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Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines Sunday, August 5, 2007
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FR. FERNANDO SUAREZ
The Healing Priest
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If you see Fr. Fernando Suarez walking down the street, you wouldn't think he had the God-given power of healing, both spiritually and physically. Fr. Do isn't the type to flaunt.

To him, he's only an instrument. He never asked to be an instrument.

He'll tell you he doesn't heal. It is God who heals through him. When he discovered his calling, he was initially afraid. He found it difficult to understand how God could choose someone like him to become his instrument for healing. Eventually, he realized it was a role that was destined to be and now, he reaches out to those who seek him in God's name.

Believe it or not, Fr. Do was rejected by two seminaries for "lack of vocation" before joining the Companions of the Cross, a Catholic community of priests founded by Fr. Robert Bedard in Ottawa in 1985. He was ordained only five years ago and at 40, he has become a major mover in the Church. Fr. Do used to celebrate Mass in his Ottawa parish with only 10 to 20 devotees attending. As the good news of his healing powers spread, more and more parishioners flocked to the church. Now, thousands come for his healing Mass.

Archbishop of Lipa Ramon Arguelles said, in a recent homily at the Tent in Rockwell, Makati, that Fr. Do is destined to do great things. Through Fr. Do's efforts, a shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Poor, will rise on the slopes of Batangas City, overlooking the bay and the Verde Island Passage. The shrine, called Montemaria, will be a haven for pilgrims and a place of prayer. It will be highlighted by a 117-meter statue of the Blessed Mother, to be sculpted by national artist Ed Castrillo. The monument will be taller than the 92-meter high Statue of Liberty. Businessman and Couples for Christ convenor Greg Monteclaro, who arranges Fr. Do's schedule here when he is in the country, said the

Montemaria shrine will include a center for healing and spiritual rejuvenation, a retreat house for self-examination, an international center of apostolate for the poor, a Eucharistic Adoration Chapel, a rosary garden, a way of the cross, the St. Joseph Chapel, the Divine Mercy Chapel, a columbarium and a way station for pilgrims with board and lodging, conference rooms and other facilities. Montemaria will be to Asia what Lourdes is to France, Fatima to Portugal and Medjagorie to Bosnia. The Mary Mother of the Poor Foundation, whose chairman is Manolo Lopez of Meralco, has been set up as an apostolic endeavor with the aim to "seek holiness in evangelization and working with the poor through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary."

Fr. Do, a chemical engineering graduate of Adamson University, is on his ninth visit to the country since his ordination. He migrated to Canada with his parents and siblings in 1995. Fr. Do will be in town until Aug. 17. Thousands are calling to be touched by him and he's not turning down anyone. He has come with a purpose and it is for God. He sees everyone as brothers and sisters. No one is rich or poor in his eyes. Affliction does not spare anyone. It does not choose who is wealthy or not. The Lord welcomes everyone to His Church, regardless of race, education or social status. It is the same way that Fr. Do welcomes everyone to his devotion.

Monteclaro described Fr. Do's healing powers as unbelievable. "I was skeptical at first," said Monteclaro. "But after seeing what Fr. Do can do with my own eyes, I can attest to his powerful gift from God. Once, in San Jose del Monte, a boy barely 3 years old, was brought to Fr. Do. He had spaghetti legs, like they had no bones. Fr. Do prayed over him while I held the boy's legs. Suddenly, I felt the bones forming. My hairs stood up. I couldn't believe what was happening.

The boy got on his feet and started running. The people around Fr. Do began to cry."

There are more healing stories.

A few years ago, in Ottawa, Fr. Do was asked by a parishioner to visit a dying woman one night. For some reason, he couldn't go that night and when he came the next day with a nurse and a doctor, the woman had passed away eight hours before. As Fr. Do prayed over her, the dead woman opened her eyes. She came alive.

Fr. Do himself ran out to pray--he is sometimes frightened by the powers the Lord has given him. Today, the woman is an active parishioner, gives testimonials and leads Catholic pilgrimages.

Fr. Do recently prayed over the grandson of a wealthy Filipino-Chinese taipan. The grandson was born with a hole in his heart and his condition was considered critical. After praying over the boy, the hole disappeared-as medical tests later confirmed. Monteclaro said Fr. Do discovered his healing powers when he was 16, newly graduated from Botong high school in Batangas where he is from.

He wasn't a priest yet. Fr. Do saw a lame woman beggar near the Sta. Cruz Church and woman beggar near the Sta. Cruz Church and took pity on her. He asked her if they could pray together. They prayed an Our Father, a Hail Mary and a Glory Be then the beggar got up to walk. Fr. Do couldn't believe his own eyes and ran away.

Monteclaro said more and more believers are reaching out to Fr. Do. At the Mall of Asia last year, Fr. Do celebrated Mass with over 6,000 attending and conducted a healing service from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

"My wife Paz met Fr. Do in Jerusalem in April 2006 and invited him to stay with us at our home in Paranaque on his next visit," said Monteclaro. "I met him for the first time in July when he came. Now, I'm with him 24 hours a day when he visits. When I first met him, he told me things about me that even my mother doesn't know. I asked him how he knew those private things about me and he replied, did I tell you those things? He is blessed by God who heals through him. Fr. Do isn't attached to his gift from God. He told me he will continue to heal for as long as the Lord uses him as His instrument. He doesn't know why he was chosen. He is what the Lord wants him to be." Monteclaro recalled that once, he drove Fr. Do from the Manila Diamond Hotel on Roxas Boulevard to a church in Marilao.

"We left the hotel at about 3:30 p.m. and he was scheduled to celebrate Mass in Marilao at 4," said Monteclaro. "I knew we would be late but Fr. Do told me not to worry. He just told me to go straight and turn right and before I knew it, we were on the North Expressway. We made it in 28 minutes when it should've been at least over an hour's drive with all the traffic at rush hour. He doesn't drive and doesn't know Manila streets but he showed me the way to Marilao. It was like we were transported by angels."

Fr. Do's touch is magical. His power of healing is a gift from God.

He doesn't claim it as his own. It's not me," said Fr. Do, quoted in The Catholic Register. "I don't know how people get healed. But I know it's God. My spiritual director told me this gift is not for me, that I must share it with others. If they get healed, they need to praise the Lord."

Fr. Do has brought his healing ministry beyond Canadian and Philippine borders to various cities in the US, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Hong Kong and Macau.

The testimonials of the faithful whose lives have been touched by Fr. Do are too many to mention.

Fr. Jeff Shannon, director of vocations of the Companions of the Cross, said, "The effectiveness of his gift is the healing happens so quickly, sometimes instantly, sometimes in a short time after."

Monteclaro said he has seen with his own eyes, how Fr. Do has made the blind see, the deaf hear, the dumb speak and the lame walk.

On Monday and Tuesday, healing missions with Fr. Fernando Suarez of the order of the Companions of the Cross of Canada will be held at the St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Pontevedra, Negros Occ.

The missions will start with mass at 9 a.m. each day. The mass is the central point of the mission as Suarez discourages people from coming to him for healing outside of the context of the mass. He only prays with people after the celebration of a healing Mass as Suarez believes it is the real presence of Jesus in the eucharist who heals and He is only using his hands to do so.

The Pontevedra parish joins a lengthening list of places all over the world that have been visited by Suarez in his healing ministry. More than half a million sick people in the US, Philippines, Central America, Europe and other parts of Asia joined his missions last year all over the world.

Here are a few more healing stories.

A Filipina national artist was wheelchair-bound and could no longer paint. When she was touched by Fr. Do after a healing service, she got up and walked out of the Church, pushing her wheelchair with her hands. She is now back to painting masterpieces. A 10-year-old Filipino boy was born unable to speak. After Fr. Do touched him, he went back to his home, opened the refrigerator, took out a soda to drink and turned to his parents, saying, "Mommy, Daddy, this is yummy."

A Canadian woman with Stage Four pancreatic cancer was miraculously healed after Fr. Do prayed over her. She was scheduled for surgery but doctors cancelled it when her cancer disappeared completely without a medical explanation.

A Muslim kin of a Middle East country visited Fr. Do in Ottawa and asked to be healed of a chronic pain in his body. Fr. Do prayed over him and the pain was gone.

A popular Filipina movie star suffered from acute pain in her knees for seven years. She could hardly walk without feeling pins and needles in her joints. After Fr. Do prayed over her, the pain went away and she cried in praise of the Lord.

A well-known Manila restaurant owner suffered from severe arthritis and couldn't even sign checks. Fr. Do touched her and in an instant, she could move her fingers again.

An elderly Filipina was comatose for three days after suffering a stroke. Fr. Do visited her in the hospital, prayed over her and she woke up. In Capas, Tarlac, Fr. Do prayed over two blind women. One had been blind for 40 years and the other, over 20 years. They walked away with their eyesight restored.

A Filipina lost her hearing and had gone to several US doctors looking for a cure. Given up as a hopeless case, she went to Fr. Do who shouted in her ear, "Can you hear me?" Her eyes opened wide as she replied, "Yes, Fr. Do, I can hear you."

A celebrity dentist was stricken by thyroid cancer and lost her voice.

Fr. Do touched her throat, prayed and she began to speak. Later tests showed her cancer had disappeared. The dentist is now back to her practice. These are not just stories of faceless people. These are documented incidents of actual healing with real people whose names are known to Fr. Do and those who work with him.

What makes Fr. Do even more special is he doesn't only heal physically but also spiritually, bringing broken families together, guiding those who've gone astray back to the path of righteousness.

Archbishop Arguelles said in 1917--three years before Pope John Paul II was born, the Blessed Mother, in one of her apparitions to the three children of Fatima, beckoned Jacinta and showed her an image of the last Pope of the 20th century. That image was of the Polish Pope. So that in 1981 when an attempt was made on Pope John Paul II's life, he was protected by the Blessed Mother.

The Pope was shot twice by Turkish marksman Mehmet Ali Agca. The first bullet hit the midsection and the sharpshooter, anticipating the Pope to bend forward, fired again--this time, towards the head. But instead of falling forward, the Pope leaned backwards, causing the second bullet to hit a finger, not the head The Pope did something the marksman never expected. Because of a prior back injury caused by a skiing incident, Pope John Paul II bent backwards and with the Blessed Mother's protection, it saved his life topreserve the prophesy to Jacinta.

The assassination attempt was on May 13, 1981. It was on May 13, 1917, when the Blessed Mother first appeared to the three peasant children in Fatima. And May 13 is recognized by the Church as the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima.

As Pope John Paul II was destined, so is Fr. Do destined. We are fortunate that we are able to share in his blessings in our lifetime.

Those interested to know more about Fr. Do may check out his website - www.fatherfernando.com - or call the Monteclaros' home at Tel.

02-772-2190. The writer is a sports columnist of the Philippine Star and also a television sports journalist.

 
 
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