We do not know his name. We had not met this young man before, but there he was, sitting in his wheelchair in front of us. We were in the cathedral of Kolomya. Just as at all our Garabandal presentations in Ukraine that May, 2004, so also was this church filled beyond its capacity with faithful pilgrims from near and far. They had come to venerate the medal kissed by Our Lady and, hopefully, obtain a healing. The people arrived many hours ahead of the appointed time. They knew they would be standing, on their feet, for the entire evening. (There were no pews.) That didn't matter. Their faith brought them here. The line-ups to the confessionals grew steadily longer and longer. The people had heard and understood, how truly important it was to approach to kiss the medal with a clean heart and soul. No one was in a rush - they were willing to wait. They knew that Helen and I would not leave until each and every person who wished it, would have the opportunity to venerate Our Lady's kissed medal and be prayed over.
The event began around 4 pm in the afternoon with a Moleben (Devotions) to Our Lady. Following this, Fr. Zenoviy Kasko spoke briefly, introducing us. Then it was our turn. We spoke about the events of Garabandal, Our Lady's messages and then about my healing. We spoke for about one hour. Then there was a general prayer of blessing for all those present, after which people could approach one of us (Father Kasko, Helen or me) individually to personally venerate our medals. They came by the hundreds.
The veneration of the medals continued late into the evening and then, there he was, sitting in his wheelchair in front of us. He was about 24 years old. His parents had brought him. He was paralyzed. His parents told us that, until a few years ago, he was perfectly healthy, normal and strong and had wanted to enter the seminary to study for the priesthood. Then, one evening, he went out with some friends. When he came home that night, he went straight to bed. But the next morning he could no longer move his legs. He has been like that ever since. Not only were his legs paralyzed but he had also lost his sense of balance, so that, even while seated, he could not maintain an upright position and would fall over. He could not even hold up his head. That is how he appeared before us --- sitting in the wheelchair, with three or four straps securing his body and shoulders to the back of the chair and holding him upright.
Our usual routine for the veneration of medals is to have separate line-ups: one for Helen, one for Father Kasko, and one for me. (In the Lviv Eparchy it was Father Teodor Pyliavsky). However, if one of the "prayer team" was faced with someone in special need, he would call upon the other two team members and then we would join forces to pray for that person together. So when this young man's parents wheeled him up to the front, we all came to pray together around him.
As we began to pray, he started to cry. There was such tremendous sadness in his face. I can remember it to this day. Then something unusual happened. One of our prayer team felt the tremendous urge to lift him up out of his wheelchair. We unfastened the three or four straps which held his body upright. He was tremendously heavy and had no strength of his own at all. It truly was "dead weight". But we managed to lift him up as the eyes of hundreds of people watched. They watched as we moved, or rather carried, him slowly into an opening in front of the Tetrapod (the small table at the front of the church). Our friend, Bohdan Shyptur, who was present there, realizing the importance of what was happening, began to lead the congregation in singing the "Jesus Prayer" and reciting the Rosary. Everyone joined in. The sound of their voices raised in song and prayer filled the church as we continued to pray for the young man.
We surrounded him, supporting his weight, and continued praying. It was a struggle to hold him up but we did not give up our prayers. His upper body was falling over but now...we noticed that his legs... seemed to be holding him up a little. The prayers in the church grew louder and more sincere. They were storming Heaven. We kept on praying.
Then an unexpected thing happened. To the surprise of Fr. Kasko and Helen, I told the man that we were going to let him go and that he would stand all by himself. They all looked at me but Fr. Kasko and Helen did not doubt. The young man was terrified but I reassured him that we would not move away from him, only lower our hands. I told him to not be afraid and to trust in the Lord and remember that Mother Mary was with him. Then, in front of all those present in the church, I told Fr. Kasko and Helen to lower their hands and to let the young man stand all by himself. We held our breath. And there he stood, all by himself! At first he was a little shaky and uncertain but he stood all by himself. Then, as the long seconds went by, he gained more and more confidence and began to stand more upright. Occasionally he would reach out to me for support but I would tell him to let go and again he would stand by himself. And this was the person who, moments ago, would flop over and fall if not strapped into his wheelchair! Several long minutes went by, while the prayers in the church changed to prayers of praise and thanksgiving from all those who witnessed this beautiful healing.
After the initial shock of being able to stand by himself, the young man's face was transformed by a beautiful smile --- from ear to ear. The smile was so very beautiful and radiant. This was a miracle! Everyone present saw it.
How beautiful is Our Lord and how merciful to allow all of us to see this healing. Not only was this man's body healed but his soul also. How easily disheartened could many of those present have been, if this man had fallen down. How many would have gone home and lost faith. But God did not allow this to happen. Instead, they saw a young man with so much love and radiance in his face that they all knew .... this was a miracle and they were all witnesses. Such is the power of prayer! I know that it was not only our prayer alone on that occasion which healed this young man but the combined prayers of all those present in the church that day. Pray for one another and see the wonderful blessings that can come to each and every one of us from Our Lord Jesus Christ, through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother Mary.
Dr. Michael Rozeluk
The above healing was witnessed by thousands in the church at the time and also captured on film. We hope and pray that by this time, this young man, is walking on his own, if it is the Lord will. Unfortunately, we do not know his name but perhaps, in time, we will.
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