An unrecorded miracle

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By Luci Lizares

Saturday, April 26, 2014

WHEN Pope John Paul II came to Bacolod in 1981, everyone one, especially Catholics and Christians who believed in the Papacy, had their roles to play.

Whether you were involved as part of the organizing team, from welcome to closing, or members of the security or as frontline escorts in the motorcade or a mere eager composite of the audience, there was much joyful preparation and excitement energizing Negros.

On the appointed day, February 20, 1981, I remember vividly that with my two elder sons, Spitzie and Luigi, in tow (Andre was not born yet), together with my friend, Bebsie Montelibano and her children likewise, we perched ourselves in the second floor balcony of their building fronting Araneta Street.


We were sure to have a glimpse of him as this was the assigned Papal route from the old airport then. We had flaglets ready to be waved.

My husband, Toots, with his REACT group, was involved with the security and they had been processed and programmed to detect any suspecting movements.

(I learned from him that when guarding important personages, the secret service never looks at the person being secured unless that is your post. Instead, your gaze is fixed on the crowd analyzing each action and reaction as well as facial articulations.)

Last Easter Sunday, in a small gathering of family and friends celebrating the Lord’s Resurrection with a simple agape, the conversation in the table covered on all and sundry.

Then we touched on the coming canonization of the two popes— Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. By God’s divine coincidence, this story surfaced, so apt and timely, with the coming celebration tomorrow.

Raymond Estela was telling us that he and his wife Diana had been praying for a third child. It has been 10 years since the birth of their second child Pauline, after Mia their firstborn.

For his part, as member of the Thunderbugs, the motorcycle group, they were tasked to lead the motorcade of Pope John Paul II. I remember seeing them guide the entourage with their big bikes. It was quite an honor to be part of that team.

I believe that we all had our share of blessings just seeing the Pope pass by. It is still very clear in my mind when my son Luigi’s yaya, Elma, who is a Protestant, shed tears of joy with the holy presence of Pope John Paul II.

Raymond continues his story that when preparations were readied for the Pope’s departure, some of them were singled out, about 6-7 of them to lead the motorcade for Imelda Marcos’ advanced exit.

They did so dutifully and returned as fast as they could to still be part of the farewell entourage of the Pope and by God’s grace, they made it in time to bid him farewell.

When Pope John Paul II made his final waves of good-bye and was about to board the plane, he turned around, went to the direction of Raymond, held out his hand to thank him. Raymond kissed his ring and whispered his prayer for a third child and the Pope John Paul II blessed him. After that, Pope John Paul II went to the rest of the Thunderbugs to express his gratitude as well.

That was on February 20, 1981. On March 18, 1982 a baby girl was born to Raymond and Diana Estela and they baptized her Katrina Marie.

Divine Providence? An undocumented miracle?

Viva, Santo Papa Juan Paulo II!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 26, 2014.


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