Monday, 4 February 2008

World Day for the Sick: 11th February 2008

The theme for this year's World Day for the Sick is "The Eucharist, Lourdes and Care for the Sick". It therefore links two of the big international Catholic celebrations taking place in 2008 - the 150th anniversary year of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes and the International Eucharistic Congress taking place in Quebec, Canada in June. Pope Benedict XVIs message for the day can be found at the Vatican website. Another worthwhile read is the recent post of Catholic mom of 10 about her own illness.

The Vatican has its own "think tank" on matters relating to the world of healthcare. It is called the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral of Health (or variations upon, depending on how you translate from Italian into English!). The Council organises an annual conference on an issue related to healthcare and also leads on the World Day for the Sick. They publish an academic journal "Dolentium Hominum", which is published in several languages one of which is English. The conference ususally examines an issue very thoroughly, looking at clinical and epidemiological aspects, theological and spiritual aspects, practical and pastoral aspects, and the perspectives of other Christian denominations and religious faiths. The internet presence of the Pontifical Council is not as well organised as it might be. I know that the library of the Linacre Centre in London, UK, have a complete set of "Dolentium Hominum". We might keep the work of the Pontifical Council, and of all those involved in pastoral work with the sick and medical staff, in our prayers on 11th February.

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