On a very rare occasion, the miracle child who was cured through the intercession of San Lorenzo Ruiz had attended the Feast Day Eucharistic celebration in honor of the first Filipino saint and his 15 companion martyrs at the historic Binondo Church on September 28.
Along with her mother Lourdes Ravena, Cecilia Alegria Policarpio or “Ria” participated in the Fiesta Mass which was attended by a limited number of people inside the church and seen live online through different social media channels.
In his homily, Rev. Fr. Andy Ortega Lim, rector and parish priest of the Minor Basilica and National Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz, enthusiastically shared and reflected on Ria’s unexpected visit this year despite quarantine restrictions due to coronavirus pandemic.
“Parang bumulong lang sa akin si San Roque: “Fr. Andy, kumustahin mo at batiin mo yung miracle child ni San Lorenzo Ruiz”. [N]akausap ko si Lulu. Sabi ko, happy fiesta sa inyo. [Sabi niya] Father, hindi ako makakapunta. Sabi ko, ‘di bale po kasi pandemya naman. At least, nasa mabuti kayong kalagayan. At ngayon ay kasama natin sila sa Misa – si Lulu at ang batang pinagaling ni San Lorenzo Ruiz, si Ria Policarpio. And this celebration is very special because the miracle child is with us. This simple celebration becomes so meaningful because we have with us the miracle child of San Lorenzo Ruiz in the name of Ria Policarpio,” Fr. Lim said.
He thanked Ria and her mother for attending the Holy Mass, and also expressed the faithful’s condolences to the family as Ria’s father, Florentino, passed away last year.
This was the second time that Ria attended the feast day Holy Mass at Binondo Church, the first was during the 31st year of Lorenzo Ruiz’s sainthood in 2018.
Born on March 4, 1981, or a few weeks after Lorenzo Ruiz’s historic beatification, Ria was diagnosed with atrophy which almost caused her death due to internal bleedings, spasms and seizures.
According to the late historian Fr. Fidel Villaroel in his book on San Lorenzo Ruiz, he said that Ria first heard of the then first beatified Filipino at a Mass in their subdivision in Parañaque and during the Holy Mass by the Apostolic Nuncio in Binondo Church to commemorate the second beatification anniversary in 1983.
Her mother Lourdes appealed for prayers to the devotees of then Blessed Lorenzo which stirred widespread campaign prayers nationwide and resulted in Ria’s gradual improvement until April 25, 1985, when she finally “walked alone”.
The miracle story of Ria was the basis of the Philippine church’s further efforts to elevate the country’s first beato to sainthood by the end-1985 until June 22, 1987, when the Consistory finally approved the cause for his canonization.
San Lorenzo Ruiz and 15 Companion Martyrs were canonized by Saint Pope John Paul II four months later on October 18, 1987. (Lem Leal Santiago/SOCOM-Binondo Church)
PHOTO: Cecilia Alegria Policarpio or “Ria”, the miracle child whose cure caused San Lorenzo Ruiz’s canonization quietly stares at people during the offertory for the Holy Mass in honor of the first Filipino saint at the Minor Basilica and National Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz on September 28, 2021. | Photo by Mark Anthony Reyes, Binondo Church