, she goes around  the country to spread God’s message of peace, love and joy.

In the Mabolo parish church two weeks ago, she joined hundreds of massgoers in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by Msgr. Jose Dosado and three other members of the clergy.   At about 7 p.m. after the Mass, she addressed the crowd and reminded them of God’s infinite love for His people.

According to Emma, God never abandoned His people, that our country and people are rich because we have the received gift of faith and because of this, Filipinos will become a light to the world.

She exhorted the assembly to reject the RH bill and to look inward as a first step to repentance and reconciliation.  After her short talk, she approached the people one by one, laid hands on them and offered a short prayer.  The healing session started and went on until almost midnight.

On my way out of the church at around 9 p.m., I picked up the documentary  video about Emma, produced by broadcast journalist June Keithley.   I bumped into a number of friends and one told me that seeing Emma carry out her ministry is no mean feat.  If it were just a human endeavor, she would be worn out after two hours given that she’s more than 60 years old, but she looked tireless.

I’m a believer. Emma de Guzman is God’s instrument.

Unknown to many, she comes here often to visit the shrine in Q Park in Compostela town.   Called the Mountain of Salvation, the place is fast becoming a popular pilgrimage site for Marian devotees.  Yesterday, many friends of mine made their way to Q Park to hold a vigil and stay up until the early hours of this day.

What a loving way to greet Our Lady, “Happy Birthday!”

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