Our Dental Mission

Dental Ministry Marks 10 Years at Local Mission

Doctors at mission in Panama CityBY KATHERINE LAGUNA Posted: 11.08.2015

WAHNETA |

When Hector Gonzalez visited the dentist as a young boy in Panama City, it fascinated him. That appeal to make everyone feel comfortable with his or her smile inspired him to attend the University of Panama for dentistry. In college, he met fellow student David Junca where both would finish dental school and decide to use their education and enthusiasm to serve others for a special ministry.

For ten years Dr. Junca and I have served the congregation of Centro Guadalupano Mission,” Gonzalez said. “Junca opened the clinic to provide services to individuals and families who don’t have a lot of money. This provides them with some relief.

One Saturday a month, the dentists open up the clinic in the social hall building of Centro Guadalupano Mission at the break of dawn to assist those already waiting in line for services. Olga Ramirez also devotes her time at the clinic assisting Junca and Gonzalez.

Gonzalez believes serving people will have a positive affect by encouraging others to do the same. “I think people need help sometimes, so why not help if I am available to,” Gonzalez said. “Not everything is about money; sometimes it is about giving something for free to those who are suffering. That is what the Lord wants all of us to do — to care for one another./p>

Centro Guadalupano, formed in 1985, serves the Hispanic community, and many of the mission’s regular churchgoers — immigrants and farmworkers from Mexico — only speak Spanish. All of the mission’s Masses are in Spanish. La Salette Missionary Father Norman Farland, parochial administrator of Centro Guadalupano Mission, is grateful to the doctors for their hard work and the faithful congregation who participate when the need is great.

It is not only about believing; it is putting faith into action,” Father Farland said. “Many of the people here are volunteers who take up the responsibility and get plenty of incredible work done for the mission. They all offer up their services, effort and energy into what they believe

Throughout the ten years of serving people of all ages, Junca saw the beauty of giving. “When you experience the joy of giving, you get to witness the happiness from that person,” he said.

To see the difference in people once they leave my office is rewarding,” he said. “You can see their confidence change and I thank God for allowing me to witness their happiness. It is worth all the time and effort in the last ten years.”