Fernando Sanchez Campos, Costa Rica's ambassador to the Holy See, released in Manila last month the English translation of his book on Padre Pio's intercessory role in his family's life.
“We are here to speak about God’s love, and this is for three reasons: to help reinforce our faith, to share God’s graces knowing that Jesus is the best gift we can receive, and to know that the Lord is very persistent,” Sanchez said March 24 at the book launch.
The book, “A Spiritual Son Is Born: Our Story with Padre Pio of Pietrelcina,” is Sanchez' witness to grace and what he regards as the miraculous healing of his son and his wife through the intercession of Padre Pio, which he said “brought me near to God.”
The book launch was attended by more than 400 guests at the Wack-Wack Golf & Country Club in Manila, in collaboration with the Filipino embassy to the Holy See.
Mercedes Tuason, Filipino ambassador to the Holy See, is a patron of the translation and said, “it would be an enormous spiritual treasure.”
Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila said at the event: “Thank you for the gift of Padre Pio … if we belong to God, we are holy, we are saints. Let us all be a 'virus' of holiness.”
He said to Sanchez, “may your book influence others.”
The cardinal reminded the faithful present that when a believer decides to ask for a saint’s intercession, “it was actually the saint who chose (to help) us, to bring us closer to God.”
Cardinal Tagle added that any reader who has been through intense physical, emotional, or psychological pain would recognize the reassuring voice of God speaking through Sanchez’ book.
The English edition of the work was translated by Lourdes Mendonza, and features a foreword by Cardinal Tagle.
It was first published in Spanish in 2010, and has also been translated into Italian.
“Testimonies of faith ignite others' faith, and this book will serve in understanding the mystery of God, miracles, and in contributing to the new evangelization,” Josephine Bantug, book project coordinator, told CNA.
Sanchez' book documents how Sanchez' firstborn child, within hours of his birth in 2007, was diagnosed with an atrial flutter and tachycardia. He was taken to neonatal intensive care, but no treatments would regularize his heartbeat.
Sanchez' wife also developed health problems, four days later having renal haemorrhage and respiratory problems, losing 70 percent of her renal function.
“Sustained only by the power of my faith, I gave everything up to God,” Sanchez wrote.
Seven days after his son's birth, a priest carrying a relic of Padre Pio visited the neonatal intensive care unit to pray for the cure of the child through the intercession of the saint; the relic was also brought to the bedside of his wife.
The following day, to the surprise of the medical staff, the child's heartbeat began to normalize, and his mother was healed.
Sanchez attributes both their healing to grace and to the intercession of Padre Pio.
The book narrates the family's experiences, and their encounters with Benedict XVI and with Pope Francis since the healings.
The book also contains a collection of prayers, novenas, and meditations of Padre Pio, which are “included with the hope of enriching the spiritual contribution and opportunities for meditation that the book may offer to the reader,” Sanchez said.
The book is produced by St. Paul's Publishing of the Philippines, and is available for 350 Philippine pesos, or $7.90.