From The Pastors Desk
 Last Updated  06-Feb-2005 0:58 AM



Sunday :6th February 2005

Friday next, Feb. 11, is World Day of the Sick. It's also the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Anybody who has ever been to Lourdes knows why it is the special day of those who share the Cross of the Lord in the form of sickness. For some it is life-long; it takes many forms - pain in varying degrees, depression, anxiety. Every bodily organ is vulnerable. Even those who enjoy and boast of enjoying robust health know that one day sickness will win the battle. So many hospitals are full to the brim.

'World Day of the Sick' was introduced by Pope John Paul in 1993 and he said at the time that he hoped that this day would be "an intense moment of prayer and a call for everyone to recognise in the face of our sick brothers and sisters, the Holy Face of Christ, who, in suffering, died and rising again, carried out the salvation of humanity". Each year the international event is held in a different continent. This year it will take place in Africa. The focus of WORLD DAY OF THE SICK on Fri. Feb. 11 is on AIDS.

AIDS is one of the most devastating epidemics of our times. Journalists are going back to the Black Death of the 14th. Century for a parallel. Every day 6,000 people die in Africa from Aids. Two million die every year. It is the principal cause of death in the 15 to 50 age band. It is spreading rapidly to other countries, including our own. My sister, who is working among the victims, tells me that so many children are left in the care of grandparents; often with nobody to care for them. It is one of the most serious diseases threatening humanity to-day, and one for which there is no cure. The Catholic Church is in the forefront in caring for Aids victims and their families in Africa.

This week we must pray for the victims and their families, and that remedies will be found. We pray too for the dedicated doctors, nurses, chaplains and staff who care for the sick, as well as for those who do so at home.

This coming weekend might be an appropriate time to visit those in hospital and in Nursing Homes.

Ash Wed, Feb. 9. It's a day of Fast and Abstinence. Those over 18 are bound by the law of fasting until their 60th. year, while all those over 14 are bound by the law of abstinence. Fasting means that the amount of food we eat is considerably reduced. Abstinence means that we give up a particular kind of food or drink, or form of amusement.. In fact every Friday during Lent is a day of penance. One could choose their own form of penance, such as abstaining from meat or some other food, or alcohol, doing a work of charity, such as visiting one who is sick or helping one who is poor. going to Mass, making a visit to the Bl. Sacrament, praying the Stations of the Cross.

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