New Zealand parishes are being encouraged to mark this year’s World Day of the Sick through prayer, reflecting on a video, anointing of the sick and a pastoral response acknowledging caregivers.
World Day of the Sick was first instigated by St John Paul II in 1992, designated to be on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11 each year.
Each year, a city somewhere in the world is nominated to mark this day of remembrance. For 2019, it will be Kolkata in India. This year, the 27th World Day of the Sick, the Holy Father is sending Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka, Bangladesh, to represent him in Kolkata, which has long been associated with St Mother Teresa. Pope Francis highlighted St Mother Teresa as a model of charity, demonstrating God’s love for the poor and sick through all she did.
The hospital chaplaincy leader in New Zealand, Tony Lenton, said: “Pope Francis says that caring for the sick requires generosity, in freely giving our time, caring for and being tender in our approach with others.”
In his message, the Holy Father draws on Jesus’s words to the apostles, “You received without payment; give without payment” (Matthew 10:8).