By Prof. Bonifacio Escoda
"In the context of the administration of the Sacraments, all priests are healers. But some others are given by the Holy Spirit charism of healing for the purpose of building up church communities and strengthening the faith of the people," Rev. Fr. Rene Ruelos C.M., current parish priest of Saint Vincent de Paul Parish Church, explained.
The solemn ordination of priests makes them healers. Parish priests are called "cura párocos" (healer of the parish) in Spanish.
Father Fernando Suarez—now identified as the most popular local "healing priest"—undoubtedly is one of those in the contemporary times who were given such of unusual gift. (The term healing priest, which is actually another misnomer, was coined by a certain member of the Charismatic Movement in the 1980s.)
This Chemical Engineering graduate of Adamson University in 1988, who hails from a humble family in Barrio Botong, Taal, Batangas, noticed this gift of healing at the age of fifteen, almost two decades before he was ordained as priest. This was when an old lame woman he met outside Santa Cruz Church in Manila walked after praying one Glory, Hail Mary, and Our Father. But such experience scared him so much that he kept this to himself till his gift of healing became public in a parish in 2004 in Ottawa, Canada—following his ordination as member of the Companions of the Cross.
After his ordination, Father Suarez, upon his visit to his country in 2004, exposed him the great need of the poor and the sick. This led him to found the Mary of the Poor Foundation, worldwide charitable organization in order to provide food and send medical missions to the poor. Due to the miraculous cures that took place while praying over his countrymen, his Superior in Companions in the Cross (based in Canada) encouraged him to conduct his healing crusade. His popularity of being a great healer of souls and body in the Philippines started in the mid 2006. He first appeared in the TV mass as the main celebrant and homilist for a number of times of Channel 23's 9 a.m. Sunday TV held in SM Mega Mall. His fame as a healing priest spread out like wildfire placing Philippines, as well as Adamson University, in the literary map of the world.
He became the most wanted and most photographed Filipino prelate. His healing sessions lasted from four to six hours after the Holy Mass.
This former member and officer of the Children of Mary in the University who worked his way to college as "student assistant" in the Chem Lab presided his first time in a Holy Mass, a concelebrated mass, followed with a healing session in his Alma Mater in January 22, 2007. In his inspiring homily before faculty members, administrators,staffs, and students, he recalled some of his memorable days as student in this University, and asserted that he was always grateful and proud of this institution that, he with pride, would always mention that he is a Chemical Engineering graduate of Adamson University. Before he went away, he met the members of the Children of Mary where he gave them some inspirational messages.
He was chosen as one of the recipients of the 75 Outstanding Alumni of the University last February 9, 2007.
This exceptional Adamsonian, despite obtaining an international celebrity status for the gift of healing that the Holy Spirit has given him, has remained the way he was during his student days, a jovial person, unassuming, uninhibited, and treats his former mentors (who attend his healing sessions) with the respect. When stressing a point or delivering a joke in Filipino, he still has that Batangueño accent and acquired a bit of the American accent while using the English language in his homilies. (Some of his selected masses and healing sessions which have been instrumental in the healing of several individuals were made available through DVD and CD copies).
The great healer with his own kind of flair; delivers his touching homilies, often with his innate sense of humor, with love and authority despite being in front of television cameras. All his masses touch the hearts even of those who have been "allergic" to hearing homilies, going to church and those who belong to other religions. His talks and healing sessions renew or strengthen a person's faith in the Divine Providence. Even non-Catholics had flocked to the three-day pilgrimage at Montemaria, Batangas City.
This humble instrument of God always reminds the public that it is Jesus Christ who heals, and he is just His humble instrument. He is just being used by God to provide hope to the needy, to deepen the faith of the people to God and remind everyone that there is nothing impossible with God.
The healer's hectic schedule has left him with a little time for himself. During his healing sessions (which usually lasts for four to eight hours straight after the end of a Holy Mass) would only be interrupted for a few minutes in order to take a gulp of mineral water or a bite or banana. He will not leave a place till the last person who had lined up has been prayed over by him. No amount of feeling of exhaustion or unruly crowd would make him stop and just make a "general healing". He only does a general healing during the TV mass.
An accounted millions of people have been touched by his homilies and healing sessions.
Last December, this great Catholic prelate and arguably the most outstanding alumnus of this University, became one of the TOYM (Top Outstanding Young Men)awardees.
His mother, the former Ms. Azucena Mortel, incidentally one of those who had been miraculously healed by his long-distance prayers, received the award on behalf of his great son.
The Healer requests the Adamson community to keep on praying for him.