CFA Hosts US Medical Mission Team

MARCH 7TH 2014

CFA’s Director for Training and Catechetical Resources Fr. Ben Alforque, MSC welcomed the Global Solidarity Medical Mission (GSMM) team from St. George Parish, Fontana, California to CFA. The team was composed of 46 Filipino-Americans, Anglo-Hispanics, a Tongan whose roots are from the Asia-Pacific region. Among the group were ten doctors and fifteen nurses; the rest were non-medical volunteers.

The GSMM team came to the Philippines to help meet the health and medical needs of the victims of the earthquake in Bohol, of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Samar, and of the Mangyan communities in Mindoro. From February 9 to 20, the GSMM team, accompanied by Fr. Ben, visited the recipient localities, giving priority to areas in Bohol and Samar which were least served, underserved or not served at all.

When the medical mission was over, members of the GSMM Team were unanimous in saying that their experiences from the mission were priceless. To quote a few:

“I saw the face of Jesus everywhere. From the woman who came, hoping to get medications for her 96-year old father suffering from cough to the doctor who said ‘bring her in’ and who gave her the medications without actually seeing the patient. Reminded me of the woman who was cured by simply tugging at the hem of Jesus’ clothes, even without Jesus seeing her.”

“I saw the Face of Jesus on the faces and voices of the young adults, full of energy, vibrant with dreams, minds full of ideas, each wanting to break out and take root in fertile lands, to flower and bloom and spread out. On such sight, others (starting with me), stand in awe and wonder why I was not like them when I was younger, and how they are like themselves when they are still so young to have learned such wisdom.”

“I saw the Face of Jesus from the army of Pelaonons waiting for us at Parasanon, many even smaller than us, who carried all our luggage and were even willing to carry each of us to Pelaon, had it been necessary.”

GSMM is a program of St. George Parish, in Fontana, California, Diocese of San Bernardino, in partnership with the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON). Fr. Ben was NAFCON’s first president. NAFCON was initially formed in 2004. GSMM’s main activity is to conduct a yearly medical mission, the purpose of which is to discover or rediscover the Filipino roots of its members by exposing them to the Philippine culture, history, people and situations – especially the situations and aspirations of the poor and indigenous Filipinos. The yearly medical mission serves as an entry point for Fil-Ams to connect with their Filipino soul. GSMM seeks to know our people’s health situation, specifically: the kind of sickness and diseases afflicting them; the healthcare and medical system that they have attained; and most importantly, the state of our people’s initiatives to take care of themselves socially, economically, politically, culturally and medically. GSMM and NAFCON’s partners in the Philippines are the Council for Health and Development (CHD), Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), Community-Based Health Program (CHBP), Community Medicine (COMMED) and Botica sa Barangay.

CFA was very pleased to be given the chance to participate in the medical mission by hosting the team in terms of lodging and facilities. Fr. Ben conducted psycho-social interventions and spiritual counselling for the GSMM team members and patients in the areas visited.