04/11/2016, 11.22
PAKISTAN
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Faisalabad: A clinic for poor people, "monument of mercy"

by Kamran Chaudhry

The St. Dominic Dispensary was closed last August for lack of funds and much needed maintenance. The clinic cared for 12 thousand patients a month, completely free of charge. It was an "example of religious harmony because it welcomed both Christians and Muslims."

 

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - The diocese of Faisalabad, in Pakistan, hopes to reopen the St. Dominic medical dispensary in Khushpur soon.  Before it closed the clinic was visited by 12 thousand patients per month, most of whom were poor inhabitants of nearby villages, both Christian and Muslim. It was closed in August for lack of funds and much needed maintenance.

Msgr. Joseph Arshad, bishop of Faisalabad, tells AsiaNews: "I have asked Caritas Pakistan to provide financial assistance for the re-opening of the clinic, which was a great source of compassion. The Year of Mercy is a unique opportunity to visit poor and those in need of our attention. Through homilies, we are trying to awaken the passion for mercy and forgiveness".

The initiative of the diocese responds to Pope Francis’ call during the Divine Mercy prayer vigil for all the dioceses of the world to found a work of mercy. "How nice it would be - said the pope - that as a reminder, as a monument of this Year of Mercy there was a work of mercy in every diocese: a hospital, a nursing home, a school, many things can be done. It would be really good if every diocese leave a living reminder of this Year of Mercy ".

The goal of the Catholic Church in Faisalabad is to leave a "living memory" of the Jubilee. According to the diocesan website, Catholics run two hospitals and six dispensaries in Punjab. Even the St. Dominic Dispensary, the clinic in question, is still present on the list.  The clinic nstead was closed last August, after the Italian ambassador's replacement who had been the main sponsor.

The sisters, who ran the clinic, tell that the closure of the structure has caused many problems for residents. Sister Regina Youhanna, prioress of the Dominican convent of Khushpur, says: "We were offering free medicines to cure seasonal ills, for personal hygiene and pregnant women. The clinic was a living example of religious harmony, because we welcomed both Christians and Muslims. Now the sick have to travel to other cities".

Khushpur is a small village of 5,345 souls, most of the Catholic faith, which was founded in 1900. Hundreds of priests, nuns, catechists, social workers and even the deceased bishop of Faisalabad, Msgr. John Joseph, originate from the village.

Now, says the prioress, "we are forced to send one of our sisters, to a specialized infirmary in another city. The dispensary roof needs repair, but we are confident that the Lord will help us reopen the clinic".

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