Catholic Health-Care Group Now in Operation

Offers Technological and Economic Help to Facilities

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 19, 2002 ( Eighteen years after its founding, a group aimed at helping Catholic hospitals and health centers is finally operational.

The International Federation of Catholic Health Care Associations was founded by John Paul II in 1984, and then relaunched in July 1999 with a world symposium. AISAC became operational following a recent planning meeting held in Rome.

“This association was created to encourage and strengthen all Catholic health centers and foster communion among them with technological, scientific, personal and also economic help, when the case requires it,” said Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, which houses AISAC’s headquarters.

The purpose of the planning meeting was to apply to the work of national associations the findings of the Nov. 7-9 conference on “The Identity of Catholic Health Care Institutions.” The pontifical council organized the conference to foster greater international collaboration.

In receiving the participants of this congress, John Paul II appealed for a review of the role of hospitals, especially Catholic facilities, as places where suffering and death are given human and Christian meaning.

Cardinal Karl Lehmann, bishop of Mainz and president of the German episcopal conference, delivered the inaugural speech of the conference.

Reflecting on the role of Catholic hospitals, he said: “The foundation of their conception is that the dignity of every person is independent of his physical or psychic makeup, his religion or conception of the world, his race or social origin, and is given by God himself.”

“God’s loving closeness helps us see in the sick person a needy neighbor in whom we discover the face of God,” he added.

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