Renowned priest attracts 600 in Summerville church
THE GAZETTE Stefan Rogenmoser
March 8th, 2012
Tears streamed down shaken faces as bodies trembled and fell into the arms of waiting catchers bearing witness to the healing powers of Father Fernando Suarez last week in Summerville and Goose Creek.
The Feb. 27 healing mass drew 600 faithful to the sanctuary of St. Theresa “The Little Flower” Catholic Church at 11001 Dorchester Road in Summerville.
The next night more than 1,500 showed up for the same type of healing at Goose Creek’s Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. St. Theresa worked out a schedule with Immaculate Conception so Saurez could stop by both places.
After mass Suarez began healing people by touching them. Many fell flat on their backs at the touch but were caught by catchers – volunteers wearing red shirts – to soften the fall. Some cried and hyperventilated as others appeared to be knocked out lying flat on the floor for about two minutes before being helped up.
According to Suarez, he is not the one doing the healing, but God is; God is just using him as an instrument, he said. St. Theresa Deacon Shane Graham said a number of people at the church were healed and gave testimony. “We had a little (pre-teenage) girl who had a tumor on her back,” Graham said. “It disappeared. It was gone completely . . . She was crying. I don’t blame her because it was gone.
“One had a fused neck. He couldn’t move his neck. After the healing he could move his head around 180 degrees no problem. “People with hearing problems were healed. They could hear out of one ear and not both.” Graham said there is one parishioner whom he’s never seen walk. She got out of her wheelchair and walked.
“She was flabbergasted. She was crying. People were being cured of stuff that had been wrong with them for years.
“I’ve seen similar things happen like that at other churches. People want so much to be healed from their infirmities. It is just unbelievable the faith that comes out of them.”
Graham said Suarez was people oriented, praised God for his gift and had a good sense of humor.
“He was miraculous. He was a young priest. He was well liked by everyone.”
Graham said people fall because they are in the spirit. He’s seen similar healings before and nobody gets hurt. One woman at a previous healing was standing in the back by herself, fell over like an oak tree and when she hit her head on the floor it echoed throughout the church. But when she stood up she was not hurt, Graham said. “I’ve had people that just had back surgery a month before and fall in the spirit and come up fine,” Graham said. “Our God cannot say no to those who are humble,” Suarez said during his homily. “God will provide everything because you have the power.”
He said he never thought he’d see with his own eyes his ability to make the blind see and the deaf hear. The United States is a first-world country yet there are so many sad, angry, grumpy and frightened people, Suarez said. “I’m wondering, why? You have cars, food, clothes . . . so much that you’re confused when you open your closet, confused when you open your pantry. Still, there’s this emptiness.
“People are angry because they do not appreciate what they have. People do not appreciate their blessings from God. Can we forget ourselves?”
He cited the “Prayer of St. Francis” as stating it’s better and more blessed to give than receive. He said if you can forget yourself, joy is easy.
“Since God allows us to call him father, he wants us to be happy,” Suarez said. “Because we are privileged we have no reason not to be grateful.”
Suarez said he visited a monk in Mepkin Abbey outside Moncks Corner who said his cousin in New Jersey attended a Suarez mass with a terrible pain. The monk said Suarez looked at his cousin and smiled and she was better.
“Healing is not only for physical healing,” he told last week’s audience. “Most of you are here because you need spiritual and emotional healing. Being reminded of the presence of the Lord is to be healed.”
“If Father Suarez ever comes back to this area or an adjoining state I will definitely be there,” Graham said. “As long as he is within 8 hours I’d probably go. “I’m just amazed at this young priest who was ordained in 2002 can have the spirituality that he has and the love that he has for God’s people. “I wish that anybody that has the chance to go see him will do so. It took four years for him to come here. Anytime that people can get a chance to go to healing service they must go if they have the faith. You don’t have to be Catholic. This was open to anyone who wanted to come.
“It’s worth every minute that you spend there.”