ROME, NOV. 10, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Over 200 journalists have given John Paul II signed letters requesting the beatification of Manuel Lozano Garrido, a writer and journalist who spent more than 28 years in a wheelchair.
“We journalists need an intercessor like Lolo who will stop us when tempted to opt for easy and wounding criticism,” Alex Rosal explained, using Garrido’s nickname. Rosal, director of the Spanish weekly newspaper Fe y Razon (Faith and Reason), gave the Pope his colleagues’ signed letters last Sept. 11.
“We journalists need an intercessor who will protect us against the abuses of the powerful; who will enlighten us as we gather news and reports that focus on the positive side of the human being, and will drive us to uncover the lies and corruption that surround us,” Rosal said.
Garrido was born in Linares, Spain, in 1920. He worked for various newspapers, the Associated Press and other outlets.
In 1942 he contracted spondylitis, which deformed his body and left him an invalid. He was totally blind for the last 10 years of his life. Despite his handicap, he dictated nine books to his sister Lucy and to his friends, and founded Sinai, a magazine for the sick.
“Lolo was a man of our time, great journalist and writer who, despite his physical difficulties, succeeded through his witness and holiness in casting light on the way to practice ‘new journalism,’ without falling into yellow, pink or black sensationalism. He was a teacher,” Alex Rosal explained.
“May Lolo help us from heaven to imitate his journalism and at least give us some grams of his faith and love of Christ and natural joy,” he concluded.
When Garrido’s biography was presented in Madrid, Cardinal Antonio Javierre Ortas, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, said: “It is not difficult to imagine the joy that awaits John Paul II to see an invalid ascend to Bernini’s glory.”
Father Rafael Higueras, judicial vicar of the Jaen Diocese, who over nine years took the Eucharist to Garrido and was by his side when he died, explained to ZENIT that he was “a Christian who took the Gospel seriously, or as José Luis Martin Descalzo, famous journalist and priest, said: ‘He was dedicated to being a Christian. He was dedicated to believing.'”
“His permanent joy was expressed in his permanent smile, a man of sorrows, and yet a sower of joy in the hundreds of youths and adults who approached him for advice, because he had a secret,” Father Higueras recalled.
Garrido discovered this secret in Catholic Action, where in the 1930s “he learned to love Our Lady the Virgin to the point of folly, and deepened his eucharistic fervor, which marked him for life,” the priest revealed.
During his adolescence, Garrido carried the Eucharist clandestinely during the Spanish Civil War. His devotion to the Eucharist became intense when he spent the whole of Holy Thursday night in prison adoring the sacramental Lord, which was given to him hidden in a bunch of flowers.
Father Higueras recalled: “Already paralyzed — from the balcony of his home situated exactly in front of the doors of the parish — he would take a break from his work as a paralyzed writer and say: ‘Now — face to face with the Tabernacle — I am going to write a little paragraph with him'” — that is, converse with the Lord for a while.
The Vatican Congregation for Sainthood Causes has already published the “positio” — research on Garrido’s life and virtues — and in 2000 received the documentation on a miracle attributed to his intercession.
A group of Catholics have set up a canonical association to remember his life’s testimony. More information is available from [email protected].