World Day of the Sick
Theme: “Let us fulfill the Healing Ministry in righteousness and justice”
Parish Priests, Chaplains, Superiors of Religious Houses,
Heads of Educational & Other Institutions
Archdiocese of Goa
Dear Rev. Father/Sister/Brother/Madam/Sir,
Late Revered Pope John Paul II in his letter of 13th May 1992, instituted `the World Day of the Sick’ as 11th February, the Liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes. Now, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, has instructed that this solemn celebration, (the last one was in Korea in 2007) will now be celebrated every three years, the next being in 2010, at a venue yet to be announced.
This year, in our Archdiocese, the Day and the Week will be marked emphasizing the salvific meaning and value of suffering, through Eucharistic Celebrations, Prayer Services and other activities, specially to appreciate the mission of health care workers and to promote their spiritual and moral formation. However, the sick, whether physically or mentally ill, are `the principals’ of this celebration.
What must be fully realized is that it is only God Who heals the whole human person in the way He knows best! The medical professionals, care takers including family and all those who assist in any way they can, are God’s instruments to treat, to comfort in empathy and most of all to support the ailing persons to bear their pain in total communion with Christ in His Passion, Death and Resurrection so that it becomes a source of salvation for the Universal Church and brings joy. St. Paul explains this in his letter to the Colossians (1:24) Let us then accept the real situation of suffering with courage, in a communitarian spirit of redemption as a Gift of God. All of us, specially those directly involved with their treatment and care have to actualize this through our dedicated service.
For our Healing Ministry to be righteous and just, the foremost concern must ensure that medical ethics and codes are upheld in all cases and at all times. The ailing persons, whatever their disease and their social status, specially the marginalized, have a right for respect for their lives and to dignity of their individual person, created to the likeness and image of God (Gen. 1:27). Hence holistic health should be primary concern, specially of all those in governance.
Sadly, our social reality seems to differ from this sacred truth. The state of our public and private hospitals, clinics, the condition of the facilities offered, the pathetic situation of sanitation, hygiene and disposal of medical waste and other garbage are a loud statement of violations of Rules and Norms for promotion of good health. The consequences of this gross neglect are the main causes of air and water borne and viral diseases that are prevalent today in Goa – Five members of the GMC Staff were discovered with Chikungunya!!! It is the right and duty of all citizens to demand that stringent measures are taken for proper maintenance of all facilities. Money should be spent on these needs instead of entertainment projects like IFFI, etc.
Clean air - free from pollution, clean hygienic surroundings with proper sewage and waste disposal systems, adequate supply of pure drinking water and wholesome food are basic priorities, the lack of which not only causes diseases but grave mental, psychological stress and destroys holistic health. Let us be convinced that wholesome nutrition is to be fully accepted, rather than that we fall prey to consumeristic culture of packaged and fast foods.
All of us are aware that we need to persuade our fellow citizens to a firm commitment to the promotion of holistic health. Let us then organize effective short and long term plans to actualize this.
Although aware of your heavy schedule, we urge you to constitute an Organising Committee in your Parish/Institution to plan relevant, effective Programmes, including Reflections, Prayer Services, Workshops for Discussions to formulate Action Plans, Visits to sick individuals, Homes etc.
May God bless all your endeavours abundantly.
(Fr. Valeriano Vaz)
COUNCIL FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE AND PEACE &
Institute Piedade, Near Hotel Mandovi,
Panjim, Goa – 403 001
Ref No. CSJP/ 2/Cele-50/Gen-388/09
Ref No. CG//Health/219/19/416 1st February, 2009
17th WORLD DAY OF THE SICK – Wednesday 11th February 2009)
HEALTH SUNDAY – 8th and MINISTRY WEEK - 8th to 14th February 2009)