This year marks the 30th anniversary of Pope Saint John Paul II instituting the World Day for the Sick to encourage the Faithful to “be increasingly attentive to the sick and to those who care for them.”

For this years World Day of the Sick on February 11th, Pope Francis chose the theme of “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful: Standing beside those who suffer on a path of charity.”

In his pastoral message to mark the occasion, he said not to forget those suffering in quarantine and isolation.

“I would like to remind everyone 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 words of Jesus: ‘I was sick and you visited me.'”

He also commended healthcare workers who tend to the ill, especially during the pandemic.

“With you, patients often felt they had angels at their sides, who helped them recover their health, and who simultaneously consoled them, supported and sometimes accompanied them to the threshold of the final meeting with the Lord.”

Thanking God for the advances in medical care we have today, he added we must never
forget “the uniqueness of each patient, his or her dignity and frailties.”

“Patients are always more important than their diseases, and for this reason, no therapeutic approach can prescind from listening to the patient, his or her history, anxieties and fears.”

Pope Francis ended his message entrusting all and their families to the intercession of Mary, Health of the Sick.

“United with Christ, who bears the pain of the world, may they find meaning, consolation and trust. I pray for healthcare workers everywhere, that, rich in mercy, they may offer patients, together with suitable care, their fraternal closeness.”

Read his full message here.

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