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St. Charles Borromeo Philippine Medical Mission celebrates 20 years

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For 20 years, the St. Charles Borromeo Philippine Medical Mission (SCBPMM) organization has been aiding thousands of poor people in the Philippines. It began Aug. 15, 1999, with the approval of then pastor Father Gerry Creedon.

But many of the volunteers are reaching retirement age.

“We are looking for young Filipinos to come in and take over,” said Maricel Bretault, cofounder of the group. “We have two or three young people who have expressed an interest, but we need more.”

Bretault said it is incredible they reached the 20th year of ministry.

“We never expected to reach this milestone because our primary cofounder, Celia Coronado, passed away in 2006, seven years after we launched the ministry. We were able to go on and proceed with the mission and the work.”

In that time, the group has worked with several partner organizations in the Philippines, including The Foundation of Our Lady of Peace Mission that became its first partner, followed by the Religious of the Notre Dame Missions, Childhope Asia Philippines, Archbishop Gabriel M. Reyes Memorial Foundation, ANAWIM Lay Missions Foundation and Tulay ng Kabataan (Bridge for the Youth). 

SCBPMM has raised $1.5 million, with nearly 100 percent distributed to partners to support their feeding centers; shelters for street children and homeless elderly men and women; a hospital for the poor; a mobile health clinic for poor communities; and training programs on basic health and nutrition. It has also helped provide financial assistance to victims of natural disasters such as the destructive typhoons in 2009 and 2011.

“We provide the funds to partners who conduct medical missions to poor communities or provide help to victims of natural disasters or to support existing health related programs for the benefit of malnourished children and elderly,” Bretault said. “Volunteers are welcome to go to the Philippines and visit the partner organizations. Most volunteers are Filipino Americans though there are several Americans, as well. They visit the aided communities on their trips to the Philippines.”

Bretault said SCBPMM awarded a $20,000 grant to Cancer Warriors Foundation in the province of Batangas, which supports the treatment and medical care of poor and disadvantaged children with cancer. The special grant was made in memory of Coronado, who succumbed to cancer in 2006.   

SCBPMM celebrated its anniversary with a reception for donors, volunteers and supporters for the last 20 years at St. Charles Borromeo Church Aug. 17. It featured performances by Filipino musicians, line dancing and dinner. 

Find out more

Contact St. Charles Borromeo Medical Missions at inquiries@scbphilippinemedicalmission.org.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019