11/02/2011 9:00 am
Today, on the day of the memorial of the Blessed Virgin of Lourdes, the Catholic Church marks the World Day of the Sick. It's an opportunity, as the Holy Father puts it, to "reflect upon the mystery of suffering and above all to make our communities and civil society more sensitive to our sick brothers and sisters."
"Dear brothers and sisters, on this World Day of the Sick, I also invite the authorities to invest more and more in healthcare structures that provide help and support to the suffering, above all the poorest and most in need, and addressing my thoughts to all dioceses I send an affectionate greeting to bishops, priests, consecrated people, seminarians, health-care workers, volunteers and all those who dedicate themselves with love to treating and relieving the wounds of every sick brother and sister in hospitals or nursing homes and in families: in the faces of the sick you should know how to see always the Face of faces: that of Christ."
You can download the full text of Pope Benedict's message for this year below:
A Prayer for the sick
you went about doing good and healing all.
We ask you to bless those who are sick.
Give them strength in body, courage in spirit,
and patience in pain.
Let them know that you are with them and
may you touch them with your healing presence
you who live and reign for ever and ever.