BALTIMORE — A throng of worshippers, many lured by the promise of relief from their varied ailments and others curious to see a priest reputed to have a miraculous touch, filled every available space at the St. Anthony de Padua church, marking the start of the Filipino American community’s Lenten observance in Metro DC.
Fr. Fernando Suarez held three days of “healing masses” in Washington DC and Maryland, organized by the Virginia-based Migrant Heritage Commission. The masses culminated the healing sessions that easily drew over a thousand people from as far away as New Jersey in the north to Virginia Beach in the south. Fr. Suarez, 45, is renowned for his supposed healing powers (reportedly first manifested when he was 16 years old in Taal, Batangas). He was ordained as a priest in 2002 under the religious order of the Companions of the Cross in Ontario, Canada.