Pope Francis has marked the XXVIII World Day of the Sick this month with a call for warmth, dignity and love in our treatment of sick people.
In his message, the Pontiff called on healthcare professionals to ‘always remember that diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic treatments, research, care and rehabilitation are always in the service of the sick person; indeed the noun “person” takes priority over the adjective “sick”.’ He added: ‘In your work, may you always strive to promote the dignity and life of each person, and reject any compromise in the direction of euthanasia, assisted suicide or suppression of life, even in the case of terminal illness.’
The World Day of the Sick falls on 11 February and quoting from Matthew’s Gospel – ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Mt 11:28) – Pope Francis acknowledged that there were ‘many kinds of grave suffering’ and bemoaned that ‘at times human warmth is lacking in our approach to these’.
He continued: ‘What is needed is a personalised approach to the sick, not just of curing but also of caring, in view of an integral human healing. In experiencing illness, individuals not only feel threatened in their physical integrity, but also in the relational, intellectual, affective and spiritual dimensions of their lives. For this reason, in addition to therapy and support, they expect care and attention. In a word, love.’
The Pontiff offered a reminder that ‘life is sacred and belongs to God’ and warned that for healthcare professionals ’in some cases, conscientious objection becomes a necessary decision if you are to be consistent with your “yes” to life and to the human person’. He also urged ‘healthcare institutions and government leaders throughout the world not to neglect social justice out of a preoccupation for financial concerns’.
Finally, there was a word of gratitude for people who give their time freely to help the sick, such as volunteers at Lourdes: ‘I offer heartfelt thanks to all those volunteers who serve the sick, often compensating for structural shortcomings, while reflecting the image of Christ, the Good Samaritan, by their acts of tender love and closeness.’
• Lourdes 2020
This year’s Liverpool Archdiocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage will leave on Friday 24 July and return on Friday 31 July, with flight details to be confirmed in due course. Application forms for assisted and hotel-assisted pilgrims are available from this month (February).
For further details email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07484 911623. Pilgrims not requiring assistance should contact Joe Walsh on 0151 909 2871.