Hello everybody! Oh, I don’t even know where to start. On Tuesdays, as you all know, I usually post on the history of the Apparitions and the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. Today, I will be posting on the Shrine, however not in the way I usually do – instead of posting on history from the 1800s, I will be posting on history that was made on this very day!
I had “part nine” of the series all ready started, however early this morning (I was just getting out of bed) when my mom got a call from Mrs. Tipps (she and her husband are the Shrine caretakers). She said that a world-renowned healing priest – Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga – was celebrating the 11:00 A.M. Mass at the Shrine. Mrs. Tipps strongly urged us to make every effort to get to the Shrine for this Mass – and if we got there early enough, I might even get to serve. So we scrambled for the van, piled in and took off in the direction of the Shrine.
On the way, my mom explained to us “what was going on?.” This priest – Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga, who is he and what does he do? Fr. Rugirangoga lives in Rwanda, he is a priest of the Cyanguga Diocese. He fled the 1994 Rwandan Genocide – in which 80 members of his family and 45,000 members of his parish were murdered. Yet, he learned to forgive those who killed his dear ones, and now travels the world spreading Christ’s reconciliation.
Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga has amazing gifts of healing. After he celebrates the Healing Mass, Father prays over the congregation and processes with the Sacred Host in the Monstrance invoking the name of “Jesus.” Then the Lord speaks to Father and tells him who and which conditions have been healed.
Well, here we were on the way to the Shrine. I was thinking to myself, “what am I doing? Sure, I am excited (anxious is perhaps a better word) to meet this world-renowned priest and serve Mass for him, however what do I need to be healed of? I am a pretty healthy young man – with minor seasonal allergies, slight near sightedness, insignificant head and tooth headaches, and a constant klutz – discerning a call to the Priesthood. I’m good, right?” Alas, in the blindness of my human pride, I failed to realize what truly needed healing. Lately, I had been going through a rather dry period in my spiritual life. However, rather than trying to grow deeper in my faith, I was sadly becoming lax. It’s not like I was missing Mass or anything, but I wasn’t trying to grow deeper in my prayer life – and I was falling behind with some of my daily prayers. In addition, some of the members of my family had informed me that I had an unhealthy balance of and sports and spiritual life. As a result of all of this, I was plagued by doubts and inner turmoil.
I arrived at the Shrine and prepared to serve the Mass. My good friend was also serving. As I donned my cassock, I couldn’t help but feel an onrush of excitement (uncertainty, doubt, nervousness, – you get the picture) – after all, though I had never been to one of these Healing Masses, I had heard many wild and completely untrue rumors. Despite these sentiments, I could tell by the look in my companion’s eye, I was not alone.
The Holy Mass was celebrated as “normal” (however, make no mistake, there is nothing “normal” about the Miracle of the Holy Mass) and I was somewhat relieved. Nothing was different, or odd about this Mass – except that Fr. Rugirangoga had a heavy accent and it was sometimes a little difficult to decipher what he was saying. I felt “better,” but I still was in inner turmoil – my doubts still plagued me.
Then came the healing service after the Mass. Before it, began Fr. Rugirangoga made two points clear to everyone: 1. if you wanted healing, stay but if you wanted to go, you were free to do so and as he was not going to force anything upon you, 2. healing was to take place after the Mass – after those of us who could, had received Our Lord in Holy Communion. He started by extending his hands over us and summoning the Holy Spirit prayed: “Come Jesus” and “Go away Satan.”
Fr. Rugirangoga then took the Blessed Sacrament in the Monstrance and starting processing around Chapel praying, the name of “Jesus” to the tune of Amazing Grace. He went pew by pew, blessing the sick – both physical and spiritual – with the Sacred Host. At this point, I was a mix of emotions. On one hand I was being bombarded with the grace that I had pig-headedly resisted for the past few days, yet on the other hand, singing “Jesus” to the tune of Amazing Grace – isn’t that like disrespectful or something? I was felt like I was stuck outside in the cold, peering through a keyhole and scratching my head at the glory and power of God.
After the Procession and Benediction had ended, Fr. Rugirangoga asked us all to sit down. Then the Lord spoke to him, and with the help of a translator, he conveyed to us who and which conditions had been healed. “Someone with Autism has been healed… Jesus has just healed someone with an infection… Jesus has healed someone who has contemplated suicide… Many with cancer have been healed… a family with marital problems has been healed… Jesus has healed someone problems in their nerves… Those who pray for the conversion of their children will be granted this petition… Interior peace will be granted to all” – Father continued to receive these messages from Our Lord and the congregation was in utter suspense, they seemed to all be waiting in hope and prayer for their condition to be called out as healed.
As this continued, I began to realize that I needed healing as well. I began to pray, and immediately began to feel “better.” My doubts were suppressed and my inner peace was restored. It was then that I came to realize that this was not strange or odd, but this was really Jesus Christ, always present in the Blessed Sacrament, healing us His broken children. I then came to understand that I was not better than everyone else and that I needed to humbly approach Our Lord and ask for reconciliation.
After Our Lord had finished speaking to Fr. Rugirangoga, the holy priest asked those who felt that they had been healed to come up and give testimony – to confirm the belief of the faithful and for the skeptics, give no reason for their doubts. After each testimony, Father lead us in a round of applause in gratitude to Jesus in the Monstrance on the Altar.
The testimony which finally broke through my spirit of stone was that of a young woman. She had recently prematurely given birth and the baby was having problems with it’s gag reflex. She, herself had not been able to kneel painlessly since college and in the presence of us all, got down on her knees and back up on her feet without experiencing any pain at all.
That was, as I mentioned before, “it.” My prayer for the past half an hour had changed from “if possible” to “if it be Your Will.” Now it was simply: “Lord, I give myself entirely to You; whatever one of my problems – spiritual or physical – fix it. Whatever You want to do – do it; whatever You want to fix – fix it. Lord, clean me up and help me to love You more and more. Thank you.”
After Our Lord was reposed back in the Tabernacle and Mass concluded, I left with an inner peace which I could have never possibly imagined that I would possess when I walked into Mass. I felt renewed and refreshed. I felt clean. My relationship with my parents and my numerous younger siblings felt much more holy. After the Mass today, we all seemed to just get along better, there were fewer fights (anyone who has seen our family knows that with three boys there is bound to be an argument that breaks out every twenty minutes) and a great peace which enwrapped us. Those who saw the difference in us before and after the Mass, must have thought we went through a miraculous transformation – we did!
My day at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help ended on the front steps of the Chapel. Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga met my family, gave us his blessing, prayed for all of our needs and especially for my vocation.
When I went to bed last night, I could have never imagined that this day would come. Yet, as I go to bed tonight (and hopefully get this posted before midnight) I realize what power the Lord has.
Praise be the Lord – Now and Forever! God Bless You and May the Lord Give You His Peace.