Dr John Lee (wearing glasses), World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations president, together with members of the federation and A Call To Share (ACTS), a Singapore Catholic humanitarian mission, meet Pope Francis.

About 20 representatives from the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC) and A Call To Share (ACTS), a Singapore Catholic humanitarian mission, met Pope Francis at the Vatican on May 28.

The FIAMC members were seeing the pope ahead of their congress in Zagreb, Croatia, held from May 30-June 2.

In his address to the Holy Father, Dr John Lee, a Singaporean doctor who is president of FIAMC, pledged to promote the authentic teachings of the magisterium of the Church as expressed in the papal encyclicals.

He also pointed out that one of the objectives of the congress in Zagreb was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, one of the most important documents written by Pope Paul VI.

The congress would also include an exhibition entitled “Evangelisation and Works of Mercy”.

One of the highlights of the meeting with the pope was presenting him the collaboration of ACTS with the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco.

Dr Lee shared that this collaboration would be launched during the FIAMC congress to enlist various national medical associations to help the poorer communities in the world. This would provide an opportunity for doctors to live the social mission of the Church and a way towards sanctification in their chosen vocation.

ACTS, which organises medical and educational mission trips to countries such as Cambodia, Philippines, Myanmar and Vietnam, celebrates its 12th anniversary this year.

A specially-produced book commemorating this anniversary was presented to Pope Francis during the meeting.

Following Dr Lee’s speech, Pope Francis gave his address in Italian. He encouraged doctors to reflect on the theme of the congress, which was “Holiness in life and the medical profession, from Humanae Vitae to Laudato Si’”.

He said it was important for a doctor to have “concrete participation in the life and mission of the Church”.

The pope said that this participation – as underlined by the Second Vatican Council – is “so necessary within the Church communities that without it the apostolate of the pastors is often unable to achieve its full effectiveness” (Decreto Apostolicam Actuositatem, 10).

Pope Francis also emphasised that “it is desirable that the activities of the associations of Catholic doctors be interdisciplinary and also involve other ecclesial realities. In particular, know how to harmonise your efforts with those of priests, men and women Religious, and all those who work in health pastoral care”.

He urged them to be “ministers, not only of care but also of fraternal charity, transmitting to those you approach, along with the contribution of your knowledge, your wealth of humanity and evangelical compassion”.

Some 80 countries are members of the FIAMC, representing over 100,000 healthcare individuals.

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