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 Compassion in Action is a faith inspired act, with a unique goal of practicing Christian charity as preached by Christ. Our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, commented recently on the final judgment, saying “we will be judged by God on charity, on how we loved him in our brothers, especially the most vulnerable and needy.” I believe that an extraordinary expression of this insight is what we try to do yearly through the help of the Compassion in Action team.

 Ahiara Diocesan Holy Rosary Hospital, Regina Celli Hospital in Ogwu Nguru and Obohia Cottage Hospital, all in the Mbaise region of Nigeria, were the sites for the Compassion in Action Medical Mission, which took place from December 29, 2012 to January 8, 2013. This is the ninth year in a row that the Management of the Obohia Cottage Hospital has allowed us the use of their facilities and the second year for Regina Celli Ogwu Nguru, thanks to Father Ben Nwachuku-Udaku.

 During the five-day mission, our medical team treated more than 1,160 indigent families of various rural communities with diverse ailments. The care provided included 52 surgeries, free general pediatric and gynecology consultation, free one-year supply of prenatal vitamins for pregnant and lactating mothers, ultra sound investigation, free eye examination and free medications.  People came from all the neighboring communities of Mbaise and beyond. Our team of dedicated physicians, optometrists, nurses, and other non-medical personnel gave of their time, talent, and energy, and we remain indebted to them for their enormous contribution towards the success of Compassion in Action 2012.

 This past year was a tremendous one for the Compassion in Action Medical Mission. It was a pleasure to have Dr. Ronald Snure and Dr. Victor Nwachukwu to lead the surgical team. We also received donations of medical/surgical supplies from Dr. Nwachukwu, Dr. Snure, Dr. Emeka Acholonu, Dr. Cliford Ekeh and donations of medication and medical supplies from St Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Community in Ontario, Mr. Felix Acholonu, Dr. Ivy Madu, and moral and financial support from Fr. Nwachukwu-Udaku, Vivian, my wife, who is the architect of this project and my children Urennaya, Onyeomachi, Ugwunna, Nnanyere and Chizitere. 

 We draw inspiration from the sacrifices of all these people and from our many volunteers, some of whom have been coming for the past nine years. We express our heartfelt gratitude and we say a very big thank you to all of you.

 We look forward to our mission in 2013, and we invite all people of goodwill to join us in providing healthcare to our indigent people, most of who cannot afford to pay for basic health care services.

 May the joy of the Newborn Christ be your strength and hope.

 Emeka Okoro is a parishioner of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Ontario and, along with his wife, Vivian, is coordinator of the Compassion in Action Medical Mission.