John Paul II Hopes World Day of Sick Will Aid Evangelization

Sends Letter to His Special Envoy for Event in Africa

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 3, 2005 ( John Paul II hopes that participants in the forthcoming World Day of the Sick will receive abundant fruits from this ecclesial event, and become «diligent promoters of a New Evangelization.»

The Pope expressed this in his letter to Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, his special envoy for this event.

The 13th World Day will be held Feb. 9-11 in Yaounde, Cameroon.

«Christ’s Twelve Apostles, sent by him in pairs with power over evil spirits, anointed the sick with oil and cured them,» the Pope reminded in the letter, written in Latin and dated Feb. 11.

The Holy See published the text Monday, before John Paul II was hospitalized for complications from the flu.

«Precisely we, who exercise the most authoritative task of the Successor of Peter, note well these words of the sacred Scriptures on the birth of the Apostles and, in general, try to pay special attention to the spiritual benefit of all the sick and patients,» reads the letter.

«Many indeed are the faithful who are faced with sufferings and many difficulties in daily life and because of that fact, are in need of heavenly relief and consolation which is pleasing to their spirit,» the Holy Father writes.

For this celebration, the Pope published a message which focuses on the challenge posed, especially in Africa, by the spread of AIDS.

«It is necessary to increase prevention through education that respects the sacred value of life, and through formation in a correct practice of sexuality,» the Holy Father proposes in his message.

«All should feel involved in the struggle against AIDS,» he said, addressing especially men of government, international organizations, and pharmaceutical industries, which he encourages «in keeping low the costs of medicines helpful in the treatment of AIDS.»

The papal mission that will accompany Cardinal Lozano Barragán includes Father Theodore Toko, secretary-general adjunct of the bishops’ conference of Cameroon, and Paul Marie Philemon Mbida, director of the Archdiocese of Yaounde’s Health Pastoral Care.

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