Pope Francis recalls World Day of the Sick at Audience
By Vatican News staff reporter
11 February marks the thirtieth World Day of the Sick which was instituted by Saint John Paul II “to encourage the people of God, Catholic health institutions and civil society to be increasingly attentive to the sick and to those who care for them.”
The theme for this year is “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36): Standing beside those who suffer on a path of charity.”
Recalling this day at the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis said he wished “to remember our dear sick people, so that all may be assured of health care and spiritual accompaniment. Let us pray for these brothers and sisters of ours, for their families, for health care and pastoral care workers, and for all those who care for them.”
While remembering the elderly and the sick, the Pope also recalled the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. This year marks the 160th anniversary of the recognition of the Lourdes Apparitions.
“I wish each one to imitate the Blessed Virgin in her full availability to the divine will. May her example and her intercession be an incentive to strengthen your witness to the Gospel,” the Pope said.
Accompanying the sick
In his 2022 message marking World Day for the Sick, Pope Francis reinforces the mission of welcoming and accompanying those who are ill.
“The patient is always more important than his illness and this is why any therapeutic approach cannot neglect listening… How can we not recall, in this regard, the many patients who, during the pandemic, lived in isolation.”
The Pope also underlined that “Even when healing is not possible, care can always be given. It is always possible to console, it is always possible to make people sense a closeness that is more interested in the person than in his or her pathology.”
The 30th World Day of the Sick will not take place in Arequipa, Peru, as planned, due to the pandemic. The celebration of Holy Mass will now take place on 11 February in St Peter’s Basilica.