Archbishop Alexander Samples blesses the clinic Sept. 29. (Sarah Wolf/Catholic Sentinel)
Archbishop Alexander Samples blesses the clinic Sept. 29. (Sarah Wolf/Catholic Sentinel)

WEST LINN — As the sun beamed down on the Portland metro area Sept. 29, the parking lot outside of the new Holy Family Catholic Clinic was transformed into a gathering space for those celebrating the blessing of the new clinic.

“It’s just exciting that it’s come to fruition after the better part of a year,” said Dr. William Toffler, one of the founders.

“We’re going to be doing God’s work with the sick. But doing it consistently with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and with the ethical and religious directives,” he added. “That’s exciting because there isn’t any place like that, not just in Portland but in Oregon.”

Before blessing the clinic, Archbishop Alexander Sample said it has brought him much joy, adding his thanks to all those involved.

“I’m so proud to have this clinic in this archdiocese,” he said. “I hope and pray this clinic will become a beacon of light to not just those in our area but to those throughout the West and throughout this country.

“This is God’s work. It’s not ours. But we’re here because God made this happen, and the Holy Spirit has directed this from the very beginning,” he said. “Let’s not forget that we’re here because God has willed it to happen.”

Jessica Jose is business manager at the clinic. She was drawn to get involved to honor the sanctity of life from birth to natural death.

“It’s Christ-centered and we also adhere to the ethical and religious directives of Catholic health services and that’s really important to me,” she said.

The team aspires to offer Catholic primary care to everyone, whether or not they’re Catholic, said Dr. Grace Jazrawi, one of the other founders. Jazrawi noted that the providers will follow the ethical and religious directives set by the bishops.

“It’s really a higher form of health care,” she said. “It’s caring for the whole person.”

Crosses appear on walls of the clinic, mothers won’t have to leave the room while their daughters are being examined, birth control won’t be given and no patients will be euthanized.

“Basically, it’s medicine that is just completely in line with the church, which is really what medicine is,” said Jazrawi. “It’s a service — a service to the person. That’s what we want out of this.”

Jazrawi and Toffler will be joined by three other doctors at the clinic: Dr. Mike Sherman, Dr. Kristin Burgher and Dr. Mark Mailhot. The clinic will offer services including primary care, pediatrics, internal medicine, women’s health and natural family planning.

Ken Hurley, hospitaller for the Sovereign Order of Malta, came from Los Angeles for the blessing. He is interested in the work that the Holy Family Catholic Clinic is trying to do in Oregon.

“With what’s happened in the country, Catholic health care has to some extent been eradicated,” said Hurley. “So this is a really important project for us and why we wanted to get involved.

“We think this is such a great need, considering what’s going on with pro-life, abortion and contraception. Doctors actually can practice without having to deal with that issue and having to do their job against their conscience.”

Dr. Mike Sherman is one of the other founders of Holy Family Catholic Clinic. Sherman moved recently from Corvallis where he had started a clinic three years ago. Initially, he was offering suggestions for how to get the clinic up and running. However, he soon felt a calling to go a step further with the Holy Family team.

“It’s been an amazing process in terms of how the spirit walks in and makes things happen and brings in the right people at the right time,” he said. “I just stand back in awe at how it all falls together.”

“We’re interested in the souls of the people who are coming here,” said Sherman.

“The mission and goal is to be this very Christ-centered and patient-centered clinic where the value of the patient is the likeness and image of God in everyone we see, regardless of where they come from, their faith, and how much money they have.”

Sherman added that the team is trying to touch people’s hearts, as well as provide the best care possible. Doctors have the privilege of walking with patients through good times and bad.

“And that’s what a doctor should be doing — walking with them,” concluded Sherman.

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