KAMPUNG PANDAN:-Renato Lima de Oliveira, the President General of Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) International was in Malaysia recently for a ‘pastoral’ visit to gauge the activities of the SSVP Malaysia and to enhance the brotherhood with the local Vincentians.
Renato, aged 46, himself a Brazilian was accompanied by SSVP Officials Terry Brown from UK, Kathryn Weswick from Canada , Thomas Tan from Singapore and Karl Michael Hila from the Philippines.
Upon their arrival on March 12, the local SSVP Officials met Renato and team and feted to a dinner in Petaling Jaya where the Nuncio and Archbishop Julian Leow attended with a few bishops/ priests. SSVP National President, Watson Peter was also present.
Renato also visited Rumah Ozanam in Batu Arang, Selangor and the Second Chance Community Home in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur.
He also attended two meetings here to get to know how far the Vincentians have progress in their mission to help the marginalized and poor. One of the meeting was the SSVP National President from ASEAN Countries.
At the end of his visit on March 15, Renato with his team and local SSVP Officials visited the ‘Pusat Dialisis NKF- Good Health’ in Kg Pandan. On hand to welcome him was S Perry who is the SSVP President of Conference of Sacred Heart and Chua Hong Wee, the CEO of National Kidney Foundation Malaysia (NKF) and SSVP National Treasurer, Dunstan Dominic.
The dialysis centre was blessed and opened in September 2010 by Archbishop Murphy Pakiam. The centre is wholly owned by the SSVP Conference of Sacred Heart ( under the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). NKF is managing and running the said Dialysis Centre.
Perry gave a briefing on how the Dialysis Centre was setup. The Conference of Sacred Heart with 12 SSVP members managed to obtained colossal generous support from parishioners from both the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Chapel of Our Lady of Good Health and support of their parish priests ( past and present) and certain individuals and company to raise RM1.6 million to build and equipped the centre with 18 hemodialysis machines; and other equipment and facilities.
Today the dialysis centre provides assistance and support to 92 kidney patients who needed to do 13 sessions per month of dialysis treatment.
Renato and SSVP Officials were taken on a tour of the double storey dialysis centre where he met several patients and chatted.
Perry said all the patients are either hardcore poor, self-employed, unemployed and retirees staying around KL vicinity. Occasionally the SSVP members and some parishioners will visit the patients to interact with them.
Chua said the actual cost per session is RM160, where NKF will foot RM70 and RM50 by government subsidy. The patient pays only RM40 per session. Perry however said if any patient couldn’t afford to pay, the Conference might do so.
Renato was impressed by the visit. A group photo was taken in front of the dialysis centre ( which is located just opposite the Good Health Chapel) where he holds a SSVP flag which was blessed by Pope Francis in his audience with him, before Renato arrived in Malaysia.
After lunch in Archbishop Emeritus Pakiam residence, where the retired prelate said grace; Renato has a meeting with Archbishop Emeritus Pakiam. Renato highlighted how a Diocesan priest introduced him to SSVP at the age of 16 years where he joined. Thirty years as a Vincentian, Renato was elected as the XVI International President of SSVP and took office on September 9, 2016, for a six year term.
Renato said that in Brazil alone there are 180,000 SSVP members, half of which are young Catholics. This is possible as when the Society in partnership with the Church, took the Confirmation students ( Where earlier on they were given materials to read about the activities of SSVP) into the mission. A project visiting a Home, to have the student encounter the poor and get involved. It was a great success, highlighted Renato, where many students joined the Society.
Renato also said SSVP assist all kinds of poverty, not just food. Some Conferences visit people of other kind of poverty, doing all kind of charity works.
Today the SSVP served 30 million poor people in the world. They have 800,000 members worldwide from 151 countries. In Malaysia currently there are 780 SSVP members in 63 Conferences.
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