Filipino teen may be the next Catholic saint

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 1) — Darwin Ramos, a Filipino teenage boy who continued to inspire until his last breath, is a step closer to sainthood.

The Vatican has declared Ramos a "Servant of God," allowing the local diocese of Cubao to start the process for beatification and canonization, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said.

“The Vatican has given us the go signal to go deeper in his life how he lived his faith and how he gave witness to Jesus to whom he was very close,” Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said in a statement on the CBCP News website Friday.

During the process for sainthood, church officials examine if a candidate indeed lived a devout Catholic life. Once found to be holy, the person will be beatified upon verification of a miracle attributed to that person. The canonization as a saint comes after a second miracle is verified.

Devotees have praised Ramos for keeping his faith even while battling Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease characterized by muscle weakness which bound him to a wheelchair.

“Darwin is an example of holiness. Being a street child, afflicted with myopathy, he is closely united with Christ in his suffering and joy,” Ongtioco said.

Ramos, born in 1994, lived in a slum community in Pasay City. At the age of 12, he volunteered to help street children through the foundation Tulay ng Kabataan. He died in 2012 at the age of 17.