During a press conference at the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers presented Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the 21stWorld Day of the Sick. Celebrations for the World Day will take place in Altotting, Bavaria in Germany.
Also present at the press conference were Msgr. Jean-Marie Mate Musivi Mupendawatu and Fr. Augusto Chendi, M.I., respectively secretary and under-secretary of that same dicastery; Msgr. Ludwig Limbrunner, rector of the shrine to Our Lady of Altotting, Bavaria, Germany; and Rev. Janusz Surzykiewicz, professor of pastoral theology at the Catholic University of Eichstatt in Bavaria, Germany. The Message of the Holy Father for the World Day of the Sick is entitled: “Go and Do Likewise”.
Archbishop Zimowski explained that the World Day of Sick is a moment to reflect and to give attention to the problems that are inherent in caring for “life, health, and suffering.” The Holy Father, he said, “emphasizes that its celebration should be strongly characterized by prayer, sharing, and offering up suffering for the good of the Church, as well as serving as a call so that everyone might recognize, in the face of their sick brother or sister, the face of Christ who, suffering, dying, and rising, saved humanity.”
The president of the Pontifical Council also stressed that Pope Benedict’s message challenges the faithful to enable the model of the Good Samaritan “call to us.”
“It is a Gospel narrative that constitutes a parable that is paradigmatic and ever-topical for all of the Church’s action, especially her outreach in the area of health, disease, and suffering,” Archbishop Zimowski said.
“In the story, Jesus, with his actions and words, reveals God’s deep love for every human being, above all those suffering illness or pain. The Pope, however, puts the emphasis on the end of the parable when Jesus […] concludes with an urgent mandate: ‘Go and do likewise’.”
Archbishop Zimowski continued saying that it is an “incisive mandate” which outlines the Lord’s call to all his disciples to care for those in need.
“Looking to how Christ acted, therefore, we can understand God’s infinite love, can feel ourselves to be part of this love, and sent to show it with our care and our closeness to all those in need of help because of being wounded in body and in spirit,” the archbishop said.
“But this capacity to love cannot come solely from our efforts, but rather is born of our being in constant relationship with Christ through a life of faith. From this stems the call and the duty of each Christian to be a ‘Good Samaritan’.”
Concluding his remarks on the Papal message, Archbishop Zimowski said that the Holy Father’s message recognizes the Year of Faith favourable time to rediscover and imitate the Good Samaritan. Such imitation would allow the faithful to “to see with compassion and love someone who needed care and assistance; in his knowing how to bend down and pick up the needs of others’.”