Fr Suarez' MonteMaria. San Miguel donation from heart, or pocket?
MANILA: Monday, 24 March 2014, we were blessed with the presence of Roman Catholic "healing priest" Fr Fernando Suarez late afternoon to evening at the covered court in Batong Malake, a village in Los Baños, Laguna. While we waited at the wings, a friend and I talked about the Mary Mother of the Poor (MMP) Foundation of Fr Suarez and the donation of 33 hectares in Cavite that now San Miguel wanted to get back, claiming that certain conditions had not been met by the MMP as agreed. In that case, my friend and I both agreed that, after all is said and done, it turns out that what San Miguel did was donate from the pocket, not from the heart. If so, we would not be surprised if what goes out of San Miguel's left pocket goes into his right pocket!
It certainly is biblical that you shouldn't let your left hand know what your right hand does. So, we were praying that millions of Roman Catholics in the Philippines will be praying that San Miguel changes his mind about un-donating those 33 hectares from MMP in the village of Amuyong in the town of Alfonso in the province of Cavite. After all, it could be San Miguel's legacy to generations to come; the board members of San Miguel will be remembered long after they're gone, for their magnificent charity. They will not be doing it for Fr Suarez or MonteMaria; they will be doing it for millions of Filipinos who are Catholics – and who happen to be consumers of San Miguel products. If business doesn't get in the way of religion, both will prosper. (By the way, I’m blogging this via the WiFi of the Calasiao Hotel, which is right across the Coca Cola plant in Calasiao, Pangasinan, and where we are staying for a farmer training consultancy in Malasiqui and San Fabian, also in Pangasinan. We are staying in the coop’s condotel, a bread & breakfast place, which is fantastic!)
When we give to others, whatever that is, great or small, it should always be for the love of God, not mammon. Out of the love for others, not ourselves. Neither expecting nor demanding something in return. If the mighty miracle of San Miguel's donation from the heart will happen, as we earnestly pray, it will be worth at least PhP 1 billion, or US$ 22,727,272 (at $ 1/PhP 44). It will not be to bless only San Miguel but to bless all Catholics not only in the Philippines but in the whole world. Charity in the millions is not to enrich a few of us but to enrich the millions.
Miracles do happen. And, not having to move again, Fr Suarez can continue smoothly in sharing his gift of healing in a mighty way. "This gift is not for me," he says. "I'm only an instrument of His power. It is for the people, for you."
Fr Suarez's gift is from the Holy Spirit, not simply from a holy heart.
At the village of Amuyong, the MMP have been laying the groundwork for building a complete Marian worship site called MonteMaria (Mary's Mountain). Ms Deedee Siytangco, a member of the MMP Board and speaking for Fr Suarez, said they had already spent some PhP 100 million to develop the roofed chapel, multipurpose area for the devotees, the Station of the Cross, parking space, and the rest of the facilities at MonteMaria. It is up to San Miguel now to develop his own charity.
In his homily during the healing mass at Batong Malake that I attended, Fr Suarez castigated, among others, those who were selfish. Madamot. He said:
Ang damot ay galing sa takot. Ang utos ng Diyos, nakapagpapalakas, nakapagpapalaya. (Selfishness comes from fear. The commandment of God strengthens, sets free.)
I'm praying that San Miguel learns to be unselfish, learns to be not afraid, and not only in taking business risks. Faith is a risk that you have to take; it is not given to you. San Miguel, if you have fears, prepare to shed them now!
Fr Suarez conducts healing missions only if and when invited. They will not be where they are not called. "We will not stay where we are not welcome," he says.
From what I have read in all those webpages, there is the insinuation that Fr Suarez has been mishandling the finances of MMP or his own foundation. "He is above all these," Deedee Siytangco says, speaking for Fr Suarez (9 March 2014, Tina G Santos, inquirer.net):
Father Suarez feels he doesn’t need to explain anything. He said he had forgiven all of his detractors and he would pray for them. For all these trials, he said he was privileged to have suffered with Jesus at this time when we are commemorating Lent.
Specifically about the funds of the MMP foundation, Deedee says:
Fr Suarez is above all these. He's not the foundation. We have a treasurer; we have audited statements. Funds are spent well. It’s just so sad that some people are trying to put down a priest who only wants to heal. There seems to be a concerted effort to have him defrocked, his ministry stopped.
We stand by him, the foundation stands behind him. We will continue his ministry, healing, livelihood, all the things that he does.
Deedee Siytangco says Fr Suarez stays for hours during healing sessions because he wants to touch everybody. I am listening to Boy Abunda interviewing Fr Suarez in "Private Conversations" and one of the questions he asks is that some people claim they have been healed even with only a wave from the healing priest. Fr Suarez says:
Sabi nila, "Father, kinawayan mo lang ako, na-heal na ako. Nginitian mo lang ako, na-heal na ako." (Father, you just waved at me, and I was healed. You just smiled at me, and I was healed.)
In that case, Abunda asks, "Are you pleased?" Fr Suarez says, "'Pleased' is not the word. Masaya ako." (I'm happy.) He is happy for them. Pleased would mean Fr Suarez considered the miracles the works of his own hands, not acknowledging that he is just the medium for the power to flow. In my very first sentence above, I wrote "healing priest" (note the quotes) because I wanted to create a doubt in your mind, to drive home a point, which I shall do now: Healing priest is misleading because it is not the priest who heals but God. Where are you, o men of little faith!
I estimated about 2,000 warm bodies in that healing mass that I attended. I don't know if they were all Catholics, but it doesn't matter. Catholic means universal – we Catholics welcome you, whoever you are.
In that healing session, after the mass, from my high seat – remember, where we were was an auditorium cum basketball court with its high-tiered concrete seats – I went down the steps and left the place after taking some photographs as Fr Suarez began to touch all those in the throng whom he had not touched (my image shows him helping a man get up from his wheelchair).
Why didn't I wait for Fr Suarez to touch me? Simple. I had already been touched.