It is not uncommon when an actor finds himself imbibing a character’s tics after transforming himself or herself into a role. It is even more common when an actor finds himself becoming an admirer of a character he has played.
When John Arcilla was first offered the role of Father Suarez, he wanted to get to meet and get to know the man in his own words.
Enriching and insightful, the meeting introduced to the actor a simple man, who is sincere in his love for Christ and his devotion to the Catholic faith. John felt he found a friend. But alas, it was their first and last. Father Suarez would expire Feb. 4, 2020, three days before his 53rd birthday, while the priest was indulging in his favorite sport – tennis.
John, however, would not forget the man. At the press con for “Father Suarez, the Healing Priest,” he shared the lasting gift that Fr. Suarez gave him.
“I consider him as a friend. He’s going to be one of my guides. Habang nag shoot ako at sinasabi ko ang mga lines nya, nagiging close ako sa kanya kahit hindi ko siya kasama. I think that’s the magic. Isa yun sa mga gusting gsto ko sa ginagawa ko, yung na e experience mo ‘yung buhay ng ibang tao, somehow you are able to understand them, kung bakit mo nagawa ang isang bagay. Ang sarap, kahit glimpse lang ng buhay nila ang naranasan mo,” he said.
In hearing the man talk about faith, John’s wavering Catholic heart was renewed.
“Bumalik ang aking confidence sa Catholicism,” revealed John. “I still believe it has the most comprehensive doctrine, huwag sana naming magalit sa akin ang mga ibang sekta dahil totoo namang galing sa Katolisismo although sa Judaism din nag start. I still believe na pinaka comprehesive na organisasyon pagdating sa espiritwalismo ay ang Katolisismo.
At naniniwala akong sincere siya sa inakap na tungkulin para tulungan ang mundo sa peace and order. At siya ay patuloy na nag gro grow. Hindi pa siya kumpleto. Kasi kung ano ang nangyayari sa mundo nag aasimilate din sila. hindi sila righteous kasi righteousness itself is a sin in Catholicism. I think sa meeting ng elders at bishops pinag-uusapan din nila, sandali nagiging righteous na tayo, sandali nagiging political na tayo. I saw that in ‘Two Popes’,” he explained.
One of the most highly anticipated films in competition for the online edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival this holiday season is “Father Suarez, The Healing Priest.”
The film focuses on the life of Fernando Suarez, particularly the struggles and triumphs as a young man and when he became a priest, his compassion for the people’s welfare, trust and faith to God’s Divine plans and wisdom and the legacy of kindness, healing and love which was experienced by those whose lives were touched by God’s grace through him.
The biopic is directed by Joven Tan, written by Bernard Canabral and produced by Saranggola Media Productions.
John also wishes that people who are experiencing doubts about their faith be touched by the film and experience a spiritual renewal.
“People are getting anxious and sick – people are getting sad and losing hope. Majority are getting disoriented and some people are not even aware that they are. It is time to introspect and listen to the stillness in our core as humans. We can find God in our stillness in that center, in our core… and our faith can give us the answers where and how we should and can start from where we are now as people of the world – as humans – we should start healing each other’s anger, each other’s selfishness and greed. We are the highest form of God’s creation on Earth – we can speak and we can think of reasons. We can pray, choose and decide to make every one’s life an advantage to one another – we can heal each other from all our hatred and heartaches – we just need to choose faith as our guidance and strength if were about to lose it. That’s what makes us above among the beings. This film will remind us of all these that is why people must embrace, support and watch it.”
Dante Rivero, Troy Montero, Mario Mortel, Alice Dixon, Rosanna Roces, Jairus Aquino, Rita Avila, Richard Quan, and Miss Gina Pareno are also part of the film. Jin Macapagal plays the young Fr. Suarez.
“Fr. Suarez: The Healing Priest” is available for viewing on Upstream.ph starting December 25.