Pope Francis, in his message for the 25th World Day of the Sick, announced the years’ theme of celebration to be “Amazement at what God has accomplished: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me….’” (Lk 1:49). Pope Francis, through his message spoke about the importance of this day in our lives as Christians “It is an occasion for those who generously assist the sick, beginning with family members, health workers and volunteers, to give thanks for their God-given vocation of accompanying our infirm brothers and sisters. This celebration likewise gives the Church renewed spiritual energy for carrying out ever more fully that fundamental part of her mission which includes serving the poor, the infirm, the suffering, the outcast and the marginalized”.
In the year of 1992, Pope John Paul II, initiated the observation of 11th February as the ‘World Day of the Sick’ as a way for believers to offer prayers for those suffering from illness. With this initiative the Pope encouraged people to pray for the sick and for their caregivers. Coincidentally, the 11th of February is also the Catholic Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is a name given to the Virgin Mary in honour of the apparitions that were said to have been seen in and around Lourdes, France, by a young girl called Bernadette Soubirous, who was several years later canonized by the Church.
The message of Pope Francis was specially noted on the need of showing respect for life and use correct approach to the bioethical issues “On this World Day of the Sick, may we find new incentive to work for the growth of a culture of respect for life, health and the environment. May this Day also inspire renewed efforts to defend the integrity and dignity of persons, not least through a correct approach to bioethical issues, the protection of the vulnerable and the protection of the environment”.