Caring for the sick fulfills the Gospel of Love

 This morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father welcomed 700 participants in the 17th annual international conference sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Pastoral Ministry. The three-day conference began today in the Vatican on the theme "The Identity of Catholic Health Care Institutions." The Pope said that this theme "has great importance for the life and mission of the Church" as she has "always associated assistance to and care of the sick ... with the proclamation of the Good News." He noted that many of the "saints of charity and hospitality, such as St Camillus de Lellis, St John of God, and Vincent de Paul" founded institutions for the sick which were precursors of modern hospitals. Catholic health care institutions, he added, are "the Church's answer in solidarity and charity to the mandate of the Lord Who sent the 12 Apostles to announce the Kingdom of God and heal the sick." Pope John Paul thanked the participants for their "efforts to give a new stimulus to the International Federation of Catholic Hospitals, a valid body for answering in an ever better fashion the many questions faced by those who work in the world of health on many fronts." "To completely understand the identity of (Catholic) health care institutions," stated the Holy Father, "we need to go to the heart of what the Church is, where the supreme law is love. Catholic health institutions thus become privileged witnesses to the charity of the Good Samaritan because, in caring for the sick, we fulfill the Lord's will and contribute to realizing the Kingdom of God. In this way they express their true ecclesial identity." "In the Apostolic Letter 'Novo millennio ineunte', John Paul II said, "I recalled all those who are lacking even the most elementary medical care. The Church looks at these brothers and sisters of ours with particular concern." He expressed the hope that "Catholic health care institutions and public ones might efficaciously collaborate, united in the common desire to serve man, especially the weakest and those who in fact are not supported socially." Source: Vatican Information Service

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