~ excerpts from an article by Robin Gomes, Vatican News
A society is all the more human to the degree that it cares effectively for its most frail and suffering members, in a spirit of fraternal love.” Pope Francis makes this point in his message for this year’s World Day of the Sick.
Sickness, Pope Francis notes, makes us realize our own vulnerability and our innate need of others. It raises the question of life’s meaning, which we bring before God in faith, or order to seek anew and deeper direction in our lives.
The World Day of the Sick was established by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1992 to offer prayers for those who are suffering from illnesses.
February 11 was chosen as the date for the observance because it coincides with the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, a title given to the Blessed Mother after her appearances to St. Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France, in 1858. Each year, millions travel to Lourdes, seeking healing.
The World Day of the Sick is also an opportunity to recognize the ministry of health-care workers, hospital chaplains, volunteers, support staff and all who care for the sick, serving as a reminder that they are carrying on the healing ministry of Christ. “Thanks to their expertise, they can make patients feel the presence of Christ who consoles and cares for the sick and heals every hurt,” said Pope Francis.
The current pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in our healthcare systems and inefficiencies in the care of the sick, with the elderly, weak and vulnerable people not always granted access to care, or in an equitable manner. Pope Francis says that as a community, we too, are called to be merciful like the Father and to love in particular our frail, infirm, and suffering brothers