When bystanders saw the man rise from his wheelchair moments after being blessed by the Pope, they were aghast. A miracle had taken place in their midst!
Or maybe not….
On May 1, 1984, Jan Lavric found himself being wheeled in front of Pope John Paul II to receive a blessing. Lavric was at the Vatican as part of a pilgrimage by a group of disabled Britons. What most bystanders didn’t know, however, was that Lavric had no difficulty walking. He was a medical advisor for the group and was there to assist.
As he was waiting for the Pope to arrive, Lavric saw an available wheelchair and took advantage of the opportunity to rest his legs. While seated, Lavric was startled to find himself being wheeled off by a nun. “What was I to do?” Lavric later asked.
He and his fellow Britons found themselves in the presence of the pontiff, who said a blessing over all of them. After the Pope left, Lavric rose from his wheelchair to the astonished gasps of those around him.
“It’s a miracle!” could be heard repeatedly by spectators. Lavric, red-faced, hurried away from the scene.
Later, back at his home in the English midlands, Lavric explained to a reporter that he had never been disabled and that the whole thing was a big misunderstanding.