To love and to serve: Our Lady of Wayside health outreach

Those who are inspired by Ignatian spirituality are aware that in all times, they are called to live a life of service, and that they are called to seek that which is for the greater Glory of God. 

For a group of health experts and volunteers from Our Lady of Wayside Parish, Mt Pleasant, leading a life of service includes providing health service to more than 80 patients at Christonbank clinic.

A group of 9 doctors, specialising in different medical areas, and several nurses volunteered to offer free service in an ecumenical healthcare programme. 

The programme affirms the Church’s role in ministering to the whole person and fostering collaboration to promote wellness and preventative health services to humanity.  

It is living the gospel, proclaiming God’s love and mercy through kindness, humility and servitude. 

Fr Ignatius Padya SJ the parish priest expressed gratitude to all the volunteers and encouraged the parishioners to continue supporting such initiatives.

“I would like to express my gratitude to our medical personnel of doctors and nurses from our parish who had their first outreach programme at Christonbank clinic. A total of 9 doctors with different specialities and nurses from our parish took over the clinic for a day offering free services to the people of Christonbank our outstation”.

, “As a Jesuit parish we are encouraged to do works of mercy especially aiming for service to the poor. St Ignatius of Loyola spoke of men and women for others. Thus is one way we are being that. I encourage the parish to support this initiative. They need our support especially to get medical supplies, ” Fr Padya SJ added. 

 “The ambition and the motivation behind this trip was in order to set up a ‘clinic’ that will provide free consultations and basic medical services to an isolated community for whom these most basic of services are a luxury”, said Jonathan Fernandez, a junior doctor.

A total of 85 patients were attended to, had routine screening, including dental screening where applicable, and were then seen by one of the doctors in attendance. 

The team in some cases also administered and dispensed prescribed medications at no cost. Most of the medication were donated by members of the parish. 

Though this was a humble beginning, it is the Parish’s hope that with God’s grace the clinic becomes a permanent feature in the community, providing free services at a regular interval and in time expanding the scope of services offered as well as building up the capacity of the existing local clinic structures. 

The parish has established a health desk which will help its parishioners with the necessary health information and sometimes with medication in the quest to ensure a healthy living for those economically disadvantaged. 

By Jabulani Shaba 

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