Lourdes celebrates World Day of the Sick

 The Twelfth World Day of the Sick is being celebrated from today to Wednesday at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. The theme this year is: 'The Immaculate Conception and Health Care in the Christian Roots of Europe.' Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry announced the day last week at a press conference in Rome attended by Bishop Jose Luis Redrado, OH and Fr Felice Ruffini, MI, secretary and undersecretary respectively of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, metropolitan archbishop of Lyon and head of health care ministry for the French Episcopal Conference, and Bishop Jacques of Tarbes and Lourdes, France. Cardinal Lozano explained that this year the World Day of the Sick will take place in Lourdes because "this year marks the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and it was in Lourdes that Mary in one of her apparitions said that she was the Immaculate Conception. In addition, Lourdes was the first place where the World Day of the Sick was celebrated and the Holy Father desired that this day be celebrated on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes." He said: "Our objective is to renew health care ministry all over the world and especially in Europe through the celebration of this Marian anniversary. We think that in the Christian roots of Europe there is always the search for harmony through Christ; and Mary in her Immaculate Conception begins this Christian harmony that will mean fullness in health and life in her Assumption. For this reason, we chose this theme." Three days of celebrations are scheduled: 9 February is being dedicated to studying health care ministry in every country in Europe; on 10 February the topics of bioethics and the meaning of the Immaculate Conception as a source of health will be discussed; on 11 February the solemn welcoming of the special papal envoy is scheduled as well as a Eucharistic celebration. In addition, there will be a procession with candles and a Eucharistic blessing for the sick and many of them will receive the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. The president of the council said that they had especially invited all bishops who were presidents of the European Episcopal Conferences and those in charge of health care ministry across Europe and around the world. Source: VIS