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Fernando Pedro Nieto Giménez is the provincial of the Spanish Province of the Order of Knights of St. John Paul II. When his beloved son fell ill with an aggressive form of cancer, he was terrified. He went to the hospital chapel next door and prayed through the intercession of the Polish pope for a miracle. And a miracle happened …
His connection with John Paul II began in 1980 when he was a young man. He was active in the community at Sacred Heart parish in Albacete, Spain. Meeting the Holy Father became an experience that deepened his spiritual life and relationship with God.
“The testimony of his life fascinated me so much that when the parish planned a trip to Madrid for World Youth Day, in the first days of November 1982, I agreed without hesitation to co-organize the pilgrimage,” Giménez tells us in an interview.
Years later, Giménez started a family and eagerly awaited the birth of his son.
Then in 2008 his world collapsed like a house of cards. His 20-year-old son, named Fernando after his father, was taken urgently to the hospital. Doctors diagnosed the young man with third-stage lymphoma and gave him little chance of survival.
Fighting for his son’s life
Upon hearing the diagnosis, Giménez was terrified. He went to the hospital’s chapel next door to ask God to save him.
“There was only one small holy card lying in the chapel — an image of John Paul II. I had thanked him many times for his intercession in various matters, so I thought to myself, ‘Why shouldn’t I ask the Holy Father for a miracle of healing for our son?’” Giménez says.
As the man left the chapel, he took the holy card with him. He and his wife prayed day after day for their child’s health. However, the miracle they were praying for didn’t seem to happen. The 20-year-old’s condition steadily deteriorated. His parents moved heaven and earth to help their sick son.
“The doctor who treated our son scheduled 16 sessions of chemotherapy. He told us that in the middle of the treatment process he would do some follow-up tests to check the effectiveness of the therapy. He explained to us that the medications might have to be changed because the ones they were currently using might not be effective,” Giménez recalls.
Prayer in the hospital chapel
Before their son started chemotherapy, Giménez and his wife, along with other families from the parish, went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. They asked the Blessed Virgin Mary for the grace of health for their child. Eight months later, Giménez received a phone call informing him that a private clinic in Madrid would provide an experimental treatment for which the 20-year-old, after a series of specialized tests, might qualify.
“If you want, come,” they told him over the phone.
The doctors conducted detailed tests. They had to wait several hours for their results. In Madrid, Giménez went to the hospital chapel again.
“I no longer prayed for his healing, but for him to be able to come to terms with his passing,” Giménez says. He was already running out of hope that the tragic situation could change and that his son would overcome his terminal illness.
A miracle through the intercession of John Paul II
Giménez spent the entire night in prayer. In the morning he went to meet with the doctors. He heard from them that his son was healthy. There was no trace of the cancer!
“His body is clean. It’s as if the cancer was never there. We don’t know what happened, but it’s all gone,” the hospital staff explained.
Fernando couldn’t believe what had happened.
“What do you mean? Is his cancer in remission?” he asked.
From a medical point of view, there was no explanation. Giménez had no doubt that the 20-year-old’s healing was the result of prayer through the intercession of John Paul II. He tells Aleteia:
The doctor gave us a written report and we started on our way home. We made the entire car trip practically in silence, crying and thanking God. It was a great Tuesday of 2009. After arriving in our city, we went directly to the parish, and before the Blessed Sacrament gave thanks once again. A few days later we had a consultation at the hematology department of the University Hospital of Albacete with the doctor in charge of our son’s case. I couldn’t believe what I saw in the report. The result was the same as before. We were asked not to stop the treatment and to see it through to the end. Every day I prayed in front of the picture of John Paul II that I took from the hospital chapel.
“It’s as if this cancer never existed”
Giménez notified the bishop of Albacete of what had happened. The latter, in turn, sent the archbishop of Madrid all of the information about the case.
At the archbishop’s request, two special committees were appointed: one medical, and one theological. They analyzed the medical documents. The materials were forwarded to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican.
“We are very grateful for this excellently documented miracle through the intercession of John Paul II. We are happy, but we receive such documentation by the thousands,” came the response from the Holy See.
“Although there was medical intervention, we’re convinced of the intercession of the Holy Father John Paul II for the healing of our son,” Giménez emphasized.
Today, his son is 35 years old. He’s an electrical engineer, and although he undergoes yearly check-ups at the hematology clinic, he’s perfectly healthy.
Gratitude becomes service
For Giménez, the Polish Pope is still an important spiritual patron.
Giménez is the provincial of the Spanish Province of the Order of Knights of John Paul II. The organization was founded in 2011 as a living votive offering of gratitude for the gift of the beatification and pontificate of the beloved Holy Father John Paul II.
The community is thriving in many countries around the world, including Poland, Ukraine, Canada, France, Spain, and Florida.
Giménez explains that his service, to which he devotes so much time and strength, is an expression of gratitude to God for the miracle of his son’s healing. For, as the Polish pope said, “Praying means giving some of your time to Christ, entrusting yourself to Him, listening silently to His word, letting Him echo in your heart.”