Raleigh Parish Sends Medical Mission to Guatemala

HNP Communications Around the Province

RALEIGH, N.C. Seventeen parishioners from St. Francis of Assisi Church here, led by Mark Reamer, OFM, traveled last month to Las Margaritas, Guatemala, to participate in a 10-day medical mission.

Megan Nerz, director of pastoral ministries at St. Francis parish, and a member of Holy Name Province’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Directorate, co-led the delegation. The group departed Oct. 5 for Guatemala, where the parish has had a sister relationship with a community of 50 families for more than 15 years.

While Mark has joined many delegations in the past, this is the first one that included medical and dental practitioners and educators, said Kate Shiring, service coordinator of the Franciscan Coalition for Justice and Peace.

Working in makeshift medical rooms in the village, doctors and nurses treated more than 500 people with both minor and more serious conditions, said Shiring.

The parish organized three missions last year, more than the usual, according to Patricia Mahoney, parish communications manager. “A delegation went to Las Margaritas to celebrate the Feast of Black Christ,” said Mahoney, “and in June, a teen delegation visited and worked in the village.” In September, several sister parish families visited Raleigh.

Many of the October delegates had healthcare expertise. The team was comprised of four physicians, including one gynecologist and two pediatricians, a chiropractor, four registered nurses, one emergency medical technician, one pre-med student, a dentist, an orthodontist and a hygienist. Two teachers also went.

Delegates brought a one-year supply of vitamins and medications for infection and  gastrointestinal illnesses, wound- and skin-care items, dental supplies and eyeglasses.

The photo above shows Mark celebrating a healing Mass the day before the group departed Guatemala.