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Lourdes celebrates World Day of the Sick

The Twelfth World Day of the Sick is being celebrated over three days this week at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.

This year's theme links the Immaculate Conception with health care in the Christian roots of Europe. 2004 marks the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and it was in Lourdes that Mary in one of her apparitions said that she was the Immaculate Conception.

Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry President Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan last week spoke of the World Day of the Sick in connection with the search for harmony through Christ.

He said: "Mary in her Immaculate Conception begins this Christian harmony that will mean fullness in health and life in her Assumption. For this reason, we chose this theme."

The celebrations began yesterday with a focus on the health care ministry in Europe. Today's discussion includes bioethics and the meaning of the Immaculate Conception as a source of health. The World Day will culminate tomorrow with a procession with candles and a Eucharistic blessing for the sick. Many will receive the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

The World Day of the Sick has been held on 11 February - the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes - each year since 1992. The ninth World Day of the Sick event was held in Sydney in 2001.

According to the notes in a World Day of the Sick 2004 liturgical resource produced by Catholic Health Australia (CHA), the feast highlights the "sharing of the humanity and the continuing concern that Jesus has for the sick". CHA says the occasion serves also to emphasise the fact that healing is a "holistic endeavour".

The notes describe these two aspects of the feast as the "linchpins of our call to this ministry".

"First, we are called to minister to the frail and sick as Jesus did; second, we witness to the fact that in times of stress the spiritual as well as the physical and psychological nature of the person requires attention."

Lourdes celebrates World Day of the Sick (Independent Catholic News 9/04)

John Paul II Sees Profound Link Between Mary and the Sick
At Angelus pope launches appeal for the sick and workers ( 8/2/04)
Pope reflects on Lourdes, Immaculate Conception (Catholic World News 9/2/04)
World Days of the Sick
Message of His Holiness John Paul II for the 12th World Day of the Sick (Shrine of Lourdes, France, February 11, 2004)
Catholic Health Australia Liturgical Resource for World Day of the Sick 2004
World Day of the Sick Resources (National Association of Catholic Chaplains USA)
XII World Day of the Sick to examine pastoral care, bioethics (CHAUSA)
World Day of the Sick (Lourdes Magazine)
Call for better community care for aged on World Day of the Sick (CathNews 11/2/03)

10 Feb 2004