By Ben Cal
The Catholic Church in the Philippines is calling its faithful to join the annual nine-day Novena to Nuestra Señora de la Salud (Our Lady of Health) starting Tuesday to ask the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease.
Rev. Fr. Robin Plata, the coordinator of the event, said that the center of the celebration will be at the shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Salud located at the San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish in Project 6, Quezon City.
Nuestra Señora de la Salud is the other title of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose powerful intercession has healed countless men and women around the world afflicted with various illnesses, including cancer and COVID-19, Fr. Plata said.
Among those who testified they were healed after praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary was noted DZBB radio commentator Rene Sta. Cruz, Greg Montes, a retired bank employee, and Mrs. Fe E. Cal, wife of this writer, to mention a few.
In an interview, Sta/ Cruz said, “I was on the brink of death not once, but twice, but after praying to Mama Mary I was saved!”
“The first time I experienced near death was in 1969. I prayed when suddenly I saw the Blessed Virgin Mary and told me just say ‘Hesus iligtas mo ako!’ (Jesus save me) when I saw my parents crying beside me. I found myself completely healed!” Sta. Cruz said.
“The second time I almost died was last year due to appendicitis. As a devotee to Mama Mary, I again prayed for healing, and the Blessed Virgin Mary heard my prayer with a successful surgery of my doctors,” he added.
Fr. Plata urged the faithful to pray to the Blessed Mother, especially during this pandemic time to stop the spread of COVID-19.