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    » 09/22/2009, 00.00

    INDIA

    Catholic priest donates kidney to save Hindu man

    Nirmala Carvalho

    In Kerala, Father Chiramel offers one of his kidneys to an unknown recipient. The priest said he was inspired by the ‘Year for Priest’. “For me donating an organ is a unique and privileged opportunity to share in Christ’s suffering.”

    New Delhi (AsiaNews) – Fr Davis Chiramel, a 49-year-old Catholic priest from Kerala, donated one of his kidneys to a complete stranger. The clergyman is parish priest at St Francis Xavier Church in Vadanapally (Kerala). Earlier this year he decided to help a Hindu father of two, a complete stranger who was suffering from renal failure. 

    Father Chiramel is also the general secretary of the Accident Care and Transport Services (ACTS) in Thrissur. On 15 February, volunteers in the organisation were at his church. They talked about a Hindu man named Gopinath who had suffered renal failure. Because of that, he was being  forced to go to the Jubilee Mission Hospital in Thrissur every three days for dialysis treatment. He needed a transplant but the volunteers did not know how to go about getting one, suggesting that it might cost a million rupees (US$ 21,000), but above all wondering how they could find a donor. In India, there is one donor per million.

    When Father Chiramel heard the ACTS volunteers discuss the matter, he rebuked them because “I realised they were talking about finding someone from whom to buy a kidney.”

    In India as in Pakistan and Nepal, organ trafficking, especially in kidneys, is big business. Indian authorities are hard pressed to stop such commerce that sees the poor sell their organs for little money whilst rich but sick people unscrupulously pay a lot to improve their health.

    Given the situation, Father Chiramel decided to donate the organ himself. Hospital tests followed to determine computability; administrative steps began to get the necessary authorisation.

    The clergyman told AsiaNews that for him “donating a kidney was a blessing, which began in February. However, I only realised what I was doing on 19 June. On that day the Pope opened the ‘Year for Priests’ and I was in the hospital for the necessary tests for the transplant. Everything happened in an instant. I realised that I had been blessed with the possibility of offering my body to save a man.”

    Father Chiramel uses words like “joy”, “gift” and “treasure” to describe what happened to him. “Christ is the source and origin of every good action; it is He who gives the strength and courage to act,” the priest said. “I never thought I could donate my kidney, even less to a total stranger.”

    Gopinath and Father Chiramel will meet for the first time on 30 September, when the transplant will be performed at the Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi. For the clergyman, this will be the fulfillment of something that “changed my life.”

    “Christ gives of himself every day for the world’s salvation. In the Mass, priests offer the sacrifice of His body and His blood, but they do it without sharing in our Lord’s pain and suffering,” Father Chiramel said. “For me the possibility of donating an organ to someone I did not know is a unique and privileged opportunity to share in Christ’s suffering.”

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    See also

    08/04/2009 SOUTH KOREA
    Korean Church marks 50 days since death of Cardinal Kim
    A solemn Mass has been celebrated for the conclusion of this period of commemoration. A Catholic TV station stresses the great increase in organ donations for transplant, following the example of Cardinal Kim.

    07/11/2008 VATICAN
    The “ethic of giving”, not market principles or abuses should rule organ transplants, says Pope
    Respect for people should come first. Organ trafficking is an “abomination” and so is the idea that embryos can be treated as “therapeutic material”. Organs ought to be removed only from deceased donors, allaying all suspicions of arbitrariness in the process.

    03/04/2013 INDIA
    Fr Thomas's martyrdom spurs us to dedicate our lives to Jesus, Card Gracias said
    The rector of a Bangalore seminary who was killed overnight on Easter will be buried in his native village on Saturday. The authors of the crime remain unknown. For the president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), "his death proclaims the death and the resurrection of our Lord."

    03/07/2006 TURKEY
    Stabbed priest had been threatened, intimidated

    Even his church had been vandalised. Within a few weeks, he was to complete his mission and return to France. Christians are worried about the escalation of violence.



    03/06/2010 VATICAN
    Priests are “tied” to the Eucharist, Pope says
    The killing of Mgr Padovese saddens Benedict XVI’s Corpus Domini. Bad weather prevents the ceremony from taking place in Saint John Lateran Square and the traditional procession from going to Saint Mary Major Basilica. Jesus does not follow in the footsteps of ancient priests, but rather in those of the prophets. He “distanced himself from a ritual conception of religion, criticizing the approach that gave value to human precepts tied to ritual purity rather than observing the commandments of God, that is, to that love for God and neighbour”.



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