VIDEO: iRoam: Waiting to witness the Rosa Mystica

An image of The Pieta appears on one of the healing petals. Photo by Janus Victoria,

Location: St. Joseph Parish, San Miguel, Bulacan

(Editor’s Note: In line with the Lenten season, allow me to introduce the first of a series of webisodes on the rich culture and sights of the Philippines. Janus Victoria is an awarded filmmaker and one of her latest pursuits while regularly traveling around the country is to create three-minute films using her iPhone. Here, she talks about her experience with the enchanting rose petals of Rosa Mystica. On with Janus’ insights and her film…)

“The healer is not a magician.”

So stated by the man whose prayers are able to bring out various images of the Rosa Mystica—or Mary the Mother of God as she is also called—on every single petal of white rose he touches. To the faithful, Brother Carmelo Cortez is one of the last bastions for hope because aside from being phenomenal, the petals are also believed to possess healing powers.

Yung healing, hindi sa petals,” he said. “Ang healing, sa sakramento na in-attendan mo—sa Misa.” I saw Bro. Cortez in a healing session last March in St. Joseph Parish in San Miguel, Bulacan. His ritual was far from ceremonious. After Holy Mass, the parish priest invited him to the pulpit where he shared his insights briefly. After that he called the crowd, which consisted mostly of locals in their senior years, to rise and gather for the distribution of the white rose petals. Devotees are encouraged to bring their own roses but that night the local parish group provided them for free.

All the rose petals were blessed but it is only the petal that he touches and lays on your forehead and chest that bears an image. After the distribution, he bid everyone farewell and left the pulpit. Later, I asked him to look at the image that I got. It was the Pieta, he said, or the image of Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus.

I could not help but remark how desolate that image is. But he assured me that it was not an omen. “It should be an inspiration to you,” he explained. “If you get the meaning of petals, the mystery of your life, matututo ka ng tinatawag na conversion o pagbabalik-loob. Nasa iyo na kung paano mo i-apply.”

Likewise, he sees himself not so much as a healer but as someone who can inspire. “You become an instrument of hope for the people and their consolation—kung ano mang sakit meron sila. Merong dumadamay sa kanila lalo na sa isang taong napakahirap, na napakalala ng karamdaman. Maaaring hindi mo sila magamot physically, nagkakaroon sila ng inner healing sa kanila. Una, na matanggap nila yun.

• Brother Carmelo Cortez will be at the House of Prayer Diocesan Mother of the Eucharist in San Vicente, Sta. Maria, Bulacan on Black Saturday, April 7, 2012.