Catholic bishop donates kidney, creates  history

In the pic:  Bishop Muricken (center) before going for surgery

Episcopal  Luminaries & Disasters – Published on:  June 1, 2016 in  Matters India Reporter

(Note: Life is a string of happenings of hope and despair. For over one month starting from  April 25th we have been tormented by the sights and sounds of a Bishop Gallela of Cudappah kidnapped and illtreated by 3 of his own priests. Now we are edified, encouraged, ennobled and emboldened by  Bishop Jacob Muricken of Palai who became the first known bishop to donate his kidney to an ailing Hindu on June 1/16.

Former W. Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu  donated both eyes and body to SKSM hospital after death in Jan.2010. Retired Pope Benedict xvi is a card-carrying Organ Donor. So is also this scribe since 2009. Cardinal Stephen Kim Souhwan of South Korea donated his corneas after his sudden death in Feb.2009. Impressed by that example of the cardinal over 30,000 Korean faithful pledged to donate body organs.  In that context this scribe wrote in 2009: “In India Cardinals and Bishops are in the forefront promoting eye donation. But we have not heard of any reported instance of any bishop whose eyes were taken for donation after his death.” (See:  Gift of Life, Gift of Sight,  SORT for Organ Trans plant, a two-part series in; That comment of 2009 is now proved wrong or corrected by Bishop Jacob Muricken of Palai, which happens to be this scribe’s birthplace as well. Substance of what we   are James Kottordriving at is this:  “Words move, example draws.”  Whether in religion or politics, we have no use of leaders who talk, talk and go on preaching. What drags, what goes home to the hearts of people is the lived examples of leaders like Gandhiji, Mother Teresa and Bishop Muricken. james kottoor, editor)

Kochi: A Catholic bishop in Kerala has created history as the first prelate in the world to donate kidney.

Bishop Jacob Muricken on June 1 underwent surgery at Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi, Kerala’s commercial capital, to remove one of his kidneys. It was then planted on the body of E Sooraj, a Hindu youth who has been suffering from kidney problems for the past 18 months.

Senior doctors at the hospital told media persons that the surgery was successful and the bishop and Sooraj were under observation. Bishop Muricken, who is the auxiliary of Palai diocese, attended Mass in the hospital chapel in morning before going to the operation theater. The surgery that began at 10:30 am was over by noon, hospital sources told Matters India.

The prelate was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday evening.Bishop Muricken’s three brothers and Sooraj’s wife and her family members were present in the hospital during the surgery.The bishop expressed the hope that his gesture will help change people’s reluctance to donate organs. He had earlier told Matters India that he took the decision in response to Pope Francis’ call to do perform acts of charity during this Year of Mercy.

Sooraj, 30, realized that he was born with one kidney when he suffered urinary infection. He was undergoing dialysis as his only kidney too was damaged.

Bishop Muricken offered to donate his kidney when Sooraj’s case was referred to him by Fr Davis Chiramel, founder director of the Kidney Foundation of India. Fr Chiramel, 56, had created history in 2009 as the first Catholic priest in India to donate his kidney to a Hindu neighbor. Since then scores of priests and nuns in India have donated their kidneys to the poor.

Bishop Muricken, who will turn 53 on June 16, is known for his simplicity and austere lifestyle. A pure vegetarian, the prelate prefers to spend his free time with retired and ailing priests of the Clergy Home. He travels by public transport and sends cakes and other gifts he receives on special occasion to Maria Sadan, a home for the mentally challenged.

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