A priest’s healing ministry in the Philippines that attracts thousands of people will continue to be monitored following two deaths at a crowded healing service, said a senior official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the Sun Star reports.
Father Fernando Suarez, a 41-year-old member of the Companions of the Cross, has been holding popular healing services in both the United States and the Philippines. He left the Philippines for Canada in 1995, and was ordained a priest in 2002.
ABS-CBN News reported two people died at a Saturday service held by Father Suarez in Olongapo City that attracted a crowd of 10,000. One of them suffered a heart attack from the press off the crowd and later died. In addition, several people collapsed from the intense heat.
Some blamed the deaths on the lack of security measures at the event.
The Philippines bishops’ conference Public Affairs head Bishop Deogracias Iniguez Jr. said the church would not stop people from attending the priest’s healing Masses. The bishop apparently acknowledged the authenticity of Father Suarez’s healing gifts.
"Few people are given the special gift of healing, and Father Suarez is one of them. But church officials are still observant," Bishop Iniguez said, according to the Sun Star.
Father Suarez began his Philippines “healing sessions” on January 11, at a Mass in Batangas City. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Archbishop of Manila.