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32nd World Day of the sick celebrated in Philippines

On February 10, 2024, Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula prays for the ill during mass in the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. (Photo: Photos from the Manila Cathedral by Eric Paul Guanlao)

The Archdiocese of Manila, Philippines, observed the 32nd World Day of the Sick at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral the day before the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the patroness of the sick.

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta in the Philippines, the archdiocese's Ministry on Health Care, healthcare professionals, and the sick people who attended the mass were present as Jose Cardinal Advincula, the archbishop of Manila, led the Eucharistic celebration on February 10. 

Cardinal Advincula addressed two points in his sermon: one for those who are sick and the second for all the people of God.

The prelate said that illness is an element of the mystery of human life and that every one of us has gone through sickness, even once in our lives. 

According to the cardinal, the church invites those who are sick to bring their “sufferings closer to the sufferings of Christ, include in your sacrifice the sacrifice of his body and blood, and use it for the good of others.” 

He added that the illness some people are going through “may have a special worth and meaning. The bitter experience of illness can be filled and softened by the love for others.”

Despite the temptations of losing hope and questioning the Lord for the sufferings of us humans, the archbishop reminded the faithful to trust in the Lord and “offer all the pain as a sacrifice for the salvation of others, just like what the Lord Jesus Christ did.” 

Cardinal Advincula also reminded the faithful that “while prayers and good wishes for our sick brothers and sisters are important, we need to combine them with concrete acts of care."  

He then encouraged those who take care of the sick to always “desire and aim for their comprehensive well-being, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, so that they can experience the fullness of life even in the middle of their difficult situation.” 

Cardinal Advincula also assured the caregivers of the sick that the blessings of the Lord would surely flow unto them, just like our Lord said, "The heart that cares and loves knows no bounds and limits."

This is why he called on everyone to “try to care for each other fully and completely, as our Lord Jesus Christ did.” 

As part of the celebration of the 32nd World Day of the Sick, all the priests who were concelebrating in the mass, as well as Cardinal Advincula, prayed over each of the sick persons who attended the mass. There was also an anointing of the oil. 

People with illnesses from all walks of life are present inside the Manila Cathedral. Some individuals were in wheelchairs, while others with severe illnesses lay on the ground as the cardinal approached to bless and pray over them.

From the time of Our Lady’s appearance to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 in the Grotto of Lourdes, France, the sick brought there have been cured of physical ailments. Additionally, the famous shrine has also provided spiritual healing to people.

As a result, each year on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11, the Church celebrates the World Day of the Sick. Pope St. John Paul II started this initiative in 1992. - Leahna Villajos


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