By Neliswa Mdluli
Bishop Jose Luis in His speech at the opening of the new maternity wing at St Theresa’s clinic, pleaded with the Minister for Health not to grow tired of listening to the Church, as the needs of the clinic were ever increasing.
The event took place at the clinic premises on Monday, May 14, 2018.
Below is His speech on the day.
US Representative of Defense Corporation
Members of Parliament
Members of the Regional Health Administration
Chief Executive Officer- Manzini City Council
St. Theresa’s Governing Board
Reverend Fathers, Sisters and Brothers
Staff of St. Theresa’s Clinic
Ladies and Gentlemen
For the Catholic Church, Easter does not end on Easter Sunday. We have what we call “the Easter Season” which lasts 50 days and goes from Easter Sunday to the feast of Pentecost (which will be celebrated next Sunday). During this time, we daily read from the book of the Acts of the Apostles.
It is in the book of the Acts of the Apostles (5: 15 – 16) that we read: “Many signs and wonders were worked among the people at the hands of the apostles so that the sick were even taken out into the streets and laid on beds and sleeping-mats in the hope that at least the shadow of Peter might fall across some of them as he went past. People even came crowding in from the towns round about Jerusalem, bringing with them their sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and all of them were cured.”
Two things seem to be clear from the beginning of the Church:
the first one is that the very first Christians understood that their faith should make them care for those that were sick and tormented by unclean spirits and continue what Jesus had always done;
the second one is that, they did it in new ways! It is interesting to read that “the sick were even taken out into the streets and laid on beds and sleeping-mats in the hope that at least the shadow of Peter might fall across some of them as he went past”. We never see anything like this in the Gospel.
From the time of the resurrection of the Lord until today, the Catholic Church has always cared for the sick and has done it in different and new ways: hospitals, clinics, hospices, visits to the sick, parish nurses, healing services in Church… Probably most of them do not appear as such in the Bible but we do believe each one of them is an expression of the Holy Spirit working through us.
That is why we celebrate today the extension of St Theresa’s Clinic with a new maternity ward. We believe it is an expression of our Christian faith and an expression of God’s tender care for his people.
There is, though, something else that I believe has always been clear in the minds and heart of our Church: that we do not work alone. That is why today we are particularly grateful to the US government, for such a sign of trust as they accepted the Clinic’s request and generously contributed to the building of the maternity ward. Indeed, the Clinic has grown over the years through the support of many people and institutions. This include His Majesty’s Government, International Partners and friends, local community, last but not least the staff present here at the clinic.
Honourable Minister, St. Theresa’s clinic has always been a point of reference for people who come from all over the country, aware of the good services and care received by the patients. This maternity ward will certainly increase access to quality Health Services offered by the clinic.
Honourable Minister, we are excited about the maternity ward but our excitement is cut short by the unavailability of equipment to make it function properly.
Honourable Minister we are happy to inform you that St. Theresa’s Clinic has received an ambulance and two dental chairs from the Papal Foundation valued at E1.300.000. However, due to the shortage of funds we are unable to hire paramedics to operate the ambulance. We humbly request the Honourable Minister, if she can, to assist the Clinic engage the services of paramedics. The needs for the Clinic are ever increasing. We hope and pray the Honourable Minister does not grow tired of listening to the Church.
Honourable Minister, we wish to express our sincere thanks and gratitude for the significant support we get from His Majesty’s Government, especially through the annual subvention and medicine. Such efforts make us relevant to the needs of the many sick and poor people from Manzini and beyond. May this assistance never cease but increase.
Honourable Minister, we formally register our excitement about the planned taking over of the Catholic Clinics’ payroll by His Majesty’s Government, as this is really urgent. This will help the Clinic to be able to retain staff for longer periods. We wish to know how far the plan has gone now!
Honourable Minister, the many needs of the people of Eswatini mean that we have to work together in addressing them. In addressing these challenges you can count on my support, on the support of St. Theresa Clinic Management Committee and indeed the support of the Roman Catholic Church in the Kingdom of Eswatini.
Once again, I wish to thank the Honourable Minister, the US Ambassador and US Representative of Defense Corporation for honouring us with your presence today. I also wish to thank all members of the health sector present here today. Let us continue praying for each other and wishing each other well.