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Bishop M. Pearse Lacey

Most Reverend M. Pearse Lacey, auxiliary bishop emeritus of Toronto, says a skin wound from a cancer operation on his shoulder closed in a remarkable way during a trip to the Church-sanctioned site of Betania, Venezuela, in the 1990s. "I had been operated on and a cancer removed but for some strange reason the hole wouldn't heal, so I was experiencing the need of three to four changes of bandages a day," says Bishop Lacey, who had a long-time devotion to the Blessed Mother. "I'd been the Lourdes four times, I'd been to Medjugorje, I'd been to Fatima twice. There's been this yearning, this desire [over the years] to grow closer to Mary because I realize that it manifests a desire to come closer to the Lord for holiness and I knew that Mary would be the great medium for this. That was my intention on going to Betania, but naturally I was very conscious of the cancer operation and the lack of cure in it."

Bishop Lacey brought a bag of bandages to Betania, where the Virgin Mary has been appearing since 1976. The site was proclaimed an official miracle by a local bishop, Bishop Pio Bello Ricardo, in 1987.

While visiting this place, which had also been officially declared as "sacred ground," the bishop put blessed water on his wound and paid a personal visit to the seer, Maria Esperanza, whom the Toronto prelate describes as "someone very near the Lord." 

"She prayed over me for about ten minutes," he told Spirit Daily. "In any case, within a matter of a day the shoulder draining just dried up completely and I never went back to bandaging it again. For me it was a healing and I began to speak to others [about it]."

The bishop comments that those of an academic bent tend to be overly skeptical but the fact was that upon his next medical examination the doctor declared the wound that wouldn't close a "mature healing." 

Today Bishop Lacey describes it as "incredibly healthy looking" and adds that he considers another healing at Betania of a doctor named Vinicio Arrieta (who had advanced prostate cancer) an "authentic miracle." As for reports of an apparition in the U.S. to Sister Mildred Mary Ephrem Neuzil, Bishop Lacey says that striking of a medal by the archbishop and the granting of an imprimatur are "certainly approval" in the official Church sense -- a rare act in our modern scientific days.  

"I don't want to say this in an unkind way, but so many within the Church have difficulty with the prophetic dimension," he said. "Yet there's no question the Lord has raised up people. There are so many beautiful things happening." 

As for his own devotion: Bishop Lacey has personally handed out 55,000 rosaries to young men and women during Confirmations. He is now 84 and still active in the Toronto area.

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