Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 73(3) August 2023

An appeal for the Catholic Medical Missionary Society

Reg. Charity-253303. Dr Steve Brennan. Sec/Treas. CMMS. August 2023

The Catholic Medical Missionary Society is the CMA’s very own charity which sets out to support medical projects around the world and especially in the developing world. We need your help!

It is over 3 years since our last appeal for the Catholic Medical Missionary Society (CMMS) by the then Chairman, Rob Hardie (now in New Zealand). Bruno Bubna-Kasteliz is the new Chairman. We were set up by the Guild of Catholic Doctors in August 1967 as our charitable “arm”, with the intention of supporting Catholic projects that helped the sick/poor around the world. It only receives donations from CMA members, by standing order (only 17 still subscribing), a collection at the AGM and at Council Meetings. So our funding is dwindling; but we managed to give out six £500 grants last year, as you will have seen in the CMMS AGM minutes . We are a registered charity, and I claim the Gift Aid each year, so we get every penny we can!

Rob wrote of our help to the Comboni Sisters in Ethiopia, and we have continued that. We give two annual donations to Fr Arokadias & Dr Jos Thaliath in different parts of India, knowing their projects from years ago. We helped the Poor Clares in Mbarara, Uganda, where Rob & I had seen their work. We get a lot of requests from individual Indian Parishes, and find them difficult to check up on, so we have stopped supporting them. We can’t support medical student electives, but it would be useful to hear from any student who felt they had seen a project worth backing. There is so much poverty with a lack of basic medical care, our small grants are just a drop in the ocean. But £500 can go quite a long way with dispensaries and feeding programmes; it can help towards basic equipment needs.

We have a vetting “committee” of Bruno, Dominic Whitehouse, Alicja Waszac, Maria Meilak and myself, to check new applicants; but we have little money to give away these days. Since 2020, via member recommendations, we have helped Joseph Ukpo Hospital in Nigeria and Fr Greg in Cambodia. But with the Covid & Ukranian crises, there have been requests which we were unable to be confident about, so we gave £500 grants to these via CAFOD, Christian Aid, & Aid to the Church in Need. Similarly we have given via InterCare & the African Missions. We would prefer to give to individual projects, but we need to be confident that we aren’t being duped.

Please support the CMMS by downloading the giving form by clicking here

Our average annual donation is £50, so if all members contributed, we’d be able to give out at least 24 X £1000 grants per annum, and that would need new staff!