Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I would like to thank everyone for attending Alfred Sandini’s funeral mass Saturday, July 20th. Here is another beautiful story of people of our parish coming together to help a person in need.
On July 20 of this year, I had to make a trip to Brazil for a noble cause: to bring a sick parishioner, Ronie Cézar Filho, a terminally ill cancer patient, to his parents in the city of Contagem, MG, Brazil. That was for me a difficult and painful, quick three days journey, but also a very full trip of divine graces in it. I left on the 20th and returned, Wednesday, July 24th.
Ronie has been a very involved member of IC Parish. He used to help the Brazilian youth from many parishes doing many things, giving testimony to the youth of his conversion, guiding them to God’s way, correcting them and praying for them. He has helped us in many events of our parish as well, especially being part of security of our annual Brazilian Festival. However, he discovered his cancer in December of 2018. After that he went to the hospital in Worcester and he did all the medical procedures as well as the chemotherapy and radiation. In the beginning of this year the doctors sent him home and they asked him to keep taking medicines.
Meanwhile, as he could not work, many of his friends, parishioners and also people from many places have decided to help him financially paying his bills, food, as well as cleaning his home, etc. He has no one from his family living here in the United States of America. They created a fund so that Ronie could receive donations. Also, he received all religious assistance from IC Parish, like priest visits with the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Communion from our Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers, and the assistance of Saint Vincent de Paul Society.
When Ronie was told about his aggressive cancer he did not want to go to Brazil because he had a hope God would heal him although the doctors, since the beginning, told him his cancer has no cure. We, friends, have tried to tell him to go back home (Brazil) and stay there with his family, but he didn’t want to do it. Also another reason that made him stay here is his only eleven-year-old daughter, Jennifer da Silva, she was born here in the USA and she lives with her mother in Ashland. She loves Ronie, her dad and Ronie was always present in Jennifer’s life, although he was separated from Jennifer’s mom.
Unfortunately, two weeks ago he went back to the hospital. Last week the doctors made a last meeting with Ronie, the worker assistance and his friends and in this meeting they told us Ronie can’t live alone anymore because he needs someone 24 hours with him looking after him all the time. Also, the doctors said to us again that there is nothing they could do for him, no surgery and no more medical treatment like chemotherapy and radiation, and they advised us not to try to do any other alternative way for healing him. Ronie, fortunately and finally, in that meeting with the doctors, told them he would like to go to Brazil. We were happy with his decision.
After that the worker assistance made another meeting with Ronie’s friends explaining all the procedures we should do so that Ronie can travel and meet his family safely. The worker assistance from Worcester Hospital told us he has to travel in the first class and with someone else next to him. They gave him all the medicines free for a month that Ronie would need. And finally, the assistance told us to be prepare ourselves because Ronie could die anytime. He wished the presence of his daughter on the trip. And also many friends asked me to make presence on this trip so that I may give a word of consolation to Ronie’s family when we arrive there. So this was the plan we had.
After that meeting, we, Ronie’s group which I am included, have worked hard preparing his trip to Brazil. We have made some meetings and made important decisions, once Ronie’s life was in our hands. Decisions like who is going to accompany him, who is going to prepare his medicines for a month, who is going to prepare a Travel Authorization For Child Unaccompanied with Brazilian Consulate of Boston for Jennifer, and other decisions.
The trip was successful. God prepared everything and we were like Moses guiding the people of Israel through the Red Sea.
When we arrived there, Ronie’s family were all there waiting for us. We cried. We stayed with Ronie and his family for three days but Jennifer will be back this Saturday. Ronie’s life wasn’t anymore in our hands, but in his family’s hands. For us this trip was difficult, painful, a quick three days journey, but also a very full trip of divine graces in it. We prayed the rosary with Ronie and with all his family there. I talked to them that we, parishioners, Ronie’s friends, will support the family until Ronie’s departure, although this talk was hard. Indeed, many people have been helping Ronie financially, religiously and affectionately. Also, I told them how loved Ronie is here in the IC Parish for many things he has done for our Brazilian community. All members of Ronie’s family thanked us for doing the great effort for bringing him back home and for many other kinds of help.
We have seen many fruits in this story, such as people doing charity out of their heart, people rejoicing seeing us taking care of Ronie with love. An example of this are the comments from Worcester Hospital asking us to help them in the future with other patients. Also we have the example of people from Brazilian Consulate going to the hospital for collecting Ronie’s signature in fast way. Finally, I would like to witness that Ronie was in peace with his possible departure to the Father. His last word to me were “thank you father for everything you and my friends, parishioners, have done for me”. As a priest I can testify he is ready for going away if God allows it.
Please, pray for him that God release him from this cancer if this were the will of God. And also, pray for all members of his family so that God consoles them.
Father Steven Clemence