In the 3rd quarter of 2003, I had a cancer scare that led me to undergo a major operation. I do not consider myself religious, but I try to live in the way that my faith teaches me how to live a good and generous life. I will also admit that during the time that I was battling thru my cancer scare, my faith has tremendously strengthened. By the time that the general anaesthesia was injected on me prior to the operation, I just let God lead the way. Fortunately, I woke up after the surgery (I was afraid I would never wake up) and the cancer scare turned benign. Since then, I consciously take care of my health, taking note of everything I feel weird (read: painful) inside my body and most importantly, I believe God gave me grace to continue on.
At the start of 2008, one of my aunts told us that a certain Filipino priest who heals people will be coming to Sydney, Australia for a series of healing masses. That was the first time that I heard of a Fr. Fernando Suarez, a healing priest from the Philippines so they call him. When my aunt asked if I would like to join them when they attend his healing mass, I immediately said yes. For some reason that I don't know, I initially felt a calling for me to be there even if I don't know who he really is...I didn't even check his profile online (it is a habit for me to check online before agreeing to anything).
But on a more substantial note, there are three main reasons why I wanted to be there: (1) Healing of my heart and of my loved ones' hearts, (2) Good health for me and my husband and (3) Good health of my family, relatives and friends.
A day before we attended Fr. Fernando's healing mass, I wrote a list of people I wanted to pray for--from family, relatives, friends, neighbors, workmates...and to my husband's amusement, even the friends I've only met online were part of the list I made.
On 14 August 2008, we attended his 7 o'clock healing mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Parramatta after work. We were lucky that my Tita Ma was at the church by 4 o'clock to reserve seats for us as there were several people arriving from work already. By the time we prayed the Holy Rosary at 6:15pm, the church was packed, even the aisles have been occupied.
The healing mass started just before 7:30pm. All eyes were on Fr. Fernando Suarez. I, myself, was in awe of his presence. He looked friendly and approachable but I sense some kind of "holiness" about him.
It was during his homily that I realized that he is "human". He started off by introducing himself, his background and how he came to be a priest. He also injected jokes throughout his homily and that helped in making all of us relaxed. Believe me, the feeling inside the church was so intense, everyone wanted to be healed.
He emphasized two things during his homily: (1) that he does not heal people, but Jesus is the one healing people and that God is only using him as an instrument and (2) that by attending the Eucharistic Celebration, we are all being healed.
The best part of the homily was when he asked us to put our hands on our forehead, close our eyes and bow our heads--it was then that he prayed his Prayer for Healing. That is one portion of the mass that I will never forget because I felt the Holy Spirit was within us at that time. After the homily, I already felt a certain lightness inside my heart.
After the healing mass, Fr. Fernando's healing session began. Everyone lined up just to be prayed over by Fr. Fernando. There were people who sat in wheelchairs who were able to walk again...there were people with pain in their body who left the church with no more pain. It was amazing.
While waiting for him to pray over us, I felt kinda scared seeing people lying on the floor after Fr. Fernando has touched them. According to Fr. Fernando, some people fall because of the grace of the Holy Spirit. I wanted to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, however, for some reason that I don't know until now, I was hesitant to see myself lie on the floor. When Fr. Fernando was nearly about to pray over us, I managed to tell my cousin who was beside me that "I don't want to fall."
The amazing thing that happened next was when it was our time to be prayed over, Fr. Fernando grab my and my husband's hands and led us to the middle of the altar and asked "Mag-asawa kayo?" (Are you married?"). We answered "Opo" ("Yes"). Then he said "Anong problema?" ("What's the problem?"), and so I told him "Eto po" ("Here") pointing to the part of my body where I got operated on. And so he placed his hands on both our heads, then prayed. Then he placed his hands on my abdomen then prayed again. And before we knew it, Chris and I were lying on the floor already. There were assigned catchers but what amazed me was that I didn't feel falling...when I opened my eyes I just realized my husband and I were lying on the floor. Then I realized, it was the grace Holy Spirit that made us fall and we just let our hearts, minds and souls go. The grace of the Holy Spirit was just so powerful and it chooses you. We were lucky to have been chosen (even if I was hesitant!).
It was the most miraculously thing that has ever happened to me. After what had happened, the part of my body where I got operated on felt as if I got operated on again...and that feeling lasted about an hour. At home, the pain was no longer there! I HAVE BEEN HEALED! Thanks be to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit!
I'm truly amazed with Fr. Fernando's healing power. I will probably always ask "How did he knew about our condition?" My only answer to that question was because the Holy Spirit was with him. He is truly gifted and we will forever be grateful to have been touched by his presence.
Other than physically feeling something, my heart has healed enormously. Attending Fr. Fernando's healing mass has given me and my husband renewed strength, faith, hope and love. We left the church happier and more at peace--we feel truly blessed!
For your understanding please:
It took great consideration whether I should share the story regarding my cancer scare, but in the purpose of sharing my experience during Fr. Fernandos' healing mass, I had to write about it even if it meant being a bit vague (I'm sorry but I'm not yet ready to disclose the exact details of my health history). I would greatly appreciate it if you could please focus on the miraculous experience we have encountered and not on my health condition.
Photos in this entry are the best photos we have of that night courtesy of a camphone. Of all days, we forgot to bring a proper camera. But I guess, I was just more focused on attending the mass and being healed that the only time I realized that we needed a camera was when I was inside the church!