The 30th World Day of the Sick will be celebrated on Friday 11 February, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The World Day of the Sick is an initiative which was started by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1992. Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have continued this special World Day – an occasion during which the whole Church bears witness with special concern to the tender mercy and love of God towards all who suffer. It is a time to pause and be prayerfully in solidarity with those who are sick and with all who care for the sick.
The theme for this year’s World Day of the Sick is: ‘Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful’ (Lk 6:36) – Standing beside those who suffer on a path of charity.
In his message for this year’s World Day of the Sick Pope Francis says: “The theme chosen for this Thirtieth World Day of the Sick, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36), makes us first turn our gaze towards God, who is “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4); he always watches over his children with a father’s love, even when they turn away from him. Mercy is God’s name par excellence; mercy, understood not as an occasional sentimental feeling but as an ever-present and active force, expresses God’s very nature. It combines strength and tenderness. For this reason, we can say with wonder and gratitude that God’s mercy embraces both fatherhood and motherhood (cf. Is 49:15). God cares for us with the strength of a father and the tenderness of a mother; he unceasingly desires to give us new life in the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Father also reminds people “that closeness to the sick and their pastoral care is not only the task of certain specifically designated ministers; visiting the sick is an invitation that Christ addresses to all his disciples. How many sick and elderly people are living at home and waiting for a visit! The ministry of consolation is a task for every baptized person, mindful of the word of Jesus: “I was sick and you visited me” ( Mt 25:36).”
Read the full text of Pope Francis message here.
Pope Francis prayer to Our Lady, Health of the Sick, to implore her protection
O Mary, you shine continuously
on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the Cross you participated
in Jesus’ pain,with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide,
so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after
this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself,
and bore our sorrows to bring us,
through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.
We seek refuge under your protection,
O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test –
and deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Lend Me Your Hand
Jesus, remember me
at this time.
I have questions and concerns.
I am worried.
As you journey with me, Jesus,
in your promise
of everlasting friendship,
help me to place myself
in your care
as you lend me your hand
through the care of my carers.
Help us, Jesus,
to allow God’s Light
to shine through
our hopes and concerns.
For each person in my care,
O loving and mysterious God,
Open my heart to their healing need.
Give me wisdom as you guide me
in my care for the sick.
Help me to see the presence
of the suffering and risen Jesus
in each person and to know always
that you look at me, O Lord,
through the eyes of the sick
and that you love each of us as we
give and receive care from each other.
Saint John Henry Newman’s Prayer
O Lord, support us all the day long
until the shadows lengthen and evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.
Then, in your mercy,
grant us a safe lodging,
and a holy rest, and peace at last.