July 18, 2016
A year ago today, a simple prayer request was posted on the Facebook page of the Friends of OLP. It was less than two weeks before Our Lady of Peace would close, when a former parishioner, Aileen Kilcommons, wrote a message on the Facebook page and asked the prayer community to pray for her friend's son. The parish was in turmoil, anticipating the the closure of the church, the last Sunday Mass and an All-Night Vigil, and the final four Masses at the end of July. Turning to the social media community, in addition to Our Lady of Peace Prayer Group to lift up prayers, within days, hundreds of people joined the parish in prayers online for Timothy, who was near death on a ventilator. The number of people grew to more than a thousand, some writing a simple, "Amen," while others wrote heartfelt prayers.
Soon the parishioners were locked outside the church, praying the 54-Day Rosary. The leaders of the rosary added Timothy's name to the daily petitions, and when they reached the thanksgiving phase of the novena, they gave thanks for Timothy's progress. With each improvement, Aileen would send the social media team her update through Facebook Messenger. Since Timothy was a young man, the parishioners also prayed to St. Therese of Liseaux, and featured a photograph of her statue in the garden behind the church with their post. Online prayers were also offered to the Blessed Mother to intervene for Timothy's recovery. More than 2500 people offered their continued prayers online.
The response from Timothy Breen can be found embedded in the February 28, 2016 post on Facebook. This is a true testimony to the use of social media, prayer and healing. This is God's work, and it is marvelous in our eyes:
"I would personally like to thank all of you who have kept me in their thoughts and prayers throughout my recovery. I am Timothy Breen and I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome in July of 2015. I have come a long way in my recovery since then; I am not fully healed yet but it is amazing how far I have come in the past seven months. The week I was diagnosed in July I went from waking up and not being able to walk on a Tuesday to waking up early on a Friday morning and not being able to breathe. It was a shock to all of those who knew including myself. From that time on I could not breath on my own and was on a ventilator for four months and I did not have the ability to move anything below my neck. After the disease had practically destroyed my nervous system I began on a long recovery. For the first month I stayed in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit at Columbia-Presbyterian. Two months after my diagnosis I was transferred to a rehabilitation facility where I began intensive physical therapy. It was there that I slowly began to make small movements in my arms. I continued therapy everyday for another two months. At the end of October I became independent of the ventilator and I was transferred to facility that was closer to home. It was there in the middle of November that I began to take my first steps. I continued my therapy everyday and continued to get better at walking. On December 23, 2015 I returned home for the first time in six months. Today, my recovery still continues, and I attend outpatient therapy twice a week. I am now able to walk without a cane and perform most of my daily activities without assistance of others or any other devices. I plan on returning to work next week and I will return to college in the fall. Through the thoughts, prayers, and wishes of many (including all of you) I have made a huge accomplishment in my recovery. I believe miracles can happen and that what has happened to me is nothing short of one. Not just my recovery but the journey I have been on the last six months have taught me about the love and compassion of my family and friends and all of those around me. It has also taught me about fear, vulnerability, and the feeling of being close to death are very real and something that we all experience in our lives. I cannot express how much gratitude I have for all of you who have prayed for me as well as my family, friends, and incredibly skilled and compassionate doctors, nurses, and therapists. I do believe that the power of prayer and spiritual healing have been and are still crucial to my recovery. I would also like to thank Aileen and Katie who brought my story to your prayer group. Thank you for all of you who prayed for me. I will always remember what you have done for me and I will keep your parish in my thoughts and prayers."
- Timothy Breen — posted on Friends of Our Lady of Peace Facebook
Once again the people answered. Here are a few of their responses:
"The power of prayer and love...God is always listening, may he continue to bless you, your family, friends and the Our Lady of Peace community." - Chris W.
"Continuing to pray for Timmy!" - Helen M.
"Congratulations on your recovery. God bless you as you continue your walk." - Angie E.
"Praying for you. God is always good! Keep your faith." - Peggy F.
"Praying for your full recovery. God bless." - Francisca P.
"God bless and continue to heal you." - Gina C.
"TBTG! Will continue to pray for you, Timothy." - Donna B.
"May God continue to heal you. Amen." - Norma V.
"As [to] what you experienced: you're having a new life, a miracle of life. Keep continuing your faith & pray more... I will lift you in my prayers.. God bless." - Edna S.
"Miracle is still at work.. continue Faith journey. God bless u." - Iris S.
"God is good all the time... Keep praying." - Dags L.