Fernando Suarez

Father Fernando Suarez (1967- ) is a Filipino Catholic priest living in Canada, who has allegedly performed faith healing in the Philippines and all over the world. [ [http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=teodoroBacani_july17_2007 www.manilastandardtoday.com, Filipino contributions] ]

Education

Suarez was born on February, 1967 at Barrio Butong, Taal, Batangas, Philippines to a driver father and a seamstress mother. Being the eldest of 4 children (sister and 2 brothers), he graduated in public schools. At age 12 he earned a living by leasing inflatable boats at a beach to support his studies. Suarez earned chemical engineering degree at Adamson University, Manila.

Priesthood

At 16, Suarez felt called to pray for and heal the sick. He attempted to enroll in the seminary but was rejected by the Franciscan Order and the Society of the Divine Word. In 1997, Suarez joined the Companions of the Cross, which is currently composed of 25 other American priests and himself. Suarez was ordained a Catholic priest in 2002 at age 35. From 2002 to July 2003, Suarez served as the associate pastor of St. Timothy's parish in North York, Ontario. While representing the Companions of the Cross, Suarez has traveled throughout the world. He created his Mary Mother of the Poor-Healing Ministry or Mary Mother of the Poor Foundation (MMP), chaired by Manolo Lopez of Meralco. He is supported through donations from many countries. [http://www.inquirer.net/specialfeatures/thegoodnews/view.php?db=1&article=20071231-109535 inquirer.net, Healing priest does so ‘many miracles like in the Bible’] ]

On December 10, 2007, Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presented Suarez with an award his religious service [ for [http://www.philjaycees.com/More%20on%20TOYM%20Search.html]

Mary Mother of the Poor

This foundation is a non-profit organization of Catholic religious and lay persons that was started informally by Father Suarez in 1996. He saved his own stipend to begin putting his vision of helping the poor children into reality. Since then, the foundation has been growing and with the help of patrons and volunteers, the MMP has been growing and able to help numerous amount of those in need. They are registered in Canada and are dedicated to help relieve poverty, coordinate health and social services, advance and teach Catholic tenets and help the youth develop their talents.

Building Projects

In 2004, MMP built and financed a classroom for students having class under a tree or some exposed space. They also built houses for two families that were affected by a typhoon.

In 2005, MMP constructed and financed a two-story home for ten families that were living under a roof supported by four bamboo pillars. They also extended a high school that was affected by landslide and was in need of a library and extra rooms.

In 2006, MMP built a mission house to provide housing for seminarians and visiting priests. The Mary Mother of the Poor Village was also constructed to build homes for thousands of families.

The projects of the Mary Mother of the Poor are continuously working on helping provide shelter for those in need.

Livelihood and Economic Projects

To further help the poor help themselves, MMP provide livelihood opportunities for them. This includes fish farming, handicrafts, and even a small power plant. They also provided seminars aimed to teach people how to cook with more nutritious foods as well as creating products to generate money. This was held in Butong, Batangas.

cholarship and Youth Evangelization

They are currently sponsoring one hundred twenty-three scholars (ranging from elementary to college) and six seminarians. Scholarships are offered in full term up to graduation, provided that the students stay in good academic standing. MMP also provides daycare.

MMP also provieds spiritual support to the students and includes mass, praise, dramatization and spiritual outreach.

Feeding Program

MMP is currently feeding more than 3000 malnourished children from five different schools: Pulot Apaya, Pulot Itaas, De La Paz Itaas, Ilihan and Pagkilatan. They provide lunch five days a week and is conducted by volunteer teachers and parents and is mostly financed through donations.

Oratory of the Blessed Virgin Mary at MonteMaria

Suarez has announced he will attempt to build a shrine to the Blessed Virgin at Montemaria, in Batangas City. [Rodis, Rodel (2008-08-06). [http://www.asianweek.com/2008/08/06/the-healing-priest/ "The Healing Priest"] . AsianWeek. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.] It will consist of a rosary garden, Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic, Adoration, Divine Mercy, Infant Jesus, Saint Joseph and Saint Mary chapels, Scala Sancta, a columbarium, retreat houses, campsites, lodging houses, conference center, international center for the poor, and a replica of the House of the Virgin Mary. On January 7, 2007 the ground was broken at the site, accompanied by a tall statue of Mary. [ [http://www.theboholchronicle.com/mevents.php?issue=218&s1=2921&s2=2935&s3=&s4=&s5=2927&s6=808&s7=&s9=&s10= theboholchronicle.com, Medjugorge Prophecy on RP soon to be fulfilled?] ] The statue itself will be thirty-three stories high, which is even taller than the Statue of Liberty upon completion. The entire project is being finalized and scheduled to begin in 2008. Contractors believe it could be done in two to four years. [ [http://activemagazine.smedia.com.au/Publish/Html/MRMS-2007-09-08/Ar01200.htm activemagazine.smedia.com.au, Article, Montemaria] ] The statue is to be hand-made by sculptor Ed Castrillo, [ [http://www.visayandailystar.com/2007/Starlife/2007/August/05/feature1.htm www.visayandailystar.com, FR. FERNANDO SUAREZ The Healing Priest] ] [ [http://www.gmanews.tv/video/17356/Healing-priest-to-put-up-basilica-chapel-in-Batangas gmanews.tv/video, Healing priest to put up basilica, chapel in Batangas - 01/29/2008] ] the Philippines’ most prolific builder of public monuments (who celebrated his 40th year as a professional artist in 2006).

The world's tallest Marian statue would stand 110 meters, with 92.9 meters (or 204 feet) of that would consist of the statue of Mary. In his 2 hectare studio in Molino, Cavite, Castrillo said, the head, feet and hands are in cut-and-welded brass medium, while the body would be in stainless steel. The metal medium sculpture differed from Liberty, which is in soft concrete. [ [http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/lifestyle/lifestyle/view/20080721-149665/Marian-statue-bigger-than-Liberty-to-rise-in-Batangas showbizandstyle.inquirer, Marian statue, bigger than Liberty, to rise in Batangas] ]

Healing ministry

Father Suarez discovered his gift of healing at the age of 16. He saw a crippled woman and upon feeling sorry for her, he sat and prayed with her. During this, he literally started to feel bones growing in her legs, and due to shock, he ran away. He tried to keep this a secret for as long as he can, and agreed to pray with the sick as long as they don't tell anyone about him. However, upon being ordained a priest, it became more evident to him that the gift of healing was not only meant for him, but to be shared with other people as well. Since then he has been traveling around the world celebrating healing mass and praying with the sick. [ [http://www.fatherfernando.com, fatherfernando.com, about] ]

On January 11, 2008, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales officiated the sacrifice of the Mass which started the 3-day, 40-hour vigil at Fr. Suarez' Batangas City Montemaria mega-shrine. Hundreds of devotees and the sick gathered, since the Catholic Church confirmed Suarez' healing ministry as authentic, the priest, being merely an instrument of Christ. [ [http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=105259 abs-cbnnews.com, Bandila (Filipino language), 40-oras na vigil, healing mass ni Fr. Suarez, dinagsa] ]

Suarez, 40, announced his return to and resumption of healing in the Philippines on May, 2008. [ [http://www.gmanews.tv/story/93752/Healing-priest-returning-to-RP-this-month GMA NEWS.TV, ‘Healing’ priest returning to RP this month] ]

Suarez' superior at the Companions, Rev. Scott McCaig, believed in the healer's gift since many people truly got better. Fr. Scott testified: "all healing should be approached with some skepticism, but there's a place between total susceptibility and total rejection; I knew people, close friends, who went very skeptical, and who experienced profound moments of grace." [ [http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=206f1047-35be-44f1-a0c6-65b97530ce51 canada.com/montrealgazette, A gift for healing] ]

Suarez, on July 21, 2008, healed Filpinos in the 7 hours healing mass at the Saint Joseph Community in Brussels, Belgium. [ [http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=125799 abs-cbnnews.com, Fr. Fernando Suarez heals Belgium Pinoys] ]

Controversy

On January 25, 2008, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines CBCP public affairs head and Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, Jr. stated that "while they are happy for Suarez, they will remain "watchful" of his healing masses and activities." [ [http://www.gmanews.tv/story/77927/CBCP-keeping-eye-on-healing-priest www.gmanews.tv, CBCP keeping eye on healing priest] ]

On January 26, 2008, 2 died and 7 were rushed (due to exhaustion) to James Gordon Hospital, Olongapo City while waiting for Fr. Suarez' healing mass. Juanito Eleazar, 69, died of heart attack amid more than 15,000 patients having lined-up. [ [http://www.gmanews.tv/video/17280/2-die-of-exhaustion-while-waiting-for-Fr-Suarez-healing-Mass gmanews.tv/video, 2 die of exhaustion while waiting for Fr. Suarez healing Mass - 01/26/2008 (in Filipino)] ]

At Mexico, Pampanga, 39-year-old colon cancer-stricken Alberto Tapnio died while in wheelchair (and thereafter blessed by Fr. Suarez during a healing mass). Tapnio was DOA (dead on arrival) at a hospital but was revived by electric shocks. Upon notice of the resurrection, the crowd of 20,000 people started clapping, praying and shouting, but Alberto died 4 hours later. [ [http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20080130-115675/No-Lazarus-Man-who-came-back-to-life-dies Inquirer.net, No Lazarus: Man who came back to life dies] ] [ [http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20080129-115440/Dead-man-comes-back-to-life-during-Pampanga-healing Inquirer.net, Dead man comes back to life during Pampanga healing] ] Malolos, Bulacan Bishop Jose Oliveros announced the filing of a complaint with the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith against Fr. Suarez for healing at the Marilao Divine Mercy Shrine without permission. [ [http://www.gmanews.tv/story/78304/Malolos-bishop-to-lodge-complaint-vs-healing-priest GMA NEWS.TV, Malolos bishop to lodge complaint vs healing priest] ] Oliveros spoke at a press conference after the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Plenary Assembly, and stated that he would also complain to Suarez's Companions of the Cross superiors. [ [http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20080128-115379/Healing-priests-sessions-not-following-Church-protocol Inquirer.net, Healing priest’s sessions not following Church protocol] ] Oliveros further accused Suarez of violating paragraph 4 of Section 2, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's "Instruction on Prayers for Healing", [ [http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20001123_istruzione_en.html vatican.va, Instruction on Prayers for Healing] ] signed in 2000 by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. [ [http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/jan/29/yehey/top_stories/20080129top3.html manilatimes.net, Bishops doubtful about powers of ‘healing priest’] ]

Suarez was also been banned from healing in a Toronto diocese for "a breach of Article 4, No. 3, of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith disciplinary norms contained in the Instruction on Prayers for Healing." Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros, D.D., per CBCP web site said he learned of the ban from Archbishop Thomas Collins at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz earlier banned Suarez. In an essay, also, Fr. Virgilio Ojoy, OP, a University of Santo Tomas Ecclesiastical Faculties professor, said Suarez’s work had been “sensationalized. [ [http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=news2_july7_2008 manilastandardtoday.com, Bishop: Healing priest rebuffed in Canada] ] [ [http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20080707-146893/Filipino-healing-priest-barred-from-saying-Mass-in-Toronto globalnation.inquirer.net/news, Filipino ‘healing’ priest barred from saying Mass in Toronto] ]

References

External links

* [http://www.fatherfernando.com/ Fernando Suarez' website]
* [http://www.marymotherofthepoor.org Mary Mother of the Poor official site]


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