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WHEN DIALOGUE MEANS COMPANIONSHIP

by Anonymous last modified Nov 13, 2019 04:59 AM

Aisha, a two-year-old Muslim girl, arrived at the Catholic Clinic in Badin one Friday morning. She was admitted to the clinic for tuberculosis treatment. On another occasion, 71-year old Mansingh arrived at the clinic in scorching hot weather with his grandson.

WHEN DIALOGUE MEANS COMPANIONSHIP

by Jerry Lohera

 

Jerry is from La Victoria, Kauswagan, Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental. He joined the Columban seminary formation in June 2012 and left for Pakistan in July 2017 for a two-year First Mission Assignment (FMA).

 

      Aisha, a two-year-old Muslim girl, arrived at the Catholic Clinic in Badin one Friday morning. She was admitted to the  clinic for tuberculosis treatment. On another occasion, 71-year old Mansingh arrived at the clinic in scorching hot weather with his grandson. He came to get his medicine for the continued TB treatment. He was told to wait outside until his name was called, but the next time we found him, he had passed away.

     People  of all ages come to the clinic every Friday. They either come for a doctor as an out-patient or to get their medicine for the on-going 6-month treatment for the endemic tuberculosis. They usually hailed from far-flung villages. Along with two staff from the clinic, I had the privilege to visit the patients in their houses for follow-ups. A lot of them live as farm workers of the land lords. The water they use and drink is from the hand pumps, which is notoriously known to have a high level of chemical content. For years, they have been drinking this water without knowing the threat it poses to their health.

     Untreated illnesses lead to many deaths in Pakistan and according to the reports, 80% of illnesses can be traced back to the water people drink. This could have been minimized if the government has a genuine concern for them. Sometimes, meeting sickly people makes me want to pursue medicine. But I also know that I don’t have to be a doctor to be a healer.

     In pastoral ministry, our presence and our listening heart alone can be profoundly healing. We should take our step one at a time and acknowledge our limitedness with great faith in God who is way bigger than we imagine. We cast our sighs, hopes and courage on to God so that we will not be helpless when faced with the enormity of the poverty of the people and the unimaginable intolerance of religion. In pastoral ministry, we are invited to be true companions to the sick, the poor and the marginalized; to empathize in their struggles, joys and hopes, regardless of their creed.

 pakistan

 Columban Missionaries in Pakistan. Jerry is seated at the rightmost side.

 

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