The Society of Vincent De Paul unit at the National Shrine of St. Thomas Basilica is a small but active group.
It goes beyond the routine that this church group does – to seek donations, collect clothes for the poor and provide medicines for the poor sick.
In recent times, Society members have tied up with social workers and city institutions to launch bigger campaigns.
Recently, the Vincent De Paul unit members initiated a special camp at the cathedral to encourage organ and full body donation.
This campaign was launched during the recently-concluded Lenten season in April.
They had requested church-goers to donate what they wishes – blood, eyes, bones, skin, organs, stem cell or their body – for research and for transplantation.
“40 people have registered so far and we welcome more donations,” says A.Sarprasadanathan, president of the Society’s San Thome unit.
This campaign was promoted by Fr. Jerry Rozario, a Jesuit priest who is a regular at the cathedral.
This priest has donated blood 158 times as on Good Friday, April 22. Recently, he also opted for a full body donation. His book in Thamizh titled ‘Dhanam’, published by Vaigarai Pathippagam explains the need and the process of organ and full body donation.
Says K. M. Thomas, treasurer of the Society, “Fr. Jerry has been encouraging us and we help people to register for this form of donation.”
The group has tied up with Sankara Nethralaya eye hospital for eye donation and for the other forms of donation, with Government General Hospital.
Thomas says that the St. Vincent de Paul group will carry out this campaign through this year and will assist people not only of this parish church but from anywhere in the Mylapore neighbourhood to sign up.
How to become a Donor
Those who wish to register need to fill up an application form available at the campus of the National Shrine of St. Thomas. Thomas can be of help here.
This form must be submitted at the Society’s office located inside the church premises. The office functions on Tuesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 7.30 a.m. to 12 noon.
An ID card will be issued to the donor.
This card will carry an authorisation signature by the donor and will have the contact details of the closest relative.
This card has to be carried by the donor at all times.
Those who wish to get more information on this may contact K. M. Thomas at 98402 59825.