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SHC celebrates WDS with Mass and anointing of the sick

Abp Wong anoints the palm of one of the parishioners after Mass, 11 Feb 2017, Sacred Heart Cathedral KK.

KOTA KINABALU – Sacred Heart Cathedral here celebrated 25th World Day of the Sick with Mass and anointing of the sick on 11 Feb 2017, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Over a thousand faithful turned up to join Archbishop John Wong and his four assistants – Fathers Rhobby Mojolou, Max Hontor, Mitchelly Kiun, and Joshua Liew – for the celebration.

Many of those who came were in wheelchairs, elderly and infirmed.

The anointing of the sick took place immediately after the Mass.  Refreshments were served for those who needed it after the anointing at the parish centre.

In his message for this day dated 8 Dec 2016, Pope Francis wrote:

This great wealth of humanity and faith must not be dissipated. Instead, it should inspire us to speak openly of our human weaknesses and to address the challenges of present-day healthcare and technology. 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. –  “Amazement at what God has accomplished: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me…’ (Lk 1:49)”

Pope John Paul II initiated the day in 1992 to encourage people to pray for those who suffer from illness and for their caregivers. The Pope himself had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s a year before, in 1991, and it is considered that his own illness was impetus for his designation of the day.

World Day of the Sick was first observed on 11 Feb 1993. February 11 is also the Catholic Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes,  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. The Church canonised Bernadette as a saint several years later.

A press conference was held on 6 Feb 2017 in the Holy See Press Office to present the 25th World Day of the Sick (solemn edition), to be held in  Lourdes, France on Feb 11. The conference also provided the opportunity to present the New Charter for Healthcare Workers authored by the late Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the then-Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care.

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