Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Maltese Miracle: Blessed George Preca's curious road to sainthood

Due to our large contingent of readers from Malta, as well as the many George Preca devotees everywhere, Fighting Irish Thomas has also included today, the date Blessed Preca (pictured below) becomes a saint, a short account of the second and final miracle that led to his canonization.

Back in July of 2001, a Maltese infant was diagnosed with fulminant liver failure. As St. Luke's hospital in Malta was not equipped to tackle such a tragedy, at the birth, the boy was immediately transferred to King's College Hospital in London, which was not only home of the world's largest pediatric liver center, but also staffed by one of the leading experts in the field, Dr. Anil Dhawan.

Upon the arrival, Dr. Dhawan took one look at the kid and knew it was trouble. "This type of liver failure in a baby is devastating," the doctor later commented. "Without a transplant [soon] their was a 90% percent-plus chance the child wouldn't survive." Unfortunately despite the fact Anil worked at the world's foremost hospital for this problem, time ticked away and a compatible donor could not be found. Realizing the hours were growing short, Eric Catania's parents turned to divine intervention. They prayed to their country's patron for a miracle, placed a glove used to exhume Fr. Preca on the child's chest ... and waited.

Eric's condition soon stabilized, and within a week, the faulty liver was healed and functioning completely normally. "Believe me, there is absolutely no scientific explanation for this," Dr. Dhawan said as one of the leading witnesses of the thirty-eight who testified at the Vatican tribunal to explore this miracle, which commenced in 2002 and concluded in 2004. And to top the story off, Dr. Anil, a Hindu, said last month that he would attend Preca's canonization ceremony as well.

"I was an important part of the canonization process, and I decided I should see it through," Dhawan stated, adding that since that time he has become fascinated with the Catholic sainthood procedure, to the point he has also read up on the recent canonization process of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. "You can always learn something from different religions, and for my own curiosity, I thought I should be there to see Preca canonized," Dhawan concluded. So while we know that the faith of the trusting parents saved the baby (and led to Blessed George's canonization) we have yet to learn if the curiosity of the canonization process has converted the Hindu. So stay tuned! My bet is that St. George has a miracle or two yet up his heavenly sleeve, just waiting for us to pray for ...

In a breaking development, Fighting Irish Thomas just learned that young Eric (now 5, pictured) not only accompanied his parents and relatives (as well as over 5,000 other Maltese or one-in-eighty on the island) to the Preca canonization, but also received his First Holy Communion from none other than Pope Benedict XVI at the event. Way to go Eric!

No comments :