Pope announces mental health focus for Adelaide World Day of Sick

Pope Benedict XVI has nominated mental health and human dignity as the focus of the 14th World Day of the Sick to be hosted in Adelaide from February 9 to 11.

CLICK HEREA statement from the Archdiocese says the event will culminate with a Mass in St Francis Xavier's Cathedral.

During the mass, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and a special blessing for the sick will be administered. At the Mass, a delegate yet to be chosen will present the Holy Father's special message on "mental health and human dignity" - the theme for the 2006 World Day of the Sick (available for download now - see links below).

In his message, released overnight, Pope Benedict said the event in Adelaide will underline the seriousness of the problems surrounding mental health around the world.

"On that occasion, the Church intends to bow with especial solicitude to the suffering, calling the attention of public opinion to the problems connected with mental disturbance, which by now afflicts a fifth of mankind and constitutes a real and authentic social-health care emergency," the Pope says in his message.

Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson yesterday announced that the World Day of the Sick will open with a one-day conference led by speakers renowned in Australia's mental health sector.

Keynote speaker Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, who heads the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, will open the conference. Also included will be Ian Hickie, director of the Brain and Mind Institute and Professor of Psychiatry at Sydney University, and Anne Deveson, author and member of the New South Wales Mental Health Review. The full program is posted on the World Day of the sick website (see link below).

Archbishop Wilson said the conference will be followed by a workshop involving Cardinal Barragan, health care workers, carers and people interested in health care from across Australia. The workshop is hoping to develop a set of recommendations about mental health care which will be put to church and government bodies for action.

"Bishops from across Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific will join hundreds of health professionals, academics, carers, State and Federal government representatives and the general public in this special three-day event showcasing Adelaide, its people and the tireless army of carers devoted to the sick, frail and elderly in our community," he said.

"We will present some of Australia's leading experts on mental health and human dignity, we will visit the sick, the homeless and the mentally ill and we will endeavour to make inroads to what has become one of the biggest health problems affecting the world today.

"Next year's World Day of the Sick is aimed at challenging us to engage and experience the needs of those who are most vulnerable in our society and is an opportunity for those who work in the heath care sector to reflect on their work and how it can be seen as a continuation of the healing mission of Jesus."

Pope highlights mental health care emergency as program is announced for World Day of the Sick to be held in Adelaide (Archdiocese of Adelaide 8/12/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Day of the Sick, Adelaide 9-11/2/05
Pope's speech for World Day of Sick (PDF 178k)
Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care
Pope John Paul II - Messages - World Days of the Sick
Archdiocese of Adelaide

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9 Dec 2005