Venezuelan Cardinal Baltazar Porras announced on Friday that a Venezuelan doctor “known for treating the poor during the Spanish flu pandemic a century ago has been beatified,” said a Reuters report. 

Despite calls from Porras about celebrating inside their houses due to the coronavirus threat, people still went and celebrated outside the Church of Our Lady of the La Candelaria, which houses Dr. Jose Gregorio Hernandez’ remains. 

Hernandez was born in Trujillo in 1862. During the Spanish flu pandemic, he got the moniker, the “doctor of the poor” for taking care and serving the poor while he was in Caracas. 

He was struck by a car in 1919. 

A miracle was attributed to him by the Catholic church after a young girl, Yaxury Solorzano’s life was mysteriously saved. Solorzano was shot in the head after a robbery attempt. 

The doctors who treated her said that the girl would be disabled even if they managed to save her life. According to church records, Solorzano recovered and was able to walk, a few weeks after the operation. They said that the girl’s mother had prayed for Hernandez to save her child. 

Porras said of the beatification in a news conference, “In the middle (of) the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the world, in the middle of this terrible crisis that our fatherland is living through, today we receive a balm from this person who unites us,”

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State said about Hernandez that, “the whole country recognizes itself in him and accepts and loves him. Let’s say then that he can be an element that accompanies and unites all Venezuelans in a moment of hardships and divisions.” 

Hernandez, along with four other candidates representing South America and Europe, had been beatified by Pope Francis on Friday after authorizing a decree on it. 

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