VATICAN CITY, FEB. 11, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II followed on television the Mass for the World Day of the Sick in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope’s vicar for Rome, presided over the Eucharistic celebration, held today on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
During the homily the cardinal read a message sent by the Holy Father to the sick, patients, the volunteers who care for them and pilgrims who were present, asking them to pray for him.
“The Pope counts a lot on the value of your prayers and sufferings: offer them for the Church and for the world, offer them also for me and for my mission of universal pastor of the Christian people,” said the message.
The Pope reminded the faithful that human suffering “is never useless,” but rather precious, “as it shares mysteriously but really in the salvific mission of the Son of God.”
He also expressed his spiritual closeness to the peoples of Africa, the continent which hosted in Yaounde, Cameroon, the principle celebrations of the World Day of the Sick with the motto: “Jesus Christ, Hope for Africa. Youth, Health, and AIDS.”
Cardinal Ruini said answering the John Paul II’s request: “We wish to respond with affection and gratitude to the Holy Father, who sees and hears us on television.
“We wish to assure the Holy Father of our confident and humble prayer,” he added.
John Paul II spent the holiday in which the Vatican celebrates the 76th anniversary of the Lateran Pacts that established Vatican City State in his apartment.