By Roy Lagarde
May 31, 2019
A Philippine diocese has received the green light to initiate the process for beatification and canonization of a teenage boy.
This after the Vatican declared Darwin Ramos as “Servant of God,” the preliminary process for sainthood.
The declaration was made on March 29 by Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in Rome.
Following the order, the work of the Cubao Diocesan Tribunal for the canonization of Ramos would be initiated by the postulator, French Dominican Fr. Thomas de Gabory.
Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao 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.
Born in 1994, Ramos spent his early years in the slums of Pasay City. In order to help his family, he became a scavenger in the streets, with his younger sister.
Unfortunately, the initial symptoms of what later was diagnosed as Duchenne muscular dystrophy appeared. Progressively, he could no longer stand and his muscles weakened.
In 2006, after getting acquainted with a group of street educators from Tulay ng Kabataan (TnK), Ramos entered into one of its centers helping 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.
Along the years, Ramos’ physical condition deteriorated. But despite of it, he uplifted the staff and other children at the center by the way he lived with his illness.
The bishop said that 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.
In 2012, Ramos’ condition worsened suddenly: he felt pain while breathing and was then brought to a hospital.
Even in these moments of suffering, he continued to maintain a friendly attitude, thanking everyone for helping him.
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.
The prelate also said that the Vatican declaration “reminds us that we are invited to give witness to our faith in concrete ways”.
Declaring Ramos Servant of God is the first step towards recognizing him as a saint.
Other steps towards sainthood, are declarations of Venerable, Blessed and Canonization.