A Mission of Mercy

Teamwork lies at the heart of the victories won at the University of Maryland’s XFINITY Center in College Park. Today and Sunday, the arena will be the site of a different kind of teamwork and inspiring victories as it is transformed into a mobile dental clinic with 100 treatment stations and also a health screening center. On these two days of the Mid-Maryland Mission of Mercy and Health Equity Festival, an expected 1,500 patients will receive more than $1 million worth of free care.

The event is possible thanks to the collaboration and teamwork of Catholic Charities and Maryland’s Center for Health Equity, as well as several hundred dentists, hygienists and other health care professionals, and well over a thousand volunteers.  It is a testament to their commitment, dedication and awareness that we should care for one another and help those in need.  In the words of Monsignor John Enzler, the president and CEO of Catholic Charities, the Mission of Mercy event offers an opportunity to “change thousands of lives and guide them to healthier futures.”

The Mission of Mercy is aptly named. God’s mercy is “the beating heart of the Gospel, which in its own way must penetrate the heart and mind of every person,” Pope Francis says. “Wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must be evident. In our parishes, communities, associations and movements, in a word, wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy” (Misericordiae Vultus, 12).

Catholic Charities has helped provide four Mission of Mercy dental clinics throughout Maryland in recent times.  In years past, I have been so very impressed seeing hundreds of underserved, uninsured and underinsured patients receiving dental care they otherwise would lack access to.  It has been a joy for me to walk through that basketball court transformed into a dental clinic and greet and offer thanks to the volunteers and offer prayers and support for the patients.

This amazing event demonstrates the great things that partnerships produce.  This kind of teamwork is also fundamental to the outreach of Catholic Charities throughout our community as it partners with parish, community, business groups and public agencies to bring help and hope to those in need and on the margins.  They rightly understand that if you work together, you can truly accomplish anything.

The Mission of Mercy dental clinic is proof of the good of coming together and it demonstrates how an “oasis of mercy” can bring smiles and hope to countless people. We too can make such victories possible as we join together as one and share Jesus’ love and God’s mercy in our homes and communities.