Pope Francis' Year of Mercy has inspired a bishop in India to donate one of his kidneys to a seriously ill 31-year-old Hindu man. Auxiliary Bishop Jacob Muricken of Pala underwent surgery to have his kidney removed at Lakeshore Hospital in the southern Indian state of Kerala, June 1. The kidney was transplanted to E. Sooraj, a married man, who was diagnosed with serious renal problems 18 months ago. "He could not afford his treatment as he was the lone bread winner for his family," said 53-year-old Bishop Muricken. The bishop said the pope's worldwide message for Catholics to show acts of mercy prompted his decision.
"This is the Year of Mercy
, which asks us to show compassion to our fellow human beings. If we can't wipe out the tears of others, how can God wipe out our tears?" Bishop Muricken explained. The bishop said he came to know of Sooraj's situation through Father Davis Chiramel, who heads the Kidney Federation of India that campaigns for organ donations and works as a link between donors and recipients. Father Chiramel attracted media attention seven years ago when he donated one of his kidneys to an ill Hindu person in his parish. The priest later began a campaign
to encourage kidney donations. The bishop said Father Chiramel's action and his sharing about the experience at a retreat touched his heart. "I also decided that I should donate one of my kidneys to a poor man four years ago. Now [in this special year] I've had the opportunity to do just that," said Bishop Muricken. Father Chiramel said as far he is aware, this is the first time a bishop has donated one of his kidneys. "His decision will certainly motivate many others to become organ donors," said Father Chiramel. Pope Francis' Year of Mercy
is being observed from December 2015 to November 2016.
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