The first time that I heard about strange religious images on rose petals is that of the Miracle of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Graces in the City of Lipa, Batangas. Rose petals were showered from the skies, thought to came from the Virgin Mary herself. Within the rose petals are the manifestations of religious images and likeness of Mary, Jesus and from the other saints. The Virgin appeared to S. Teresita Castillo in 1948.
I was hoping that someday, I would like to have my own petal someday from Lipa. But Lipa was too far from my hometown in Meycauayan, Bulacan. How can i obtain one?
Miracle was just around the corner.
I got my answer through my friend, Marvin Dalag. I have this bunch of friends who are very inclined with santo things (religious stuff to be more precise). We were invited by Paul from Guiguinto that there will be a healing mass, an activity prepared for their upcoming fiesta in 2008. Marvin told us that it was a special healing mass because rose petals will be distributed by Carmelo Cortez and it would depend on whose petal that religious images will appear. I said to my self, "whoah, I don't have to go to Lipa just to have those rose petals". But who was Carmelo, by the way? How did images appeared on rose petals? I have too many questions in my mind. Marvin, again, provided the answers.
Mary and the Roses
It was in June 12, 1991 that a young lady dressed in white appeared to Bro. Carmelo. first witnessed manifestations of rose petals with religious images, and healing. Her heart was visible, just like the image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but this time with the Holy Eucharist at the center encircled by stars. She had a rosary and a Mt. Carmel Scapular on each of her hand. It was the beginning of his mission.
The Lady told Bro. Carmelo her wishes. First, that people should go back to the Catholic Church. Second, that people should receive the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist. And third, that believers should pray for the priests. The Lady who appeared to Bro. Carmelo was later known to be the Mother of Eucharist and Grace. He was also given the gift of healing through the rose petals. At first, many raised their eyebrows, but as time flies, many were convinced and believed.
Bro. Carmelo built a humble shrine in Barrio San Vicente in the town of Sta. Maria in Bulacan with the permission of the then Bishop of Malolos, Most Rev. Cirilo Almario, D.D. Through God's intercession, the shrine became bigger and bigger as help from devotees came for the construction of a better shrine for Mary. It was here, hundreds of pilgrims gather every first Saturday of the month to witness healing and miracle. The shrine was declared as the Diocesan Shrine of Mother of the Eucharist and Grace of the Diocese of Malolos. It also has a replica of the Special Places in the Holy Land; the Annunciation Cave, the Nativity Cave, The Holy Sepulcher to name a few. It is the first and the only Holy Land replica in Asia.
First Encounters with 'Melo
It was in Guiguinto that I first saw Carmelo Cortez. An ordinary man with an extraordinary mission. After the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed. I didn't know that it was the signal for the start of the healing. People started to sit on pews. Those who are sick, on wheel chair and old are the priorities. Carmelo went on to them, applied some rose-scented oil on their palms and placed a single rose petal on their chests. After these, he placed his hands on their head, a sign that Carmelo is praying for that person. He did these to all people gathered inside the church. I was seated a the back so I have longer time to wait for my turn. I was nervous when i saw Melo was approaching me. I was not sick that time. I was just praying that all in our family will be well, specially my Nanay. I also wanted to have my rose petal with images on it. "What if there will be no images?" I asked myself. Then I thought of those people who curiously looking at their petals, gazing marvelously on the images imprinted miraculously on them. Then I thought, maybe if I would just believe, miracles will happen.
As Carmelo placed a rose petal on my chest, I closed my eyes. I placed my hands over my chest, praying. Melo laid his hands on my head. And then, he left for the person next to me. I opened my eyes to see whats on the petal. I raised the petal to the light and there, I saw and image of the Child Jesus, His arms spread, as if welcoming someone to be embraced. He wants to embrace me.
From then on, at least once every year, I am able to witness the miracle on Rose Petals. It was a very enlightening moment that at this age, miracles like this still happen. Maybe its one way of God's reminder that He is still with us. All we have to do is to believe. :-)