Who doesn’t know Father Suarez, the Healing Priest? I’ve heard many, many things about him but I’ve never had the chance to attend any of his healing masses. Truth be told, the thought of going to SM Megamall along with throngs of people, to wait and fall in line, wasn’t something I was too keen on doing.
I think it was all part of a divine plan that I got to see him and attend a healing mass he officiated yesterday, December 7. My survivor friends and I have wanting to get together for lunch or dinner — anything! We originally wanted to meet up on a Friday, but last Friday was not a good time. Most of us were free on Saturday. So the lunch was scheduled.
And then after everyone confirmed their availability, someone from the group, my now good friend Dr Gia Sison, said there was going to be a healing mass by Fr. Suarez on the same day in Saint Pedro Poveda. It was going to be nothing like his usual healing masses because it was put together by this small community of Povedans called HELPING HERMANAS. My now very good friend and fellow survivor, Gia is part of that group. Hence, the invitation for the rest of us to attend the mass.
And so after a super heavy lunch, coffee and dessert we went to nearby Poveda for the mass. The small chapel was soon filled with people, but not too many. In fact, the number of people probably didn’t exceed 100. That’s how intimate it was. I saw a few familiar faces but mostly, the attendees were alumnae, their family and friends.
We arrived at the chapel early and were introduced to Doc Gia’s friends and schoolmates. All three of us waited in nervous anticipation for Father Suarez’s arrival and when he finally came, we became even more nervous. Excited, too but for me at least, the predominant feeling was the former. Beside me, Chinky began to cry! When the choir (of male lawyers, mind you!) began to sing LEAD ME LORD, and Father Suarez made his way towards the altar, I totally lost it as well. There was this feeling, I still can’t describe it. But the fact that the mass was starting and here we were, minutes away from a Father Suarez healing session, overwhelmed me. The closest way to describe it would probably be that … it felt so much like God being within arm’s reach. My heart, though not pounding heavily, was filled with this indescribable feeling of contentment.
Father Suarez delivered a beautiful homily. His message : Helping others is good. But the real way – the Christian way – is to help others you don’t know, the ones who won’t be able to say “thank you”, people you don’t care about or love, people you’ve never met. THAT is the real essence of helping.
After the mass, people were asked to stand up in front in a single line, as Father Suarez carefully stood in front of each of us to lay his healing hand. Chinky, Doc Gia and I were beside one another. When Father Suarez walked up to me, his first question was, “Ano’ng sakit mo?” Chinky and I replied and after that he immediately placed each of his hands on our chests. My eyes were closed and my mind was all over the place. Chinky (in the car, after everything) told me that Father Suarez held my left hand and placed it on his chest, but I don’t remember this happening at all.
We were one of the first to be touched. Although the Poveda chapel was small, it seemed to me like every person who attended the mass wanted to be touched by Father Suarez, so it took a while for the session to end. And when it did, the three of us couldn’t help but notice how weak and disoriented Father Suarez looked. After he touched the last person, he simply said, “I have to go now…” and walked arm in arm with two of his assistants. He was so drained. Later on, we were told that he didn’t accept the stipend that the group had prepared to give him, but instead asked to them to donate the money.
I know that I’ll remember this experience for a very, very long time. It was my first and there are many things I still can’t explain about what happened, how I felt or why I felt the way I did. Everything just still feels so surreal!
Maybe one of these days it will come to me and I’ll be able to reconcile everything. But for now, I am just so thankful that Doc Gia asked Chinky and I to go as her guests and that the date conveniently fell on the same day that we scheduled our mini get-together.
Divine? Yes, I believe everything is part of a divine plan. As another friend, Alya H. (who was also there!) says : ” … everything good that happens to us is a gift.”
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Your healing hand. For working through Father Suarez to bless your ailing, humble servants. I pray that those who were there who had bigger concerns than mine, were touched by You and will experience the miracle they’ve been praying to receive.