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Recognize the sick as a strength of the Church, Pope urges

November 11, 2013

Care for the sick “is not a form of welfare or philanthropy, but rather the proclamation of the Gospel of charity,” Pope Francis said at a private audience on November 9.

The Pope was speaking to members of the Italian National Union for the Transport of the Sick to Lourdes and International Shrines (UNITALSI), a group that has served the sick for 110 years. The Pope praised the group’s members, who “do not turn away when faced with suffering.” They recognize a profound reality, he said: “The poor, even those who are poor in terms of health, are a wealth for the Church.”

Modern society sees suffering only as a problem, the Holy Father continued. “UNITALSI is called to be a prophetic sign and to go against this worldly logic, helping the suffering to be protagonists in society.” Addressing the sick people served by the organization, the Pope said: “Your presence … your prayer, the daily offering of your sufferings in union with those of Jesus crucified for the salvation of the world … are a spiritual resource, an asset to every Christian community.”


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