'Healing priest' visits the ValleyPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- He spends just a moment with each of the sick. A touch and prayer by Father Fernando Suarez that causes some to collapse on the floor before waking up, claiming to be cured.
Some share testimonials. People hard of hearing claiming to hear better; people with aches and pains claiming their pain has disappeared.
Father Suarez travels the world giving healing masses. He made a two-day stop in Phoenix, attracting hundreds to services in Mesa and Phoenix.
While not everyone experienced instantaneous results, Jase White did.
“I’ve been diagnosed with ALS,” said White.
He admits he’s a skeptic, but can’t explain what happened inside St. Augustine Church Friday night.
“He started touching my hands, touched my back, touched my stomach, my head, then he had me start walking,” explained White. “The more I walked, the lighter my body got. It felt like the weights that I've been carrying around seemed like they started to lift."
“If something is different for him, I believe in it 100%,” said Tina White.
Father Suarez told 3TV he doesn't need to defend himself or his ministry. He tells skeptics to come see the service for themselves.
“This gift is totally for others, what I’m doing is for them,” said Father Fernando Suarez. “I become an instrument of God."
But this type of healing is not without controversy. While the Catholic Church believes in miracles, not without a very high standard of proof.
“We think that people should be very careful about claiming that they have being miraculously cured of some sort of disease or injury should always consult professional, medical professionals to followup care and review their progress,” said John Brehany , Executive Director of the Catholic Medical Association.
The Phoenix Area Skeptics Society worries faith healing may discourage people from seeking medical attention.
“It’s easy for anyone to get swept up in an intense and emotional moment with a spiritual authority figure. But when examined under a microscope faith healing doesn’t measure up to science based medicine,” said Matt Londen.
However, Jase White says he’s willing to try anything, since there’s currently no cure for ALS.
“He did give me more hope,” said White. “It was weird. It was just weird. It's not explainable.”