In Calcutta the celebrations for the 27th Day are underway, entitled "You received without payment; give without payment". The prefect of the Dicastery for Integral human development spoke about the role of health workers in the care of the suffering. The sick "are not only recipients of the work of evangelization, but also active subjects of this same apostolic action".
Calcutta (AsiaNews) - All of us Christians, as disciples of Christ, "benefit from God's unconditional love and are called to bring it to others in equal measure". This is the focus of the long speech that Card. Peter A. Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Integral human development, gave at celebrations for the 27th World Day of the Sick, in progress in Calcutta. The official date of the Day is today, the theme " You received without payment; give without payment".
The occasion was a study conference on the theological foundations of health pastoral care, the New Charter of health workers and the new frontiers of service to the marginalized poor, which took place on 9 February. To those present, the Cardinal recalled that "the Church, since its origins, has always witnessed a special care for the sick and suffering people through the work of its members and its institutions, confirming the inviolable human dignity of these people in such a special moment of their existence ".
The "guidelines" of the way Christians are called to take care of the sick have been outlined in the parable of the Good Samaritan, which invites us "to love one's neighbor", because "in the light of Christ, the mankind’s suffering acquires a new meaning ". Pain, the cardinal continues, is "neither minimized nor ignored [...] but opens up to a new form of life. While advancing in history, Christians do not ignore evil and pain, but know that in them God - through the incarnation of His Son - places the seeds of eternity and salvation ".
The prefect emphasizes that Pope Francis is among those who first invite us to give ourselves freely in service, to "see Christ in the face of the sick and the suffering". In fact, the Pope often returns to underline the sub-culture of "rejection and waste, that is, indifference towards many who suffer because of illness, poverty and abandonment".
Recalling that suffering cannot be eliminated, the Cardinal turns to health workers and invites them "to go beyond mere accompaniment, beyond the duty of solidarity, and really appreciate the presence and witness of the weakness and suffering of people, who are not only recipients of the work of evangelization, but also active subjects of this same apostolic action ".
Finally, he outlines the practical characteristics of accompaniment by operators: to adopt a specific lifestyle, which is "generous devotion"; to leave aside the search for power because "true power is service"; listen to the sick person; have joy in their heart.
Concluding, Card. Patrick D'Rozario, archbishop of Dhaka and Vatican representative at the events, read a message from the Holy Father in which he recalled the figure of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a model of "exceptional Christian charity".
(Nirmala Carvalho collaborated)