World Day of the Sick.
Saturday next, February 11th, the Feast Day of
Our Lady of Lourdes and also of course St. Abbey's Day (Gobnait of Ballyvourney),
is World Day of the Sick. Pope John Paul introduced this initiative in 1993 and
said at that time that he hoped that this day would be an "intense moment
of prayer for everyone to recognise in the face of our sick brothers and sisters,
the Holy Face of Christ, who, in suffering, dying and rising again, carried out
the salvation of humanity. "
The Holy Father's message for this year focuses
on "Mental Health and Human Dignity the theme for the 2006 World Day of the
Sick. Pope Benedict XVI, in his message for this day, wishes special attention
to be given to those with mental illness and said that they "should not be
seen as a burden for their families and community. They should be given access
to necessary forms of care and treatment". He called the attention of public
opinion to the problems connected with mental illness which, by now, afflicts
one fifth of humanity and constitutes a real and authentic social healthcare emergency.
weekend the Lourdes Invalid Pilgrimage Collection will be taken up at all Masses
throughout the Diocese of Cork and Ross. Over a hundred invalids are catered for
each year in the Diocesan Pilgrimage in June and this costs a lot of money. Last
year you contributed 2,235 Euro to this cause. May I say a sincere thank you as
I recommend it once again to your generosity?
in Faith Sundav.
The Irish Bishops' Conference has published a Pastoral
Letter entitled Nurturing Our Children's Faith to mark this Sunday. This Pastoral
deals with the people and the methods that are important in communicating faith
to children. Experience shows that the faith of children is best fostered and
nurtured when home, school and parish work together in partnership.
is a summary of the Pastoral Letter:
Bishops and priests feel privileged and
happy to be present at significant moments in the lives of people. On such occasions,
whether joyful or sorrowful, faith makes a great difference.
that the faith of children is best nurtured when home, school and parish work
together in partnership.
The witness of love in the family is an irreplaceable
foundation out of which a child's faith can grow and be nourished. This witness
of love is visible in husbands and wives, in people who are parenting alone, in
childless couples, in single people, in those who care for the elderly and in
the attention given to others who are physically or mentally challenged.
people seem to have more of everything except time. The gift of time spent with
their children is one of the most precious gifts that parents can give. Time spent
in reflection, prayer and in developing a relationship with God is vital for both
parents and children. Many people devote time to works of service and caring.
Time given to others enriches all our lives. Such witness helps children to make
choices based on sound Christian values which offer an antidote to consumerism.
has shown that marriage is best able to provide the stability that allows children
to flourish. This is not to deny that goodness is to be found in other family
structures. It is important to remember that a family is holy, not because it
is perfect but because God's grace is at work in it.
The presence of caring
parents and a strong foundation in Christian values can be vital supports to adolescents
as they face the pressures of modern life.
It is in the home that children
learn the message of Christ for the first time. Family prayer, family meals, family
rituals, the use of holy water, the displaying of sacred images - all convey a
Christian approach to life.
Coming together to celebrate the sacraments
and the feasts of the Liturgical Year strengthens the bonds of unity within the
local and wider church.
As Christians our hope is rooted in Christ. Gathering
around him at Mass gives us strength to develop a loving, sensitive, forgiving
and nurturing home environment.
Parents are the first and best teachers
in the ways of faith. The teachers in school with the support of parents, chaplains,
diocesan advisers, members of religious orders and others are achieving great
things. At parish level, along with diocesan and order priests there are youth
and family ministers working to pass on the faith to the next generation. The
Church owes a debt of gratitude to all of these people and agencies and the fruits
of their work are to be seen in many signs of hope and new growth. Children's
faith is best nourished when home, school and parish work together in partnershi