Updated: Mar 5, 2022
The 30th World Day of the Sick (WDS) was celebrated on 11 February 2022 with the theme - “Be Merciful, even as your Father is merciful,” (Lk 6:36) as chosen by the Holy Father. The WDS always falls in conjunction with The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and this year marks the 160th anniversary of the recognition of the Lourdes apparitions. The WDS was first inaugurated by Saint John Paul II in 1992, who encouraged people to offer prayers, care and concern for all those suffering from various illnesses, as well as their caregivers.
Pope Francis invites healthcare workers and front liners as signs of merciful hands of the Father to “touch the suffering flesh of Christ” by giving their precious time and service to those who suffer. They need to carry out their duties with love and mercy, and extend their services beyond healthcare responsibilities. “Even when healing is not possible” the Holy Father encourages health caregivers to have “a sense of closeness” and “develop a capacity of listening and relating” to the sick and elderly.
The Pope also wishes for all healthcare institutions, palliative care, hospice centres and hospitals to give their greatest service to the sick and to those whom they care for, with genuine love and mercy. He encourages spiritual leaders not to be lacking in their pastoral duties when reaching out to those who are sick and living in isolation, as they require spiritual nourishment too. “I was sick, and you visited me” (cf. MT 25: 36) - when priests administer the Word and Sacraments to the sick, their journey of life will be strengthened, and their faith will grow in maturity.
In conjunction with WDS this year, we invited the elderly and the sick of our Parish to a special Mass and Anointing at 11.00am. About 150 parishioners participated in this celebration, coordinated by the Parish leaders. The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was done immediately after the Eucharistic celebration. After receiving the Oil of the Infirm - Oleum Infirmorum - they sat quietly in prayer before leaving the Church premises. Knowing that the sick are at a greater risk, SOP safety measures were strictly adhered to throughout the Mass celebration.
Although the number of cases due to the Omicron variant is high, we proceeded with caution and had the anointing of the sick and the elderly in order to provide pastoral care for them - spiritual support, spiritual guidance and spiritual nourishments. We celebrated with the Holy Father’s sentiments to console, affirm and strengthen them spiritually and physically. I am grateful to all family members, BEC coordinators and Parish Action Response Team (PART) for ushering and assisting the elderly and sick members of our Parish, from their homes, to be with us in Church on this WDS.
We seek the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes, health of the sick - to guide us in our pastoral care for the sick and their family members, so that they may find meaning in their suffering. May they receive consolation and strength from Jesus Christ, her Son - who bears the pain of the world.