Thursday, February 14, 2008

RP's Global Healing Center

This is an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer about the Montemaria Healing Center.

Stage set for RP as global healing center

By Bernardo V. Lopez
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Last Christmas eve, the security guard at Montemaria in Batangas saw from afar a bright glow on the makeshift altar-stage.He thought the electricity had been installed. But then, he thought, why now in the middle of the night, on the eve of Christmas?

When he went out to check, the light was gone.

The guard sent a text message reporting the incident to Paz Monteclaro of the Mary Mother of the Poor Foundation (MMPF), which supports Fr. Fernando Suarez, the now famous healer of the blind, deaf, mute and lame.

Both Suarez and the MMPF wondered: Was this mysterious light, which came at the time of the birth of Jesus, perhaps an omen of His coming to this remote hillside?

Suarez and the foundation are feverishly preparing for a big event at Montemaria on Jan. 11-13, a vigil that Suarez has named “Healing the Nation by Prayer and Adoration”—deemed timely in this era of turmoil, economic decline and disasters.

They expect a huge crowd, perhaps the beginnings of the vision of a global healing center.

The logistics are extremely simple—a tent that can accommodate about 80 people when thousands are expected to come. Pilgrims will have to bring their own food and beddings, and sleep under the stars.

Suarez is praying for good weather. He says the tent is “biblical,” reminiscent of that used in the desert when the Jews wandered to the Holy Land from Egypt.

Before the Christmas Eve glow, there had been many strange omens at Montemaria—earth, wind, water, and now fire, the primordial elements of our planet.

First, the wind omen: During the groundbreaking and blessing of the altar-stage in January 2007, just as Suarez was beginning his homily, the calm was broken by a violent wind.

When others, including a bishop, spoke, everything became calm once more.

Second, the water omen: Just as Suarez began sprinkling holy water on the altar-stage, an eerie drizzle of fine raindrops descended on the 500-odd people attending the ceremony. It was as if the heavens were joining him in blessing the place.

Some of those present reported an odd, circular cloud hovering above them. There were many pictures taken. (I am still trying to get a copy.) Suarez himself said he saw a cloud in the form of a hand.

Third, and most spectacular, the earth omen: The stones taken from Montemaria by Fr. Nap Baltazar of the parish of St. Francis of Assisi were reported to have healed cancer and diabetes patients. (See Inquirer, Dec. 2, 2007, or search for “montemaria healing stones” at

Last Oct. 22, after news of the healing stones had spread like wildfire, Baltazar celebrated a healing Mass at Montemaria. Some 400 devotees were in attendance, and the same fine drizzle descended on them.

Baltazar, who had yet to meet Suarez then, said: “Montemaria is a sacred place of healing, just like Lourdes and Fatima.”

When the “rock priest” and the healing priest finally met on Dec. 19, they embraced like old friends.

Perhaps by divine inspiration, Suarez had envisioned Montemaria as a global healing center.

He did not even know that this might be a fulfillment of a Marian message at Medjugorje that the Philippines would become a global spiritual center one day.

Indeed, Montemaria may be a continuation of Medjugorje, if the many omens lead to a realization.

Montemaria’s global character is evident. Suarez reports that many people in Europe and America are asking about it.

Foreigners know more about Montemaria than Filipinos do because of the Internet (See and They are all anxious to go to Montemaria even when there is nothing there now except a makeshift altar-stage.

Big plans, designed by architect Nestor Mangio, are afoot at Montemaria.

Mangio met Suarez by “divine accident” in Ottawa, Canada, which is the base of the latter’s congregation, Companions of the Cross.

The architect instantly offered his services for free.

Mangio’s blueprint includes the first two edifices that will rise late this year—a residence for the ministry called the House of St. Joseph (to be donated by MMPF stalwarts Greg and Paz Monteclaro), and a prayer chapel called the House of Mary (a replica “down to the last brick” of an ancient shrine in Ephesus, Turkey).

The megashrine of Our Lady of the Poor (according to Suarez, to include the poor in spirit and not just the financially poor) will follow. The statue will stand 102 meters tall and will include a 40-meter pedestal and a complex of large rooms of several floors.

There will also be an oratory the size of a cathedral, and a dozen or so chapels scattered all over the 18-hectare complex.

The history of Marian apparitions through the centuries, from Fatima to Lourdes to Medjugorje, shows that they often occur before a cataclysm.

The apparitions at Fatima occurred before the bloody Spanish Civil War, at Lourdes before World War I, and at Medjugorje before the bloodbath of the Serbian wars.

It is as if the Lord is frantically reaching out to a sinful world through His mother, the last and only prophet of the New Testament.

The flood of healing is an omen, a warning for humanity to return to His fold.

This is the recurring theme throughout the Old and New Testaments about the relationship of humanity with God — sin and punishment, the return to His fold, forgiveness and reconciliation.

In his homilies, Suarez always cites the lack of prayer, the no-longer-having-time-for-the-Lord attitude, as the essential ingredients behind His disappointment (manifested in rampant terminal ailments such as cancer) and His joy when people return to His fold (manifested in rampant healing).

He uses Suarez’s touch as an instrument for these messages, which are as old as those in Genesis and Exodus.

Will Montemaria rise as a global event in fulfillment of the Lord’s healing message?