Suarez was born on February 7, 1967 at Barrio Butong, Taal, Batangas, Philippines to a driver father and a seamstress mother. Being the eldest of 4 children (2 sisters and 1 brother), he graduated in public schools. At age 12 he earned a living by leasing inflatable boats at a beach to support his studies. Suarez earned a chemical engineering degree at the Adamson University, Manila.
In 1997, Suarez applied to many Orders until he found and joined the newly formed Companions of the Cross. Suarez was ordained a Catholic priest in 2002 at age 35. From 2002 to July 2003, Suarez served as the associate pastor of St. Timothy's parish in North York, Ontario. In 2011, Suarez left the Companions of the Cross and joined the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, Philippines, under the leadership of Bishop-Prelate Antonio Palang. Bishop Palang assigned Fr. Suarez to a very impoverished community of Elin (pronounced as Eling), located at the tip of Mindoro island, which is what Suarez wanted. The small parish is home to marginalized people of the faith that Fr. Suarez sees as the reason for his ministry.
Suarez has traveled throughout the world and by being God's instrument of healing, God has healed many people. He attributes all healing to Jesus Christ, "I am only an instrument. It is He who heals." He founded his Mary Mother of the Poor-Healing Ministry or Mary Mother of the Poor Foundation (MMP) - even before he became a priest. He is supported through donations from many countries.
On December 10, 2007, the Junior Chamber International Philippines presented Suarez with an award for his religious service.
Mary Mother of the Poor
Mary Mother of the Poor (MMP) foundation is a non-profit organization of Catholic religious and lay persons that was started informally by Father Suarez in 1996. He saved his own stipend to begin putting his vision of helping the poor children into reality. Since then, the foundation has been growing with the help of patrons and volunteers and is able to help numerous people in need. MMP is registered in Canada and is dedicated to help relieve poverty, coordinate health and social services, advance and teach Catholic tenets and help the youth develop their talents.
In 2004, MMP built and financed a classroom for students that were having class under a tree or other outdoor areas. They also built houses for two families that were affected by a typhoon.
In 2005, MMP constructed and financed a two-story home for ten families that were living under a roof supported by four bamboo pillars. They also extended a high school that was affected by landslide and was in need of a library and extra rooms.
In 2006, MMP built a mission house to provide housing for seminarians and visiting priests. The Mary Mother of the Poor Village was also constructed to build homes for thousands of families.
The projects of the Mary Mother of the Poor are continuously working on helping provide shelter for those in need.
Livelihood and Economic Projects
To further help the poor help themselves, MMP provides livelihood opportunities for them. This includes fish farming, handicrafts, and even a small power plant. They also provided seminars to teach people how to cook with more nutritious foods as well as creating products. This was held in Caloocan City.
Scholarship and Youth Evangelization
They are currently sponsoring one hundred twenty-three scholars (ranging from elementary to college) and six seminarians. Scholarships are offered in full term up to graduation, provided that the students stay in good academic standing. MMP also provides daycare.
MMP is currently feeding more than 3000 malnourished children from five different schools: Pulot Apaya, Pulot Itaas, De La Paz Itaas, Ilihan and Pagkilatan. They provide lunch five days a week given by volunteer teachers and parents, primarily financed through donations.
Oratory of the Blessed Virgin Mary at MonteMaria
Suarez has announced he will attempt to build a shrine to the Blessed Virgin at Montemaria, in Batangas City. It will consist of a rosary garden, Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic, Adoration, Divine Mercy, Infant Jesus, Saint Joseph and Saint Mary chapels, Scala Sancta, a columbarium, retreat houses, campsites, lodging houses, conference center, international center for the poor, and a replica of the House of the Virgin Mary. On January 7, 2007 the ground was broken at the site, accompanied by a tall statue of Mary. The statue itself will be thirty-three stories high, which is even taller than the Statue of Liberty upon completion. The entire project is being finalized and scheduled to begin in 2008. Contractors believe it could be done in two to four years. The statue is to be hand-made by sculptor Ed Castrillo, the Philippines’ most prolific builder of public monuments who celebrated his 40th year as a professional artist in 2006.
The world's tallest Marian statue would stand 110 meters, with 92.9 meters (or 204 feet) of that would consist of the statue of Mary. In his 2 hectare studio in Molino, Cavite, Castrillo said, the head, feet and hands are in cut-and-welded brass medium, while the body would be in stainless steel. The metal medium sculpture differed from Liberty, which is in soft concrete.
Father Suarez claims he discovered his gift of healing at the age of 16. He saw a crippled woman and upon feeling sorry for her, he sat and prayed with her. During the moments with her, he literally started to feel bones growing in her legs, and due to shock, he ran away. To this date, no one has found this woman. He tried to keep this a secret for as long as he could, and agreed to pray with the sick as long as they didn't tell anyone. However, upon being ordained a priest, it became more evident to him that the gift of healing was not only meant for him, but to be shared with other people as well. Since then he has been traveling around the world celebrating healing Mass and praying with the sick.
On January 11, 2008, Manila Cardinal Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales officiated the sacrifice of the Mass which started the 3-day, 40-hour vigil at Fr. Suarez' Batangas City Montemaria mega-shrine. Hundreds of devotees and the sick gathered.
Fr. Suarez had his radio program, "Healing Grace with Fr. Fernando Suarez", aired over Radyo Veritas every Sunday night.
On January 25, 2008, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), public affairs head and Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, Jr. stated that while they are happy for Suarez, they will remain "watchful" of his healing Masses and activities. "Few people are given the special gift of healing, and Fr. Suarez is one of them. But church officials are still observant," Iñiguez said in a statement posted on the CBCP Web site Thursday night.
On January 26, 2008, 2 died and 7 were rushed (due to exhaustion) to James Gordon Hospital, Olongapo City while waiting for Fr. Suarez' healing Mass. Juanito Eleazar, 69, died of a heart attack amid more than 15,000 worshippers having lined-up.
In Mexico, Pampanga, 39-year-old colon cancer-stricken Alberto Tapnio died while in a wheelchair (and thereafter blessed by Fr. Suarez during a healing Mass). Tapnio was DOA (dead on arrival) at a hospital but was revived by electric shocks. Upon notice of the resurrection, the crowd of 20,000 people started clapping, praying and shouting, but Alberto died 4 hours later.
- www.manilastandardtoday.com, Filipino contributions
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- Inquirer.net, No Lazarus: Man who came back to life dies
- Inquirer.net, Dead man comes back to life during Pampanga healing
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