This story was related to me by someone in the inner circle of the late Fr. Fernando Suarez, the healing priest, at a crowded fundraising party. She took me aside to a quiet corner, and rattled off this story almost without breathing.
At one time, Fr. Suarez visited the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Saudi Arabia. They were so hungry to see a priest, hungry to hear Holy Mass. He was literally mobbed. He saw how important it was to soothe these tired workers thirsty for the Lord, who were subjected to extreme hardships and loneliness.
(The dialogue has been reconstructed.)
OFW1 — Father, we beg you, please say Mass for us.
Fr. Suarez — Are you kidding? You want me to lose my head? Mere possession of the Bible can get you beheaded here, what more saying Mass.
OFW2 — We guarantee your safety, Father. We will do it in the basement of our residential building. No one will know about it.
Fr. Suarez — Sorry, I am not ready to become a martyr.
Hounded for hours, finally, his heart softened — Mass at the basement of an unknown building. News spread like wild fire. Everybody wanted to go to his healing Mass. The basement was full to the brim. Alas, the mob drew the attention of the security. They barged in and arrested Fr. Suarez. They reported the news to the King, who summoned him.
King — Where do you get your power to heal? (Fr. Suarez points a finger upwards without a word.) You mean Allah? My mother is very sick. If you can heal her, I will let you go.
And so, the mother was healed and he was set free. But for a moment there, he thought he was a goner.
You are never a goner if the Lord is on your side.
Fr. Suarez healing prayer goes viral
I met Fr. Suarez quite by accident. I was asked to join him in Los Baños. In the morning, we went to Monte Maria in Batangas, a future global pilgrim site. I brought my video camera along.
The site had a panoramic view of the Verde Strait from about 500 feet above the sea. The place reminded me of the giant statue of Jesus in Rio de Janeiro. Hundreds of ships pass by every day, looking so tiny from our commanding view.
The subsequent healing prayer I shot of Fr. Suarez at Monte Maria was also quite an accident. I just suddenly had the idea, and he readily agreed. He said the healing prayer spontaneously beneath the makeshift adoration arch. The wind was howling like a wolf, and I had a hard time editing the soundtrack.
His healing prayer was my very first YouTube video. I learned to post it by myself by trial and error. It was the Holy Spirit clicking the mouse.
That healing prayer had 10,000 viewers in a few days.
Then did I realize it was the Lord who did the video. All those “accidents” were His plan. In a few months, the video went viral with more than a million hits. There were reports of people healed by praying with Fr. Suarez on the Internet. God heals even in cyberspace.
You can view his healing prayer, and pray with him for healing at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UP3LHBgtIc.
Rejected by Filipino bishops but endorsed by the Vatican
Before Fr. Suarez passed away on 4 February 2020, anti-Suarez groups led by Filipino bishops accused him of sexual abuse of children based on hearsay, ending up in distortions and trial by publicity in social media. Even the CBCP Monitor, official newsletter of the Church, attacked him. It was said that when he went to them to explain his side, they refused to listen to him.
Unable to defend himself, ignored by his accusers, Fr. Suarez went to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF), the highest authority of the Church, which investigates miracles.
Before he died, the CDF cleared him of all hearsay accusations. A broadsheet wrote — “Cleared ng Vatican sa mga akusasyon sa kanya (Cleared by the Vatican of all accusations).”
Fr. Suarez was indeed a controversial priest. He was careless, forgetting to get permission to say Masses from local bishops. Or the priest who invited him forgot. He left his Canadian congregation and became a floating priest without a parish, until a bishop in Batangas took him in. Controversy followed him everywhere. But they were all immaterial, because the Lord still chose him to be His healer, and he healed tens of thousands worldwide. His charisma was total.
Here is his reply to his detractors, who ignored his explanations. Listen to his side: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgMH _GLmrag&feature=share