The World Day of the Sick, which, according to tradition, is celebrated every February 11, "is not meant to be reduced to a mere external focus on laudable initiatives, but wants to reach out to consciences."
This Year of Faith is " a favourable
opportunity to rediscover and experience the spirit and being a good
neighbor in imitation of the Good Samaritan " in being able to see "with
compassion" and love those who need help and care, in being able to
bend down and take care of the needs of others with loving care".
Day is both "for the patients themselves and their families, for health
professionals, for Christians and all people of good will. It is a
particular moment of reflection, renewed attention and commitment by all
to the problems related to the care of life, health and suffering".
This was the central meaning of the recent message by Pope Benedict XVI,
as pointed out this morning in the Vatican by Msgr. Zygmunt Zimowski,
president of the Pontifical Council for health care professionals (for
the Pastoral Care of Healthcare workers), at the presentation of the
program for the upcoming World Day, which this year will be celebrated
at the Marian shrine of Altötting, Germany.
The Pope's message,
centred on the Good Samaritan "emphasizing the conclusion of the
parable, when Jesus after leading his party to recognize who had acted
as a" neighbour" towards the injured and abandoned on the street, ends
with a mandate: 'Go and do likewise".
"An incisive 'mandate',
because with these words the Lord today shows us the attitude and
behaviour his disciples should have towards others, especially when in
need of care."
"As a result, it is both the calling and duty of
every Christian to be a Good Samaritan, which is every man who stops
beside the suffering of another man, every man who is sensitive to the
suffering of others, who is moved by the misfortune of another, every
man who seeks and wants to be 'God's hands.' "
In the 20 years
since the establishment of the World Day, said Msgr. Jean-Marie
Mupendawatu, secretary of the Pontifical Council, the global situation
is still beset by the problems outlined at the time by Pope John Paul
II, "problems specific to different continents but united together by
the neglect of the centrality of the patient: if in Africa, Latin
America and Asia it is still possible to die from serious and persistent
deficiencies in health care, the same can not be said for Europe, North
America and Oceania, where, in the face of high-tech care, a fair and
equal access to health care is denied. "
particularly noted what Benedict XVI had said in November, when he
called the Christian medical world to bear witness to a new
evangelization, saying that "This commitment to a new evangelization
also in times of economic crisis, which diverts resources from health
care. Precisely in this context, hospitals and health care facilities
must rethink their role to ensure that healthcare, does not become a
mere 'commodity', reserved for the few, subject to the laws of the
market, rather than a universal right to secure and defend. The close
attention due to the dignity of the suffering person, in the context of
health policy the principle of subsidiarity and solidarity must never be
forgotten (cf. Enc. Caritas in Veritate, 58) . "
reason, as part of the World Day visits to the sick and their families
in care and suffering are also planned, as well as meetings with
chaplains and health professionals and the voluntary associations and