A 30-year-old Hindu was to die soon from kidney failure, but a glimpse of hope came. Auxiliary Bishop Jacob Muricken of Palai diocese offered to donate one of his kidneys so Sooraj, who is from the Indian state of Kerala, will live for more years
"My condition became worst over a year ago. Now I have come to know that a bishop is donating his kidney for me. For me it's nothing less than God's intervention," Sooraj told NDTV.
Sooraj's family is striped with illness and tragedy. Aside from being poor, his brother succumbed to a heart attack two years after their father was killed by a snake. Currently, his mother is suffering from diabetes.
A doctor told him that he won't live long if he can't find a donor for a kidney transplant. Lucky for him, Pope Francis, prompted by refugee crisis in the Middle East and in Europe, called this year a "Year of Mercy."
"I believe this will serve as a strong message for people around me to be open to donate organs," Bishop Muricken said, adding his decision is in the spirit of the church and with the consent of the Pope.
He admitted that he was inspired by Fr. Davis Chiramel, chairman of the Kidney Federation of India, who himself is a kidney donor
"I am happy that I will be doing good to someone in the year of mercy," he said, saying he is donating one of his kidney having been deeply moved by Fr. Chiramel's mercy, and that he would like to follow his footprints.
The kidney transplant will take place June 1 with Fr. Chiramel to witness.
"It's supposed to be a condition if we donate organ that someone from the recipient's family do the same to someone else. But in the case of Sooraj that wasn't possible because of family restraints and ill health, and we understand that." Chiramel said.