Adelaide to host World Day of the Sick

Pope Benedict XVI has chosen Adelaide to host the World Day of the Sick, which will once again bring to Australia hundreds of Catholic bishops and health experts from around the world.

CLICK HEREThe 2002 World Day of the Sick was held in Sydney.

The Advertiser reports that the gathering will include up to 30 Vatican dignitaries, although the Pope will not attend. The annual event is significant on the Catholic calendar and highlights the plight of the ill and frail.

Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson suggested the city after Papua New Guinea indicated it did not have the resources to host the event. The major focus will be mental health and human dignity.

"We are delighted to be hosting the 2006 World Day of the Sick, which will bring health and the dignity deserved by the sick and dying to the forefront of the global community's conscience," said Archbishop Wilson.

"Health issues, such as mental health and aged care, are affecting all countries and our response to the care of those in need is a good indicator of a compassionate society."

Head of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan was in Adelaide yesterday to announce the Pope's decision.

He revealed Pope Benedict had a deep personal interest in the plight of the mentally ill, after the Nazis killed a mentally-ill relative.

Mexican-born Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan yesterday met Archbishop Wilson to plan for the event. Cardinal Barragan said the Pope would send an emissary, yet to be announced, to deliver his World Day of the Sick message.

"For me mental illness (would be) something like a nightmare," he said. "The mind is in darkness. We must take care of the needy. They are among the most needy."

The event includes a public conference, civic reception for dignitaries and a mass at St Francis Xavier's Cathedral where the sick will be anointed with holy oil.

World Day of the Sick was instituted by Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1992, to bring more attention to human suffering and to recognise the importance of carers of the sick and frail.

The first World Day of the Sick was celebrated at the Marian Shrine of Lourdes, in France, in 1993. It takes place in a different continent each year to celebrate February 11 -- the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, whose shrine in France has become a temple of human suffering.

World Day of the Sick has been held in Africa, Lebanon and Italy. It is the second time the event has been staged in Australia, with Sydney hosting the day four years ago (see notes below for timeline). In 2001 in Sydney, more than 3000 people attended a special Mass for the sick at St Mary's Cathedral on the World Day of the Sick.

Vatican hands Adelaide key religious coup (The Advertiser 29/9/05)
Pope picks Adelaide for global event in 2006 (Catholic Communications Adelaide 30/9/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care
Pope John Paul II - Messages - World Days of the Sick
Catholic Health Australia - World Day of the Sick
Archdiocese of Adelaide

Cameroon hosting today's World Day of the Sick (CathNews 11/2/05)
Lourdes celebrates World Day of the Sick (CathNews 10/2/04)
Call for better community care for aged on World Day of the Sick (CathNews 11/2/03)
Pope blesses Holy Land pilgrimage of disabled (CathNews 13/2/02)

Pope picks Adelaide to host conference (The Age/Australian Associated Press 29/9/05)

30 Sep 2005