Message to CHAI on the occasion of their 74th anniversary

Dear Fr. Dr. Mathew Abraham (Director General), Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On behalf of FIAMC (the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations), I would like to congratulate CHAI on the occasion of the 74th anniversary of its founding by Sr Dr Mary Glowrey. From its humble conception beginning with its’ providential mission to reach out to the poor and marginalized, inspired by visionary leaders like Fr. Dr. Mathews, CHAI has grown to become one of the biggest healthcare NGO in India if not the world. What is remarkable is that despite its phenomenal growth, CHAI is providing exceptional service to the poor by remaining faithful to its motto, “Love of Christ Compels Us”.

I am delighted to hear that the board has chosen the theme, “Resources – Identify, Synergize, Optimize” for this year’s National Health Convention. This is a continuum on a 5-year focus of “Action 2020: Repositioning for the Future” which was initiated in 2015.

For CHAI to remain relevant and to keep abreast of developments in today’s fast changing society, it cannot afford to rest on its laurels and must engage in periodic soul searching. We live in a world which focus primarily on individualism, relativism, and materialism, which threatens the fundamental structure of the family, the future of the family – and society itself – is at great risk of self-inflicted destruction.

The great Pope John Paul foretold the anti-life tsunami that threaten to engulf the world today in the Encyclical, Evangelium Vitae and challenged healthcare personnel who have a unique responsibility to be guardians and servants of life (E.V. 89). We, Catholic healthcare givers, as the spiritual heirs to Pope John Paul have inherited the grave responsibility to preserve the traditional teachings of the Church from attacks by anti-life and anti-family forces sometimes even from within the Church.

Catholic healthcare organizations like CHAI remains as one of the last bastion against the anti-life forces that St John Paul prophesied will afflict modern day society. It’s in living the social teachings of the Church rather than just vocalizing issues that CHAI has become a respected voice preaching the Gospel of Life in the midst of today’s moral turpitude.

In the spirit of your founder, Sr Mary Glowrey’s exemplary life, I invite you to ponder over the ideas expressed by the Holy Father Pope Francis in his very first encyclical, “Lumen Fidei” (The Light of Faith”). It is a celebration of Christian faith as the guiding light of a “successful and fruitful life”, inspiring social action as well as devotion to God, and illuminating “every aspect of human existence”. Notice the strong accent on joy as the driving force in evangelization. The “Joy of Service” burning in our heart compels us to share God’s love with others. There is an insistent appeal to give preferential attention to the poor, the destitute, the excluded, the “trash and leftovers” of the human (or inhuman) society.

Solidly rooted in charity, the Catholic healthcare worker continues Jesus’ own mission in caring for the weak and the sick. In our approach to the sick and the suffering, we as Catholic Healthcare givers should be guided by a precise and all-round view of the human person “created in the image of God and endowed with a God-given dignity and inalienable human rights” (Ecclesia in Asia, 33). As an organization which affirms the culture of life and the dignity of every human being, CHAI is dedicated to promoting the obligation to alleviate the suffering of those who are in need.

I would like to conclude by sharing a quote from Mother Teresa, “I am but a little pencil in God’s hand writing a love letter to the world”. What a beautiful philosophy to carry with us as we go about our daily life. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide each and every one of you not only in discerning the future direction for CHAI but also in your personal relationship with God.

Yours in Christ,
Dr John Lee
President FIAMC