‘I Received a Miracle,’ Says Mother of Baby Baptized by Pope Francis at Hospital in March
The Holy Father already has a pending appointment with his ‘Peruvian family’ at Casa Santa Marta as soon as possible and when the doctors allow it.
The story of a Peruvian immigrant family in Italy has come to light during the convalescence of Pope Francis at Gemelli Hospital in Rome, where he recovered after abdominal surgery on June 7. The Pope was released from the hospital on June 16.
During his stay, the Pontiff received two large cards from the family of baby Miguel Ángel, whom the Pope baptized in March at the same hospital when he was receiving treatment for a lung infection.
Marcela del Rosario Pariona Bárcena, the baby’s mother, considers the event a “double miracle” since Pope Francis became the “godfather” of her son and contributed to his healing.
According to Pariona, the whole experience is an extraordinary gift from God. On March 30, Miguel Ángel, her infant son, fell out of a baby chair and suffered a blow to the head. When Pariona saw that he was losing consciousness, she sped off in her car to take the boy to Humberto I Hospital and then on to Gemelli Hospital, all with the help of two policewomen.
“My son was admitted due to a head injury, which caused a fracture and small blood clots. For a mother, this was very scary, tremendously painful,” Pariona told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner.
On the same day of the accident, Miguel Ángel underwent a head tomography that revealed “cortical hyperdensities in the left parietal area.” This indicated that there were areas of higher density in the cerebral cortex.
In addition, a “sunken-looking discontinuity of the occipital bone on the left, indicative of fracture,” was noted. Following the findings, the little patient was transferred to the neurosurgery department to receive specialized care in the treatment of injuries in the central nervous system and brain.
At Gemelli Hospital, Pope Francis saw the baby the next day and administered the sacrament of baptism to him, sprinkling holy water while he was in the mobile cradle.
“When they sent us to the neurosurgery area, I heard the nurses say: ‘The Pope is coming to greet us,’” Pariona recounted. “I approached him and said: ‘A sinful daughter approaches you, a woman with many mistakes, a woman who asks you to intercede with God for the life of her son.’ In the images, the Pope is seen caressing his head,” she added.
“During the baptism and while the Pope poured water on the baby, my son began to cry and kick. And the Holy Father said something that at that moment I did not expect: ‘Look how the little devil kicks.’ I thought: ‘My God.’ I couldn’t believe that came from the Pope. And he said, ‘Wipe him off.’ And so I did, I wiped him off and carried him in my arms, and it felt like the whole outlook had changed. I no longer felt the weight on my back, nor the fear that I had.”
For Pariona, what happened is a miracle from God. “I felt freer, because I touched his [the Pope’s] hand and said: ‘Please help me; help me.’ And well, the next day, the doctor comes to do an exam and tells me that my son has no blood clots, that the fracture will close in six to eight weeks.”
“Today I say: ‘Yes, it’s a miracle; it’s a double miracle,’ because Pope Francis is the godfather of my son, he baptized him and helped me heal him. For me, it has been too great a gift from God,” she added.
Two and a half months later, in his room on the 10th floor of Gemelli Hospital, Pope Francis learned that Marcela, the boy’s mother, had gone on June 8 to the hospital hoping to meet him.
The young mother wanted to spend an afternoon together so that the Pope could get to know her family better, since they consider the Pope a part of their lives. That same day, Marcela received a surprise phone call from Pope Francis, who assured her that he would be delighted to see her and spend some time together.
Pariona expressed her gratitude to Francis with two large cards wishing him a quick recovery from his abdominal surgery, on which she included photos of her family with messages in her children’s handwriting and signatures. She went to the hospital several times to send greetings to the pope and even spoke with Dr. Sergio Alfieri, who operated on the pontiff.
The baby’s brothers, José Miguel, 13, and Massimo Antonio, 11, decorated a poster with drawings of hearts and photographs of their family and one of Pope Francis blessing their baby brother. On June 11, Pariona was also accompanied by the older sons’ stepfather, Edwin Alberto Bedriñana Zegarra, 32, who is Miguel Ángel’s father and works in Bologna.
Pariona describes her family as “five hearts and one beat.” Despite the trials and crises they have faced, she is grateful to have her three children and her husband.
Before giving birth to Miguel Ángel, she had three miscarriages and at one point lost her faith. However, she found comfort in her spouse. During her pregnancy, Pariona expressed her gratitude to heaven for the blessing of being a mother. She said she is grateful to feel her son’s heartbeat and all the emotions that come with it.
When she became pregnant, she recalled: “I looked up to heaven and said: ‘Thank you; I owe you one.’ That’s all I said. ‘Thank you; thank you for giving me this blessing. Thank you for feeling again these little kicks, this heart that we have within, these emotions.’”
Pariona and her family will celebrate the baptism of her other two children on June 18. In addition, she sent a message of hope: “God,” she added, “does not abandon his children and gives the most difficult trials to his strongest warriors. I bowed before God at a time when my son was with the needles [in the arm], recovering. I asked him for the life of my son, that he be well. And so, little by little, I am giving my life back to God.”
The Holy Father already has a pending appointment with his “Peruvian family” at Casa Santa Marta as soon as possible and when the doctors allow it.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.