The World Day of the Sick is held on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11 of each year. Instituted by the Holy John Paul II in 1992, this day is a day of awareness for those who are suffering from illness, often alone and isolated.
“Illness is part of our human condition. Yet, if illness is experienced in isolation and abandonment, unaccompanied by care and compassion, it can become inhumane,” says the Pope at the beginning of his 2023 message entitled “Take care of him”.
“They do not exclude us from the people of God; on the contrary, they place us in the center of attention of the Lord, who is Father and does not want to lose even one of his children along the way.
In his message, the Pontiff speaks of the need for the Church to experience listening to the Good Samaritan. “We are all fragile and vulnerable; we all need that compassionate attention that knows how to stop, approach, heal and relieve.”
In several dioceses, there are pastoral care services. In Montreal, the Service d’accompagnement spirituel des personnes malades ou âgées à domicile (SASMAD) is of particular note. This organization offers individual home visits by a volunteer. For more information, visit their website. Other resources include those developed by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.