by Kristine Stremel
Our Mother of Perpetual Help is being credited with a miraculous healing during the Jubilee Missionary Icon’s recent visit to Seattle. “Our parish was blessed with several gifts on one single day – January 24 – when the icon was present in the church and chapel,” said Fr. Tony Bawyn, pastor of St. Anne Catholic Church. St. Anne’s is only one of the parishes that hosted the icon for a day during its two-week visit to the city as part of a coordinated evangelization effort arranged by Fr. Binh Ta, pastor of Sacred Heart Church and superior of the local community.
Chris, a parishioner of St. Anne’s who was being treated for Stage IV colon cancer and scheduled for surgery the next day, participated in Morning Prayer and a Holy Communion Service in the presence of the icon, as well as the prayer service led by Fr. Binh Ta for St. Anne School students. Chris confided that he was taken by the beauty of the icon, and mentioned that the unusual gold color of Mary’s eyes reminded him of his wife, Regan. After Fr. Binh explained the history and meaning of the icon to the students, Chris asked him for an anointing and he obliged in the presence of the icon.
Since he was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, Chris had endured several chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and a marker had been inserted on the tumor in his colon. When the surgeons were performing surgery the next day, they found that the tumor had completely disappeared; only the marker remained.
According to Chris, the post-operative pathology report declares that he is cancer-free. He and his family, as well as the friends who have supported him since his cancer diagnosis, all believe that he was blessed with a miraculous healing through the intercession of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
“At least one person was praying before the icon whenever someone went into the church, but we will never know how many people paid a visit to venerate the icon and pray for a special intention,” Fr. Tony said. It’s hard to predict the impact that learning about Our Mother of Perpetual Help had on the students, but Kristen Earnst seized the opportunity to incorporate the icon in a new art project she was beginning for her third graders. She took her class back to the church and asked her students to draw the icon as they saw it. The young students obviously captured the meaning of the miraculous image, as their drawings emphasized the angels, or the touching way both of Jesus’ hands cling to Mary’s hand.
Fr. Tony conducted an evening prayer service adapted from well-known traditional devotions, and more people visited the church for private prayer during the final moments of public veneration. Fr. Tony prays that the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help’s visit to his parish community awakens a deeper devotion to our Mother, and a deeper faith in her Son.
Adapted from an article Fr. Tony Bawyn wrote for the St. Anne parish community; submitted by Fr. Binh Ta