December 22, 2008
Dear blessed Fr. Roca,
I was most pleased to see an article in the New York Times about you and your work at the Santuario de Chimayo, where so many have received relief from their pain and been healed. My son and I visited your church and grounds in 2000, and I had been there the year before with a group of women studying at the College of Santa Fe under the auspices of Elderhostel.
The first time I came to Chimayo, I was so pre-occupied with an upcoming hip operation and you were kind enough to offer me encouragement, your blessing over my head with your healing hands and a sample of the red earth that I warmed the spot of the operation for speedy healing. I was able to also parcel out some of this holy red earth to others who were suffering or facing their last journey. My operation was a terrific success, alleviating all pain and restoring previous range of motion.
When my son and I pilgrimaged back to your holy place, we arrived on a cloudy day. As we got out of our SUV, we were welcomed with the sound of a choir of angels (nearby nuns or choir of the church?) that hypnotized us and set the sacred tone of our mission.
We toured the church together and marveled at how it seemed to be preserved in its antiquity and simplicity. But we were not aware of others in the vicinity nor any visible group of singers. When we sought out the back room where the hole dominated the center of the space, we felt a sense of awe—the same feeling I had on my first visit.
My son pointed out the surrounding crutches lining the wall which, I must say, had escaped me the first time around. I gathered more red earth in the little plastic bag that I had. The dirt that I had from the first visit was depleted as I had parceled it out to others. I was on a mission to obtain more, as I faced the other hip being replaced.
After obtaining what I needed, I set out to come in contact with you once again for another blessing. We looked about and searched the grounds but did not see you. I feared that you were no longer among us. As we were about to give up, as my son had driven more than 500 miles that day and wanted to rest and refuel, we saw you enter the church and kneel in one of the pews to pray.
As I made the move to see you, to talk to you and to once again ask for your blessing before my second travail, my son held me back. He said, "Fr. Roca senses you are here. Can’t you receive his holy aura and blessing on faith and respect his space and need to feel the Lord’s restorative spirit to help him with his hard work? If you truly believe in his holiness and have the faith you should, you don’t need to interject your presence into his solitude." He was right.
I went away peaceful and with the needed strength to face another successful procedure—that was a success, thanks to you, St. Anthony and the intercession of the Holy Triumvirate in my corner.
As the New Year arrives, I wish you good health, a continuance of your holy work and the needed strength to give to others. You have made a major difference in my life and I will be eternally grateful to you. God bless you and please pray for me.