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    » 02/11/2007, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Pope: From Lourdes to Seoul, I entrust the world’s sick and suffering to Mary



    Recalling the apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of the Sick, which this year is being celebrated in Seoul, Benedict XVI exhorted health workers and relatives of sick people to offer “human support” and “spiritual accompaniment”, especially those who are terminally ill.

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) – On the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, now also the World Day of the Sick, the pope did not stop at talking about miracles and healing. Thanking health workers and relatives of sick people, he called for the “development of palliative care that offers holistic support”, giving “terminally ill people the human support and spiritual accompaniment that they badly need.”

    Benedict XVI recalled the “prodigious event” of “the first apparition of the Virgin Mary to St Bernadette, which took place on 11 February 1858 in the grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes”. This event, continued the pope, made “the location, situated in the French slopes of the Pyrenees, a global center for pilgrimages and intense Marian spirituality. In this place, for nearly 150 years now, the call of Our Lady to prayer and repentance still reverberates powerfully, a quasi permanent echo of the invitation with which Jesus inaugurated his preaching in Galilee: ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’ (Mk 1:15).”

    Although miracles and healings confirmed by a team of doctors often take place at Lourdes, the pope saw fit to draw attention to a more profound miracle: “Moreover, the shrine has become a destination of many sick pilgrims who, putting themselves in a position to listen to the Most Holy Mary, are encouraged to accept their sufferings and to offer them for the salvation of the world, uniting them with those of the crucified Christ.”

    Benedict XVI explained the connection between the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of the Sick: “It was precisely because of this link between Lourdes and human suffering that, 15 years ago, the beloved John Paul II wanted the World Day of the Sick to be celebrated on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. This year, the focus of this feast is in the city of Seoul, capital of South Korea, where I sent Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Health Care to represent me. I send an affectionate greeting to him and to all those gathered there.”

    The pope continued: “I would like to extend my thoughts to health workers across the world, well aware of the importance of their service to sick people in our society. In particular, I want to express my spiritual closeness and my affection for our sick brothers and sisters, especially those who are afflicted by more serious and painful illnesses. On this Day, our attention is turned towards them in a special way. It is necessary to support the development of palliative care that offers holistic support and gives terminally ill people the human support and spiritual accompaniment that they badly need.”

    Before the Angelus prayer, the pope reminded his audience about a Eucharistic Celebration that will be held this afternoon in St Peter’s Basilica, with many sick people and pilgrims. Mass will be presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar of the diocese of Rome.  Benedict XVI said: “At the end of Holy Mass, I will have the joy, like last year, of spending some time with them, reliving the spiritual climate experienced at the grotto of Massabielle. With this Angelus prayer, I would like to entrust to the maternal protection of the Immaculate Virgin all those in the world who are sick and suffering in body and spirit.”

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    See also

    13/12/2006 VATICAN
    The sick must be helped to face incurable diseases and death with dignity, says Pope
    In his message for World Day of the Sick, which will be celebrate on February 11, 2007, in Seoul, South Korea, Benedict XVI urges initiatives and social policies that renew the Church’s commitment to those who suffer.

    12/02/2007 SOUTH KOREA
    Call to comfort those at the end of life from World Day of the Sick
    The president of the Episcopal Health Conference, Mgr Lazzaro You Heung-sik, told AsiaNews about celebrations for the World Day of the Sick that were held in Seoul. He talked about a renewed stimulus for coexistence, not least with marginalized people. There was an evening with youth that gave hope for the future.

    11/02/2006 VATICAN
    Pope: Always look upon the sick as people

    For the World Day of the Sick, Benedict XVI recalled the example of Jesus, who came before man "in his entirety, to heal him completely, in body, mind and spirit."



    11/02/2009 VATICAN
    Pope: Life is not a disposable good
    On the World Day of the Sick, Benedict XVI urges surrounding those in pain with concern and patience. Even suffering is mysteriously "embraced" by the divine plan of salvation.

    20/01/2008 VATICAN
    Our Lady of Lourdes, the Eucharist, hope for the sick, says the Pope
    The following is the text of the Message of Benedict XVI for the 16th World Day of the Sick, which will be celebrated on February 11th 2008 (Unofficial translation by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of the Sick).



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