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Background: World Day of the Sick

February 11, 2013

February 11 is the 21st World Day of the Sick, a commemoration that was instituted by Blessed John Paul II and that takes place on the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. The title of Pope Benedict’s message for the day is entitled “Go and Do Likewise,” a reference to the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Each year, the day is solemnly celebrated at a different Marian shrine. In 2013, the solemn celebration takes place at the Shrine of Our Lady of Altötting (Germany), the Bavarian shrine to which Pope Benedict made pilgrimages as a child. Pope Benedict has named Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, as his special envoy to the event, and a special prayer for the occasion invokes the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, St. Anna Schäffer, Blessed John Paul II, and Blessed Mother Teresa.

In his letter instituting the commemoration, Pope John Paul wrote that the day should be “a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering for the good of the Church and of reminding everyone to see in his sick brother or sister the face of Christ who, by suffering, dying, and rising, achieved the salvation of mankind.”


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  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Feb. 11, 2013 7:09 PM ET USA

    This is a beautiful commemoration - a good time to pray the Litany of Compassion for the Sick.