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‘Healing’ priest returning to RP this month

May 7, 2008 9:28am
MANILA, Philippines - Fr. Fernando Suarez, the Canada-based Filipino healing priest who drew huge crowds when he last visited the Philippines, will come to the country for a series of healing Masses this month.

Sr. Gemma Ria dela Cruz, a production program manager of Church-run Radio Veritas' "Kapanalig" program, said Suarez will celebrate a healing Mass for listeners in July.

In an article posted on the CBCP website Wednesday morning, Dela Cruz said they will work out details of the healing Mass once Suarez, 40, arrives in the country.

But the CBCP admitted not all members of the Catholic Church welcome Suarez's healing ministry, with some priests remaining critical of him.

The CBCP cited an essay by Fr. Virgilio Ojoy O.P., professor at the University of Santo Tomas Ecclesiastical Faculties, who said Suarez's work has been "sensationalized."

"The seriously sick and even the dying add insult to their injury by waiting for long hours sometimes under the cruelest conditions just to be touched by him. It is in this sense that the faithful need to be educated," Ojoy wrote in his essay titled "To Heal or Not to Heal: What is the Answer?"

On the other hand, the CBCP said it has yet to make a stand on Suarez's alleged "gift" to cure illnesses.

"The Church recognizes that there are gifted individuals who have received special charisms. The Church also suggests that healing is also possible through the prayers of any priest or bishop," it said.

Batangas-born Suarez was a graduate of Chemical Engineering in Adamson University before he went to Canada, where he decided to pursue his vocation in 1995.

In 1997, he joined the religious community, Companions of the Cross. Five years later, he was ordained a priest.

He also founded the Mary Mother of the Poor Foundation, which now supports thousands of poor Filipinos through scholarships, feeding programs, medical missions, and housing projects. - GMANews.TV
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