A 43-year-old Mexican man whom Pope Francis prayed over in St. Peter’s Square on Pentecost Sunday said that he had suffered from demonic possession for more than a decade.
Father Gabriele Amorth, the famous exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, told CNA on May 22 that Angel had received a “prayer of deliverance" from the Pope, who laid hands on him and prayed after Mass on May 19.
In an interview published by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the man, identified as Angel, recalled that his problems began one day in 1999 as he returned from Mexico City to his hometown in Michoacan by bus.
“I felt an energy enter the bus. I did not see it with my eyes but I felt it," he said. “I noticed that it approached me and stood in front of me. And suddenly, I felt like a knife stabbed me in the chest and then, little by little, I had the sensation that it was opening my ribs."
Initially, Angel thought it was a heart attack, but he did not die. However his health worsened, because he vomited everything he ate.
“I felt punctures all over my body, as if it were full of needles," he said. “Even the sheets hurt me. I started losing the ability to walk."
Soon, he said that he began falling into trances, uttering blasphemies and speaking in unknown languages, with doctors who attended him unable to explain what was wrong.
Angel’s health became so poor that he received last rites on four different occasions. The anointing brought an improvement to his health, so he started praying with a particular devotion to the Divine Mercy.
In 2004, he attended a lecture in the Mexican city of Morelia by a Ukrainian priest who explained his case.
“I told him what was happening to me, how bad I felt. He touched a relic of Padre Pio to my chest and I saw a special light that surrounded me," he recalled.
“I felt a great peace. But at the same time, I noticed something that began to scratch inside me. That something knocked me down and started to manifest itself. I couldn’t do anything, that presence was stronger than me and it overpowered me."
That day, Angel said, it was clear that he was possessed, and this knowledge made him feel fearful and “very dirty."
“My family reacted at first with disbelief and, in fact, between my siblings there are some who are still skeptics and who believe that what I have is the result of a psychological imbalance," he stated.
Initially, a priest in Mexico City performed four or five exorcisms on Angel. During one of them, the priest “asked the demon how he had entered into me and it said it was because of a curse that someone put on me."
Angel’s health continued to deteriorate despite several exorcisms. He became unable to work and had to close his advertising company. He was forced to sell his house in order to support his wife and two children.
However, he recently had a dream in which he saw Pope Francis “dressed in red and praying with an incense burner in his hand and surrounded by bishops and cardinals."
He said that he initially didn’t give it much thought, but when he woke up, he turned on the television and saw “a Mass with the Pope dressed in red and with incense burning in his hand, surrounded by bishops and cardinals."
“And a thought came to my mind: Do I have to go to Rome?" he said.
Although Angel was hesitant to travel because he was so sick, he eventually decided to make the trip to Rome with a priest that he knew.
He had been reading the book “The Last Exorcist," by Fr. Amorth, “which states that both Benedict XVI and John Paul II had performed exorcisms and prayers of delivery over the possessed."
Fr. Amorth witnessed the Pope’s prayer over Angel and said the next day, “there is no doubt that he is possessed."