India hospital offers cleft lip, palate surgeries thanks to diocesan donations

ALLOUEZ — Missionaries from around the world make special visits to parishes around the Diocese of Green Bay every year. These missionaries are part of the Missionary Cooperative Plan (MCP) created by the Diocese of Green Bay, and the visits help them raise funds for their ministries.

Dr. Geetha Veruva visits a young patient at the GSR Hospital in Hyderabad, India. Through donations from the Diocese of Green Bay, the child and other children received surgery for cleft palate or cleft lip. In the top right is a photo following surgery. (Submitted Photo | For The Compass)

After giving Mass-goers a description of their mission activities, parishes take up a collection and the diocese forwards donations to the MCP participants. Most parishioners, however, never see how their funds are used.

But last week, one of last year’s MCP participants sent a note of thanks to Cindy St. Aubin, World Mission director for the diocese. Dr. Geetha Yeruva and her husband, Tom Chitta, founders of the Foundation for Children in Need based in India, also sent photos showing how the funds support surgeries for children with cleft lips and palates at GSR Hospital in Hyderabad, India.

Chitta also distributed over 8,000 notebooks, purchased with the MCP donations, to numerous Catholic schools in India.

The couple visited the diocese in May 2019 and spoke to parishes in Brussels, Casco and Lincoln/Rosiere.

“They started the Foundation for Children in Need in 2002,” said St. Aubin. “They live six months in the United States and six months in India. Besides medical care, they support health education and developing women’s work skills for economic independence.”

According to St. Aubin, the Foundation for Children was one of 38 MCP participants last year.

“The Diocese of Green Bay receives over 300 applications from Catholic mission religious/organizations to participate in the (MCP) appeal,” she said. “Each year, 38 different mission groups are invited by Bishop David Ricken to give missionary appeals to all parishes in our diocese. The missionary appeals make global missions real and visible.”

Through their firsthand stories of missionary work, “our faith is deepened and broadened as we learn from them,” added St. Aubin. “The missionaries enrich us in our understanding of the problems and challenges of the universal church. In the spirit of Pope Francis, we ask everyone to pray and share their gifts with the missions.”
She noted that contributions from all 156 parishes in the diocese are pooled and then divided equally among the 38 mission groups. “We use this fair-share system to enable our missionary speakers to go to less populated parishes in our diocese without fear of receiving less income,” said St. Aubin. “Each group who participated in the 2019 appeal received $10,038 in January of 2020.”

In 2020, MCP representatives will visit the diocesan parishes between May 15 and Sept. 15. “Each parish works out the specific dates with the mission group assigned to them,” said St. Aubin.

She said all U.S. parishes participate in the Missionary Cooperation Appeal, which was started in the 1930s by the Society for the Propagation of Faith and supported by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

To learn more about the missionary appeals or the diocese’s World Mission Office, contact Cindy St. Aubin at (920) 272-8192 or by email at [email protected]