Sick and injured travel by thousands to CSU to receive free services of esteemed faith healer
CLEVELAND – Page Snyder’s fourth birthday is in July.
The little girl from Lakewood has a cute smile, and she flashes it briefly as her mother, Michelle, holds her.
Just before Dr. Issam Nemeh places his hands on the child, he closes his eyes and begins to speak softly. Page’s father, Dave, watches closely.
Two young women, alternating verses and speaking into microphones, repeat the same prayer in the background:
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
As the women continue to recite the lines Sunday at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center, Nemeh releases Page. Michelle Snyder moves forward, and another in a line of people — children and adults, male and female — takes her place, all seeking one thing: to be healed — no matter the illness or injury — by touch.
Page Snyder has leukemia; she was diagnosed in December. Her hair is falling out because of her treatment.
While the Snyders are using standard methods of medicine, Dave Snyder said any possibility will be tried that might bring relief or provide a cure for his daughter.
“Any parent would understand that you do anything and everything for your child,” he said. “There is nothing you won’t try, nothing you won’t believe will work. You do anything for the child.”
Nemeh, of Bay Village, is an acupuncturist who works in Rocky River.
He has been offering faith healing services in the Cleveland area for years, and he does not charge those who seek him out. No money was requested on Sunday, no donations solicited. No claims of immediate satisfaction were made, either.
In fact, Cleveland businessman Sam Lucarelli rented out the 18,000-seat center out of gratitude for Nemeh’s work with Lucarelli’s wife. About 3,000 people were in the center in the early afternoon, with more expected to visit into the early evening.
Nemeh, who typically does not grant interviews, according to one of his staff members, is a stocky man, slightly balding, with a moustache and graying hair.
He was clad in black as he greeted people on Sunday — some in wheelchairs, some with canes, nearly all surrounded by family members or supporters.
Nemeh has a Web site, www.drnemeh.com, which lists various testimonials and sites of upcoming Masses. He is reportedly considering a visit to Canton in June, although no firm date has been set.
The Rev. Mark Brown of North Canton brought his wife, mother-in-law and nephew to the service.
He said that while the average person might view faith healing from just the physical aspect — “I think they come expecting to be whole,” he said — Brown explained there are three kinds of healing: spiritual, physical and mental.
Nemeh doesn’t have to heal people’s physical ailments for a visit to be worthwhile, Brown said.
“He’s not promising miracles, though obviously, people still want to believe that it can happen,” Brown said. “That’s why you come, if you have faith. One would hope that, in that belief, that they might heal, if not immediately, then over the course of time.
“Healing — it’s about God’s will. There’s no way to tell how it will work, either in this life or when you pass on. But you have to bring your own faith to begin with,” Brown said.