Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Doctor honored for service in Spokane’s Guatemala mission
by Jerry Monks, for the Inland Register
(From the Nov. 15, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)
Dr. José Miguel Vasquez obtains information from a potential cataract surgery patient at Spokane Mission Clinic in Novillero, Guatemala in 2004. Dr. Miguel joined with the visiting medical team from Spokane to screen and examine 41 patients for cataract surgery that year. Of those, 17 were operated upon. He also coordinated a second round of cataract surgeries in the Sololá center in 2006. Dr. José recently visited the Spokane Diocese. (IR photo from the Guatemala Commission)
Carving two weeks out of an already hectic schedule for a trip to the U.S. was not really an option for Dr. José Miguel Vasquez of Guatemala. Flights had already been booked. So when Sister Immaculata Burke of the Sisters of Charity of New York presented him with the surprise gift of tickets to Spokane (and on to New York), he was essentially already “on board.”
The trip was Sister Immac-ulata’s way of thanking her co-worker of many years for his professional service to the Mayan people of the Guatemalan Highlands. Dr. José is a native of the village of Novillero and speaks the local Quiché language. His village of Novillero is the location of the largest of the four clinics that he serves in the Spokane Mission area of the Highlands.
Dr. José’s visit to the Spokane Diocese included receptions at St. Thomas More Parish, Spokane, and at St. Mary Parish, Spokane Valley, where he spoke at the weekend Masses Oct. 20 and 21. Msgr. John Steiner, St. Mary’s pastor, invited the doctor to provide a description of his work and presented him with an award of appreciation for more than 20 years of outstanding service in the Spokane Mission.
The receptions at St. Mary and St. Thomas More gave all parishioners of the diocese an opportunity to learn, first-hand, of the progress that has been made over the years. Dr. José used the visit primarily to express his appreciation for past help. But he also responded to questions about future needs. Participants were impressed with what has been accomplished and several made contributions for medicines. (They have been purchased and are being taken to Guatemala this month.)
Before returning to Guatemala, Dr. José spent a few days in New York visiting with members of the Sisters of Charity of New York. Over the years, he has worked with several members of that Religious community, and the visit gave him an opportunity to renew some old acquaintances.
(Jerry Monks is a member of the diocese’s Guatemala Commission.)