It’s impossible not to be moved at witnessing Fr. Miguel José Medina Oramas’ tenacity, zeal, and desire to serve Jesus Christ and His Church. Fr. Medina is the pastor of Santa Luisa de Marillac, in Mérida, the capital of Yucatán (southeast Mexico), and although he has contracted COVID-19, he has not stopped celebrating the Mass and sharing it online for his flock.The image is worth a thousand words: a fully vested priest, emaciated and with oxygen tubes in his nose, celebrating Mass live on Facebook—obviously suffering from the virus, but giving his best effort for the good of his faithful.
Unable to celebrate Mass with a congregation, especially after falling sick in early August, he has been celebrating the Mass in a chapel and live-streaming it on the parish’s Facebook page. The account already has more than 20,000 followers.
He decided that he “wasn’t going to stand by with his arms crossed” during the pandemic, he told El Universal, and he hasn’t. First from his room and then in a chapel, he continues to be in contact with his parishioners, and with many other people who are joining his transmissions, inspired his exceptional effort. We can only imagine the toll it must be taking on him.
Many of the faithful who follow him on social networks thank him for his testimony, while others, perhaps moved by the effort Fr. Medina is making (he just turned 66, and has been a priest for 38 years), suggest it would be more prudent for him to rest.
His strength in facing COVID-19, he says, comes from his religious sisters and brothers who pray for him. Livestreaming the Mass on Facebook makes him happy because he’s aware of the spiritual value of his sacrifice. He also joins the community virtually to pray the Holy Rosary.
“I deeply trust in the power of prayer and I believe that thanks to it I can stand on my feet while facing COVID-19. [I feel] the caress of God in my heart and his sweetness through so many brothers praying for me,” said Fr. Medina when interviewed by El Universal.
The testimonies shared by followers in comments on his Facebook publications are a clear reflection of the impact of this Yucatecan priest’s ministry.
For example, we can take the words of Ángeles del Carmen Pérez Álvarez: “Thank you, God of mercy, because you have allowed Fr. Miguel, despite being sick, to continue shepherding his sheep through social networks. Bless him, Holy Father, by giving him healing, if it is Your will. Amen.”
On August 11, the official Facebook page of the parish of St. Louise de Marillac published the following message:
“Good evening, dear brothers and sisters in Christ. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your prayers and your love. We would like to inform you of the state of health of Fr. Miguel José Medina Oramas. He has tested positive for COVID-19, and in light of the results he is already receiving medical treatment and the care required in the Church.”
During a recent Eucharistic celebration, Fr. Medina said that although he has a hard time sleeping at night, he discovered his mission: to pray for the sick and dying who are hospitalized due to coronavirus. He prays that God will protect them, as He is protecting him so far.