Pope Francis to Fr. Suarez: Continue healing

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2015 09:37 PM | Updated as of Jan 12 2015 06:48 AM

MANILA -- Healing priest Fr. Fernando Suarez may have gotten a lot of criticism from fellow priests but has found an ally in Pope Francis.

Suarez, who established the Mary Mother of the Poor Healing Ministry, concelebrated mass with Pope Francis at the Sta. Marta Chapel in Vatican early last year. There, the two even exchanged skull caps.

In an interview with ABS-CBN’s "The Bottomline with Boy Abunda," Suarez said Pope Francis knew he was a healing priest and had even told him to “continue your mission.”

“I said, thank you,” Suarez said.

Suarez described Pope Francis as “taong-tao [human],” yet “he is a man of God. Feel na feel mo na mahal ka, hindi ka jina-judge.”

He said a retreat house in Oslob, Cebu for wounded priests given to his ministry has been named after the pope: Pope Francis House of Spirituality.

Suarez has always drawn crowds to his healing masses, but has also earned the ire of other priests, bishops, and others from different sectors.

In Canada, where he became a seminarian, a woman declared dead supposedly opened her eyes after Suarez prayed over her.

The healing priest would later resume his work in the US, Europe, and the Philippines after “a letter from the cardinal [in Canada] said I was behaving like a chaplain, a position that I should not embrace.”

Suarez, however, said it was a blessing of sorts since he was able to continue his mission. He said he would have been stuck in Canada forever.

In the Philippines, however, Suarez continued to gain criticism. Several bishops then, including Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, had banned Suarez from holding healing masses in the province. Cruz also criticized his style, noting only Jesus can do miracles such as raising people from the dead.

“I respect his opinion,” said Suarez.

He said there have been misunderstandings with other bishops, but noted the main issue was only turf-related.

He said some bishops allow him to freely do healing masses in their dioceses, while others like Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle only allow him to do so if he asks for permission.

“Kung pepersonalin ko lahat ng ayaw sa akin, baka ma-paralyze ako. Maging bitter ako,” he said.

He said his mission to heal is from God. Sometimes, however, he gets hurt when people criticize him for “hinihipo ang suso [touching the breasts of some].”

“In this kind of ministry, we are prone to judgment and accusations. Pero alam ng Diyos ang ginagawa ko. Malinis ang konsensya ko,” he said.

He said his encounter with a diverse group of people – whether rich or poor – has allowed him to understand their different situations.