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Filipino Healing Priest To Hold Masses in DC, MD

Fr. Fernando Suarez

Controversial “healing priest” Fernando Suarez will be in the region next month to hold special masses in Washington DC and Maryland.

Fr. Suarez, who is no stranger to Metro DC, has been credited with healing ailments ranging from cancer to cigarette addiction  alleged feats that raised concerns from the Catholic Church establishment in the Philippines.

Fr. Suarez is scheduled to hold masses at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament on Quesada St. NW, Washington DC on March 1; St. Michael the Archangel church in Silver Spring, Maryland on March 2; and the 7th Annual People’s Mass at the St. Anthony de Padua church in Baltimore, Maryland on March 3.

All these events are being organized by the Virginia-based Migrant Heritage Commission.

Fr. Suarez hasn’t made any personal claims of curing the sick, ascribing them instead to prayers and the devotion of people who have testified that they were healed by the 45-year-old priest from Taal, Batangas.

He has prayed over thousands of people in need of healing, according to a short biography written by longtime friend Fr. Jeff Shannon, “with much success for those with faith”.

Fr. Suarez, a chemical engineer by training, traveled to Canada in 1995 and there pursued the priesthood. He was ordained in 2002.

He resigned from the Ottawa, Canada-based Companions of the Cross last year following a spat with some church leaders but continued with his ministry. He has since joined the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose, Mindoro Occidental.

“He radiates the joy of the Lord to everyone he meets, and people flock to him as they sense his genuineness, holiness and his personal love for them,” Shannon wrote.

Fr. Suarez formally established the Mary Mother of the Poor Foundation in 2006 (although it’s been operating informally through contributions) and has since raised millions of pesos for the construction of homes and schools for impoverished Filipinos.

He has built a mission house for transient priests and seminarians, conducted seminars on livelihood opportunities and nutrition, and launched scholarships for underprivileged seminarians.

But his most ambitious project by far is building a 102-meter tall Marian image on a swath of land reputedly donated by a Filipino millionaire in Montemaria, Batangas. The statue, which will be taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York and that of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, will overlook the busy Verde Strait and Batangas Bay.

The entire project, including a cathedral, various chapels and retreat houses, will reportedly cost P8 billion. (RJJ)

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