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Pope: We Must Remember Tender Love, Perseverance of Families With Suffering Children

Vatican Releases Message for 26th World Day of the Sick

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«We cannot forget the tender love and perseverance of many families in caring for their chronically sick or severely disabled children, parents and relatives,» Pope Francis has said, stressing: «The care given within families is an extraordinary witness of love for the human person; it needs to be fittingly acknowledged and supported by suitable policies.»
The Holy Father underscored this in his message for the 26th World Day of the Sick, to be held on 11 February, the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, signed on November 26, the Feast of Christ the King, and published today by the Vatican.
In the message, the Pontiff stresses that the Church’s service to the sick and those who care for them, must continue with renewed vigor, and by following the Lord’s example.
The theme for this year’s Day of the Sick is provided by the words that Jesus spoke from His Cross to His Mother, Mary, and to John: “Woman, behold your son … Behold your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” (Jn 19:26-27).
The Lord’s words brilliantly illuminate the mystery of the Cross, which does not represent a hopeless tragedy, but rather the place where Jesus manifests his glory and shows his love to the end. That love, the Jesuit Pope explained, in turn, was to become the basis and rule for the Christian community and the life of each disciple.
«Before all else, Jesus’ words are the source of Mary’s maternal vocation for all humanity,» he said.
Mary was to be, in particular, the Mother of her Son’s disciples,» Francis reminded, caring for them and their journey through life. «As we know,» he said, «a mother’s care for her son or daughter includes both the material and spiritual dimensions of their upbringing.»
The approach of Christians who work in public structures, through their service, should be to be «convincing witness to the Gospel.»
The message also recalls that Jesus bestowed upon the Church His healing power: “These signs will accompany those who believe… they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mk 16:17-18).»
In the Acts of the Apostles, we read accounts of the healings worked by Peter (cf. Acts 3:4-8) and Paul (cf. Acts 14:8-11).
The Church’s mission is a response to Jesus’ gift, for she knows that she must bring to the sick the Lord’s own gaze, full of tenderness and compassion.
Doctors and nurses, priests, consecrated men and women, volunteers, families and all those who care for the sick, the Pope noted, take part in this ecclesial mission. «It is a shared responsibility that enriches the value of the daily service given by each.»
«To Mary, Mother of tender love,» the Pope prayed, «we wish to entrust all those who are ill in body and soul, that she may sustain them in hope. We ask her also to help us to be welcoming to our sick brothers and sisters.»
May Mary, he continued, «see us united in an incessant plea that every member of the Church may live with love the vocation to serve life and health,» help the sick to «experience their suffering in communion with the Lord Jesus»; and support all those who care for them.
To all the sick, healthcare workers and volunteers, Pope Francis cordially imparted his Apostolic Blessing.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text of the Message: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-message-for-26th-world-day-of-the-sick/

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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