Healer Priest Fr. Fernando Suarez On A World Mission of Healing
TORONTO — Father Fernando Suarez, known as the healing priest, is leaving Toronto for the Philippines for good, to devote full time to his Ministry.
The founder of the Mary Mother of the Poor Foundation,a non-profit organization of Catholic religious and lay persons, will spend six months in the Philippines, and six months in various parts of the world to pursue his healing mission and his organization’s projects to help the poor.
Specifically, he will be actively involved in the planning and development of the Oratory of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Monte Maria, Batangas City, which will serve as “a haven for pilgrims, a place of prayer, and an oratory dedicated to Mary Mother of the Poor.”
The site, where Fr. Suarez has conducted some of his masses and healing sessions to tens of thousands of devotees, spans 20 hectares — a donation of 10 Filipino families, the identities of whom he would prefer not to disclose.
Fr. Suarez, in his printed literature, is said to have instantly healed people with various forms of illness. Among them, a nurse confined to a wheelchair due to an accident was able to stand up; a 67-year old woman with spinal cord injury and confined to a wheelchair for seven years was able to stand up and walk after being touched by Fr. Suarez; an engineer who was deaf on his left ear for 20 years was able to hear after Fr. Suarez blew on that ear; a 2-year old man who had speech problems since birth was able to speak clearly when the priest touched him with his hands.
During a meeting with some community members arranged by Jun and Rosemer Enverga on Monday, May 5 at the Golden Valley Food Outlet in Scarborough, Fr. Fernando shared his healing experiences in the Philippines and in other countries.
However, he was most excited in telling the story of how the idea of the Monte Maria shrine started, how plans have evolved to build it like “a Disneyland with a spritual side,” and how his organization’s livelihood projects for the poor will be undertaken as part of this ministry’s mission.
Fr. Suarez recalled that as a Toronto-based priest, he would go to the Philippines once a year to visit places like Ifugao, and Banaue, where he would have his encounters with poor people. In one of these visits in 2006, he received a phone call from a member of Congressman who offered a one hectare lot for his ministry.
Fr. Suarez said he asked permission from his Archbishop if he could use this piece of property being offered to him as “a place of apostolate, a place where I can bring missionaries from all over the nation, from Canada and the U.S.” to pursue the ministry’s mission. The Archbishop, however, did not agree with the idea.
Why not a healing centre or a shrine, the Archbishop suggested to him.
Fr. Suarez said he right away agreed with the idea, hoping he could bring his healing masses to more people in the Philippines, and at the same time pursue his misson of working for the poor through livelihood projects.
Fr. Suarez asked the Congressman donor to increase his offer to five hectares, which the latter readily gave him. Meanwhile, additional 15 hectares were acquired, which has been virtually paid for through the livelihood project that was started that same year and has grown to be a huge success: fresh water pearl bracelet rosaries made by poor families which are sold in various parts of the world.
“So far we have already produced two million pieces of these bracelets worldwide, and we ship one container a month to other countries,” Fr. Suarez said.
“We always run out of bracelets wherever we go,” he said. He added that during the four-day stay in Rome, he met with the King and Queen of Qatar, and he gave them the bracelets. Filipinos and people of other nationalities had claimed that they had healing experiences with the bracelets, prompting a huge demand from people willing to get them “ no matter how much.”
The bracelets sell for $10 each, even as several have suggested that they should be sold at a higher price, Fr. Suarez confided.
As for the bracelet’s reported healing qualities, Fr. Suarez simply attributed it to the faith of those who believed in it. He had the same response when asked about the reported healing qualities of pebbles gathered at the Monte Maria site.
“I don’t know, I’ve never eperienced it. There are so many reports. It’s the people…the doctors who testify,” he said.
As for his healing masses, he said that attendance in the Philippines would average from 30,000 to 50,000 people each time.
During a three-day prayer vigil at the Monte Maria site last January, an estimated 100,000 people were reported to have attended, walking several kilometres to get to the place which was packed with cars and buses.
With so many pilgrims expected when the shrine is completed in three years’ time, wider roads would have been constructed, and a shuttle bus service would have been in place, Fr. Suarez said.
By then, if plans push through, the 20-hectare mountain top Oratory overlooking the China Sea would boast of a shrine of the Virgin Mary taller than the Statue of Liberty, a rosary Garden, various chapels, retreat houses with board and lodging, souvenir shops, a conference center, among others.
Fr. Suarez prides in the fact that the site will be completed mostly with the donations of rich people in the Philippines: from the land, the cement and steel to be used, the electricity used to build it, and even the building of the various chapels
When asked by a devotee in the audience how Filipinos in Canada could help, Fr. Suarez replied that assistance could come in many ways: financial donations for the livelihood projects which include feeding 4,000 malnourished children; and participating as volunteers at the site.
He noted that most of the donors in Canada were not Filipinos, which continues to puzzle him. He noted that even in the Board of Mary Mother of the Poor, there are only two Filipino members.
“I hope Filipinos become more generous…as this is an opportunity to do something good for otheers,” he said.
Among the devotees present was Cely de Leon, who had told this writer that her cousin, who worked in Saudi was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney, and was already very weak from the disease, as he refused chemotherapy treatments, preferring to just await his demise in the Philippines. De Leon said that the cousin became stronger after attending one of Fr. Suarez’ s healing masses, that he is now back working in Saudi.
Fr. Suarez, who is not allowed any longer to perform healing masses in Toronto, conducted his farewell masses in Cobourg, Ontario where the faithful had reportedly filled up the Church and a nearby gym.
He continues to attract believers or supporters, rich and poor, the ordinary and the powerful. He recently received an invitation to meet the Pope in Rome this week, according to a reliable source.
He was also reported to have healed the Philippines’s First Gentleman Mike Arroyo when he got seriously ill sometime ago.
Asked if he could heal the nation plagued by corruption, Fr. Suarez said that corruption is a social sin, and it is something that cannot be healed immediately, but could take a long time.