VATICAN CITY, DEC. 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II named Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, as his envoy to the 13th World Day of the Sick, in Cameroon.
For this day, Feb. 11, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Pope published a letter Sept. 30 in which he spoke of the particular challenge Africa faces with AIDS.
“In order to fight AIDS in a responsible way, its prevention should be increased through education in respect to the sacred value of life and through formation in the correct practice of sexuality,” said the Holy Father.
“Everyone should feel involved in the fight against AIDS,” he said, particularly governments, international organizations and the pharmaceutical industry that can help to reduce “the price of drugs and medicines used in the treatment of AIDS.”
The celebrations in Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital, will begin Feb. 9 with a day dedicated to pastoral care.
The following day will be dedicated to doctrinal and scientific questions. A key theme will be the “Marshall Plan of Attack against AIDS: Looking after 1 Million Sick People Each Year.”
Visits to Catholic hospitals are planned for Feb. 11. In the afternoon Cardinal Lozano Barragán, the papal envoy, will be solemnly welcomed in the Mariano de Mvolyé sanctuary.
The cardinal will preside over Mass and will anoint the sick, in the presence of the president of Cameroon. A closing ceremony follows.
John Paul II instituted World Day of the Sick in 1992. It is celebrated every Feb. 11 in a different place.