Cancer took my son, but I'm still a believer
No one is more qualified to be sceptical about miracles than me.
The truth is, I lost my beloved son to cancer eight years ago when he was aged 20.
After a three-year battle, and with intensive treatment, he died on Christmas Day 2007. Unfortunately, the thousands of prayers that were said and the desperate entreaties and promises made to a higher being were to no avail.
Despite that, however, I have written two books on the miracles associated with the Italian saint Padre Pio, and, as an award-winning journalist of 35 years' standing, I am convinced that miracles or inexplicable cures with supernormal connections do happen.
It is often said that no proof is necessary for those who believe, whereas no amount of proof is ever good enough for those who don't believe at all.
That saying is at the heart of this short piece I am writing today.
The fact is that my acceptance that miraculous events occur can never be proved, but of course cannot be disproved either.
The truth to me as a journalist lies in the honest, credible and substantiated evidence that exists pointing to what can only be described as supernatural recoveries.
Beyond those I mentioned in a recent article for the Belfast Telegraph, there are literally hundreds of convincing stories.
One involves a young baby, who in March 2001 had a series of what were believed would prove to be fatal mini-strokes.
The doctors said there was nothing they could do. Having being blessed with a relic of Padre Pio, there was an instant revival.
All the doctors could say was: "Take your son home, he shouldn't be here."
Today the same boy is a thriving young teenager.
Another case history involves a woman who had a massive brain haemorrhage, after which her husband was told to say goodbye.
Having been blessed with a glove of Padre Pio, she opened her eyes and was removed from her ventilator.
Regarding her recovery, the doctor said: "We don't know how this has happened."
She went on to live a fully active life.
The stories go on and on. They include a young girl born with a hole in the heart, who claimed she was visited by Padre Pio. Despite being told she would need extensive and uncertain surgery, the hole in the heart disappeared. Other stories - and there are very many - involve recoveries from cancer, multiple sclerosis and traumatic injuries incurred in accidents.
How can these be explained? The answer is: not by science. Even doctors would not attempt to do so.
To those of a jaundiced, sceptical nature I advise you to heed the words of Shakespeare in Hamlet, Act 1, Scene V: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
From my research, these words are profound and meaningful indeed.