Prayers lift Wayne teenager in his successful cancer fight


ANSWERED PRAYERS Miguel Enriquez, 15, of Annunciation Parish beat stage four Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. He is seated in a photo from last December in the center flanked by his parents, Alex (left) and Carmela, Annunciation’s religious education coordinator. Above Enriquez are his siblings: Gabriel (top row), 21, Rafael (second row, left), 17, and Bernadette (second row, right), 20.


The first round of chemotherapy last fall sometimes felt unbearable. Miguel Enriquez, 15, often suffered agonizing pain in his stomach, arms, and head.

Miguel of Annunciation Parish in Wayne got through those dark times, in part, by praying over a Divine Mercy image of Jesus that sat in his bedroom closet. As a Wayne Hills High School sophomore, he was battling a formidable foe: stage four Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.

“I would imagine Jesus coming out of the image, standing over me and keeping me company,” said Miguel, whose mother, Carmela, is Annunciation’s religious education coordinator. He also listened to bible stories and rosary prayers on his phone while he fell asleep. “They gave me peace. I knew I was safe. Faith gave me hope. I knew I would get better.”

The Lord finally answered the prayers of the Enriquez family, the Annunciation community, and people around the world after months of difficult treatment, tests, and the uncertainty of waiting for results. They received word on April 22 that God healed Miguel of his cancer. His recent PET and CT scans showed no signs of a tumor that had developed.

“If not for God, I wouldn’t be here,” said Miguel, a rising Wayne Hills junior. He is the youngest of four children of Carmela and her husband, Alex, a nurse, both originally from the Philippines. “The support and prayers of my family and An-nunciation contributed to my positive outcome.”

Carmela shared the story of Miguel’s cancer battle in a recent Annunciation bulletin. She leaned on the Christian faith she is responsible for helping teach the parish youth. Last August, Miguel started suffering from a high fever at night, hives, and headaches — with symptoms getting worse despite the search for a cause. She prayed St. Jude novenas. Finally, tests at N.Y. Presbyterian Children’s Hospital found a cancerous tumor.

“I was shocked. I didn’t know how to react,” Miguel said.

That night, Carmela felt peace because Miguel acted so calmly with the terrible news. She also remembered Psalm 46:11: “Be still and know that I am God.” Carmela did break down telling Alex and her other children. Miguel went through six rounds of chemotherapy. His siblings supported him, calling him in his hospital bed to make him laugh — and they all got even closer in the process.

Carmela also felt God’s peace seeing the smiling faces of Annunciation parishioners, even of those who didn’t know what she was going through. She credited Father Ricardo Ortego, the pastor, for being a “constant source of spiritual strength.” Annunciation catechists also help run the religious education program in Carmela’s absence to be with her son.

“My son’s medical journey was not easy in the beginning because he experienced symptoms that even medicine cannot provide relief. God used many people to assure me that he was in control. Our prayers have been answered — lifted not just by me, but also by a family and an entire community,” Carmela told Annunciation Parish.

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