After completing training in philosophy and theology, Suarez was ordained as a priest at 39.
He recalled that he only slept for three hours each night. “I completed my second year in theology simultaneously with my police promotion course.”
Suarez realized that his mission after his ordination was to transform the hearts of policemen.
He was willing to volunteer for patrol shifts between midnight and 6 a.m. He had long conversations while on patrol with the men he was assigned to; sometimes he would listen to their confessions or invite them all to pray the Rosary together.
He recalls a conversation with a colleague: “Two Days later, he was murdered in a terrorist attack. We buried him.”
He said, “I have witnessed so many comrades become victim of violence, who were kidnapped…were kept in the most miserable living conditions,”
Suarez, a priest also ministers to the grieving families of his coworkers who have been abducted or killed.
Suarez stated that priests can be fully members of the police force in Colombia, Chile, and other South American countries like Venezuela. He says that being a priest and a policeman is “absolutely compatible”.
What is the priest’s mission? Serve God first and then serve your fellow man. What is the purpose of the police? He stated, “To save lives and to defend life.”
Suarez answered a question about violence and said that he had used violence when his life was in danger. But fortunately, he didn’t have to kill anyone.
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He also spent a lot of his time serving police officers and prisoners.
“There is barbaric overcrowding in the detention rooms.” He said that 150 prisoners were in places where they could not lie down or sleep. I bring them clean clothes. Many of them are extremely poor.
He also offers Masses to detainees and listens to confessions. Suarez paid bail in some cases, which frustrated his police colleagues.
Suarez stated that corruption in the police force is a serious problem, and that is why he believes good police training is so important.
Suarez (now 61 years of age) was sent to Rome for the past year to work to improve relations between the Colombian and Italian police forces through a joint training program. He also had the chance to meet Pope Francis.