By Ferdinand Patinio | PNA
MANILA — The Diocese of Cubao has begun the process for the beatification and canonization of a Filipino teenager.
This, after the Vatican, through Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, declared Darwin Ramos as “Servant of God”, the preliminary step for sainthood last March 29.
According to Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, they have started the process at the request of The Friends of Darwin Ramos Association.
“The Vatican has given us the go signal to go deeper in his life, how he lived his faith, and how he gave witness to Jesus to whom he was very close,” Ongtioco said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines news website on Friday.
Ramos spent his early years in the slums of Pasay City. In order to help his family, he became a scavenger, with his younger sister.
Unfortunately, Ramos began to show the initial symptoms of what was later diagnosed as Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The disease progressed until his muscles weakened and he could no longer stand.
In 2006, after getting acquainted with street educators of the Tulay ng Kabataan, Ramos joined one of its centers to help street children.
Discovering the Catholic faith, he received the sacrament of baptism in the same year, and first communion and the sacrament of confirmation in 2007.
The Cubao prelate said Ramos developed a deep personal relationship with Christ, and not a day passed that the boy did not take time out to entrust himself to Jesus.
Ramos died at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City on Sept. 23, 2012 at the age of 17.
“Darwin is an example of holiness. Being a street child, afflicted with myopathy, he is closely united with Christ in his suffering and joy,” Ongtioco said.
He said the Vatican declaration “reminds us that we are invited to give witness to our faith in concrete ways.”
Declaring Ramos a “Servant of God” is the first step towards recognizing him as a saint. The other steps towards sainthood are the declarations of Venerable and Blessed, and canonization.
The Philippines has two saints, Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod.