By Arlene Edmonds
Special to The CS&T
UPPER GWYNEDD – Terry Hunt believes that she is on a journey to recovery.
After attending a Mass that included the anointing of the sick April 29 at Corpus Christi Church in Upper Gwynedd, her once swollen, immobile fingers are moving and her spirits are lifted. She is pleased that she took the trip from Langhorne and was prayed over by Capuchin Franciscan Father Pio Francesco M. Mandato, according to her sister-in-law, Rosemary Doyle.
Msgr. Thomas P. Flanigan, pastor of Corpus Christi, celebrated the Mass.
Doyle is quick to point out that there are many other stories of those who have seen reversals in serious illnesses after attending her parish’s Wednesday evening healing novenas. But the anointing Mass was special, and Doyle hopes that more people from across the Delaware Valley will hear about it and come to her parish to participate in the weekly healing Mass.
Doyle, along with Barbara Thompson, took over coordinating the Wednesday evening Masses after parishioner Gino DeFederico died last summer. DeFederico, a longtime cancer survivor, began coordinating the event about a decade ago. He attributed his survival to the sacrament of anointing of the sick at Mass, Doyle said.
“You could just feel the presence of the Lord, the Holy Spirit and Gino DeFederico,” said Doyle of the April 29 Mass.
“This is the first year that we have coordinated the novenas and the nine-week novena to St. Peregrine since Gino passed last June. He would call upon us to substitute sometimes if he was not well enough. So I know that he was pleased that the healing Masses are still going on. It was just beautiful,” she said.
The Wednesday evening Mass began with prayers for healing in the church’s chapel at 6:30 p.m. This was followed by veneration of a relic of St. Peregrine, patron saint of persons suffering with cancer or serious illness, during the 7:30 p.m. Mass.
The parish, which has more than 11,000 members, was “moderately filled,” Doyle said. In addition to Father Mandato, there were seven priests, one deacon and the voices of the Corpus Christi Choir.
“So many who had cancer and other sick people were there,” Doyle said. “We always get so many women with breast cancer at our healing Masses. Some others also have specific cancers, but they all leave so hopeful of healing. My sister-in-law feels that she received her healing. She is so hopeful because she has not been on her pain machine since she left the Mass. She felt blessed by Father Mandato.”
A priest of the order of Franciscan Missionary Hermits of St. Joseph, Father Mandato, who assisted Msgr. Flanigan with the sacrament of anointing, has lived in a contemplative community near Scranton for many years and visits parishes around the country for healing Masses and liturgies.
Among those in the front pew were Father Mandato’s parents and relatives; the family is believed to be related to St. Padre Pio.
“We have these Masses every Wednesday,” Doyle said. “On the second and fourth Wednesday, novenas are prayed in honor of the Blessed Mother. On the first and third Wednesday, novenas are said to St. Peregrine. What we just had was the last one in the nine-week novenas to St. Peregrine. We hope many more will come every Wednesday. We hope more will experience healings.”
Arlene Edmonds is a freelance writer and St. Raymond of Penafort parishioner. She may be reached at ArleneEdmonds@aol.com.