The life of a 30-year-old Hindu man is to be saved thanks to an Indian bishop who is donating one of his kidneys to him.
Sooraj, from the Indian state of Kerala, is from a poor family which has already been hard hit by illness and tragedy. According to the Mathrubhumi news service, his father died four years ago after a snakebite, his brother died two years ago of heart disease and his mother is diabetic. After he developed kidney failure 18 months ago doctors told him a transplant was his only hope.
However, in response to Pope Francis' call for a 'Year of Mercy', the auxiliary bishop of Palai diocese stepped forward to offer one of his kidneys.
Bishop Jacob Muricken told NDTV: "Our church and Pope Francis truly believe and back such acts of organ donations. It's in the spirit of the Church. I believe this should be a strong message for people around me, to be open to donate organs."
Muricken was inspired by Fr Davis Chiramel, chairman of the Kidney Federation of India, himself a kidney donor.
"I am inspired by Father Chiramel who once donated his kidney seven years ago," the bishop said. "I am happy that I will be doing good to someone in the year of mercy. I am deeply moved by Father's act of mercy and would like to follow his footprints."
Muricken is thought to be the first serving bishop to have donated a kidney while still alive.
Sooraj told NDTV: "I started taking treatment only when the situation got really bad about one and a half years back. Now, I have come to know that a bishop is donating his kidney for me. For me it's nothing less than God's intervention."
Chiramel said: "When we reach out to an individual through a donor, our only condition is that someone from the recipient family must eventually be willing to donate for someone else. But in the case of Sooraj that wasn't possible because of family restraints and ill health and we understand that."
The surgery is expected to take place on June 1.