Message to AIDS Patients: "Do Not Feel Alone!"

John Paul II´s Words at Symposium on Health Care Workers

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 3, 2001 ( John Paul II told AIDS patients they must not feel alone, and assured them of the Church´s closeness to them.

«Dear brothers and sisters suffering from AIDS: Do not feel alone! The Pope is by your side and supports you with affection in your difficult path,» the Holy Father said Saturday, when he spoke at the closing of the international symposium on «Catholic Health Care Volunteers.»

The two-day symposium at the Vatican was organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers.

On the day the United Nations held a World Day of Struggle Against AIDS, the Pontiff made an appeal for genuine public awareness of the causes and consequences of the illness caused by the HIV virus.

«The Church places itself on the side of men of science, and encourages all those tirelessly dedicated to cure and defeat this serious form of sickness,» the Pope added.

«Following the example of Christ, [the Church] considers assistance to one who suffers, a fundamental element of its mission and feels personally challenged by this new realm of human suffering,» he said.

«Aware that every patient is a ´particular way´ for the acceptance of the Word, [the Church] bends lovingly over every brother and sister affected by this illness,» the Pope continued.

Lastly, the Holy Father gave an instruction to the professionals and volunteers of the health world: «To you is entrusted the task to make those who are suffering feel the love and consolation of Christ.»

«Through you, Jesus´ most loving invitation, ´Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,´ must resonate in the hearts of these suffering brothers and sisters,» he concluded.

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