The Vatican has declared a Filipino teenager, Darwin Ramos, a "Servant of God," according to a post on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website.
The declaration, which was made on March 29 by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints Cardinal Angelo Becciu, is the preliminary process for sainthood.
The preparation for the process of the Cubao Diocesan Tribunal will be done by the postulator, French Dominican Fr. Thomas de Gabory.
The CBCP reported that Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao began the process for the cause of canonization of the Filipino teenager 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.
Ramos was born in and spent his early years in the slums of Pasay City and had worked as a scavenger to help augment the meager family income.
He was later diagnosed with having Duchenne muscular dystrophy. As the disease progressed, Ramos could no longer stand and his muscles weakened.
Despite his condition, he got himself involved in work helping street children. He was baptized in 2006 and the following year he received his first communion and the sacrament of confirmation.
Ramos’ physical condition deteriorated but he developed a deep personal relationship with Christ.
In 2012, his condition worsened and had to be brought to the hospital but maintained a friendly attitude, thanking everyone for helping him.
He died at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City on Sept. 23, 2012 at the age of 17.
Declaring a candidate to sainthood a Servant of God is the first step towards reaching the goal. Other steps towards sainthood are declarations of Venerable, Blessed and then Canonization. — BAP, GMA News