Pacquiao win to be powered by prayers
LOS ANGELES—With the odds stacked against Manny Pacquiao as he faces the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), the power of prayer will help turn the tide and propel the Filipino boxing champ to victory, according to Church leaders.
“The power of prayer will greatly help Manny, together with his work and dedication during training,” Catholic priest Marlon Beof said on Friday before he left for Las Vegas, where he was scheduled to hold a morning Mass for Pacquiao on fight day.
Beof, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Santa Ana, California, celebrated Mass for Pacquiao every morning of the day of the fight for nearly a decade before the former Catholic boxer became a born-again Christian in 2012.
He said he remained close to Pacquiao and they continued their conversations about spirituality and morality.
Pacquiao’s own prayers, together with those offered by other people, will “open [him] to receive God’s grace,” Beof said. “He will then be in a disposition to let God’s power and grace flow in him.”
Beof, whose parish is predominantly Mexican-American, said even non-Filipino Catholics were praying for Pacquiao.
“Our [Mexican-American] parishioners have asked me to let Manny know that they are praying for him,” he said.
“It truly says something about Manny’s connection with many people, especially people of goodwill. It’s something that makes me feel good and proud about our beloved Manny,” he added.
Bishop Oscar Solis, the first Filipino to become a bishop in the United States, said the power of prayer was real, but reiterated the message behind the saying, “God helps those who help themselves.”
He said prayers, combined with physical and mental preparation for the fight, would fuel Pacquiao’s victory.
Roy Padilla, a pastor with the Filipino ministry of Rosewood United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, said he believed prayer would help Pacquiao win, just as it helped stop the execution of drug trafficking victim Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia.
“Prayer is power in itself,” said Padilla, who helped set up a viewing event for church members in a public venue in Los Angeles. “Just as faith can move mountains, prayers can turn the tide for Manny.”
Washington-based evangelical minister Arnedo Valera said Pacquiao was “strong and without fear” because of his personal relationship with God.
“His belief and strong faith and his prayers are giving him a spiritual nourishment of calmness and humility and the strong will to overcome defeat,” said Valera, whose ministry has offered a collective prayer for Pacquiao’s victory.
“Prayer works,” said Valera, who also practices immigration law in Washington. “I myself experienced many miracles of prayer when I won what many thought were impossible cases.”
Devout Christian Andy Edralin said hundreds of fellow members of Cornerstone International Christian Church in San Gabriel Valley were offering prayers for Pacquiao.
Edralin recently attended a Sunday service at Westside Shepherd of the Hills Church in Los Angeles, where Pacquiao had an emotional conversation with Pastor Dudley Rutherford about his Christian faith and how it changed his life.
He joined the wild cheering when Dudley asked the crowd: “How many of you will be praying for [Pacquiao] when he walks in that ring.”
“The power of prayer is real,” Edralin said. “It will help Manny win.”
Beof and Valera strongly believe that Pacquiao will win, but if he loses, his faith will help him accept his fate.
“I believe Manny will be able to take it well. He will look at it in the context of his relationship with God. God’s love for him will not change no matter what,” Beof said.
“God will continue to love and bless him so he can continue to be a presence of love and a blessing to his family and many others. This is way more valuable than winning or losing a boxing match.”
Valera shared the sentiment. “Win or lose, [Pacquiao] is a victor in the eyes of God,” he said.