Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Pope Prays for Dying Filipino Leader
MAKATI CITY, Philippines, JULY 23, 2009 - Benedict XVI is assuring former Filipino President Corazon "Cory" Aquino of his prayers as she goes through a critical stage of cancer.
Aquino is currently in a serious condition and is under 24-hour surveillance at the Makati Medical Center, after battling colon cancer since March 2008.
The apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Edward Adams, wrote a letter to Aquino, conveying the Pope's message sent through his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
The Pontiff affirmed that he is "spiritually close" to the former president in her suffering.
The letter continued: "The Holy Father has asked that you be informed that he is remembering you in his prayers.
"At the same time he invoked upon you the blessing of Almighty God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in pledge of healing and comfort."
Archbishop Adams promised the continued prayers of the apostolic nunciature community, affirming that they are saying Masses for her.
The Filipino bishops' conference reported that their chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, Henrietta de Villa, personally delivered the letter to Aquino Wednesday.
De Villa, also the country's former ambassador to the Holy See, noted that the former president was "deeply consoled."
Inside the hospital room, a Mass was held with family members, medical staff and friends. She has also received the anointing of the sick.
De Villa stated: "The Mass is her sustaining comfort now.
"It was such a privilege sharing the Eucharist in her presence. Even in her sick bed looking so incredibly weak, she exuded an aura of a peaceful yet powerful presence -- the presence of the simplicity of absolute goodness."
The ambassador added, "Even now there seems to be no sacrifice that is so great that she has not offered to God for our country, that she continues to offer to God."
On Sunday, Aquino's family announced that her condition had deteriorated, but that she had decided to cease chemotherapy.
Born in 1933, Aquino was the first woman to serve as Filipino President from 1986 to 1992. She is known for and has won numerous awards for her support of religion, peace and democracy.