Every person is, and always remains a human being, and is to be treated as such.

This Monday, February 11th the Church celebrates World Day of the Sick. This day was instituted by Pope St. John Paul II in 1992 to encourage people to pray for the sick and for those who love and care for them. He called it “a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering”. On this date the Church also marks the celebration of the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s appearance, in 1858, to a young peasant girl in Lourdes France, whose name was Bernadette Soubirous.

Mary revealed herself to Bernadette through a series of private revelations by which she revealed herself as the “Immaculate Conception” as well as revealing the healing powers of the spring waters of Lourdes. It was by great faith that the revelations and the healing powers of the springs were shared with the world because of the courage of this simple and sick young girl.

Pope Francis entitled his message to the world for the 2017 celebration of the World Day for the Sick as, Amazement at what God has accomplished: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me…’(Lk 1:49) reminding us that Our Lady’s apparition at Lourdes to the “poor, illiterate, and ill” Bernadette shows that, “every person is and always remains a human being, and is to be treated as such. The sick and those who are disabled, even severely, have their own inalienable dignity and mission in life.” It was at Mary’s request that Bernadette pray for sinners, giving her a vocation to serve the sick, and calling her to become a Sister of Charity; all of which turned Bernadette’s frailty into support for others.

Pope Francis wants all the infirm and those who help them, to look to Mary in prayer, the “sure sign of God’s love for every human being and a model of surrender to his will.” He said that her maternal intercession would sustain and accompany our faith and would help attain from her Son Christ Jesus, “hope along our journey of healing and health… and the joy of feeling gratitude whenever God amazes us by his fidelity and his mercy.” Please join me in prayer for all of those in our parish and community who are sick, for their physicians, nurses, volunteers and families who lovingly take care of them.

Almighty God, you are the unfailing refuge of those who suffer. Please bring peace and comfort to the sick and the infirm. Give all those who look after them knowledge, patience, and compassion. Inspire them with actions which will bring relief; words which will enlighten; and love which will bring comfort. We ask this through your son, Jesus Christ.

 Amen.

St. Ann by the Sea Parish offers the Sacrament of Confession on Saturdays at 3pm in the Chapel and by appointment  at 781-834-4953.