31st World Day of the Sick ~ February 11, 2023

Excerpts from
Message of His Holiness Pope Francis, for the 31st World Day of the Sick:

To the intercession of Mary,
Health of the Sick,
I entrust all of you who are ill;
you who care for them in your families,
or through your work, research and volunteer service;
and those of you who are committed to
weaving personal, ecclesial, and civic bonds of fraternity.
To all, I impart my heartfelt blessing.

“The Encyclical Fratelli Tutti encourages us to read anew the parable of the Good Samaritan, which I chose in order to illustrate how we can move from the “dark clouds” of a closed world to “envisaging and engendering an open world” (cf. No. 56). There is a profound link between this parable of Jesus and the many ways in which fraternity is denied in today’s world. In particular, the fact that the man, beaten and robbed, is abandoned on the side of the road represents the condition in which all too many of our brothers and sisters are left at a time when they most need help. It is no longer easy to distinguish the assaults on human life and dignity that arise from natural causes from those caused by injustice and violence. In fact, increasing levels of inequality and the prevailing interests of the few now affect every human environment to the extent that it is difficult to consider any experience as having solely “natural” causes. All suffering takes place in the context of a ‘culture’ and its various contradictions…”
“…The Samaritan calls the innkeeper to “take care of him” (Lk 10:35). Jesus addresses the same call to each of us. He exhorts us to “go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37). As I noted in Fratelli Tutti, “The parable shows us how a community can be rebuilt by men and women who identify with the vulnerability of others, who reject the creation of a society of exclusion, and act instead as neighbours, lifting up and rehabilitating the fallen for the sake of the common good” (No. 67). Indeed, “we were created for a fulfilment that can only be found in love. We cannot be indifferent to suffering” (No. 68)..”


World Day of the Sick began in 1993 as an observation introduced in the “Message of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, for the First Annul World Day of Sick,” on October 21, 1992. In that message, he stated “This day, which, beginning in February 1993, will be celebrated every year on the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes, for all believers seeks to be ‘a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering for the good of the Church and of reminding everyone to see in his sick brother or sister the face of Christ who, by suffering, dying and rising, achieved the salvation of mankind.'”

In the words of Saint Pope John Paul II:
May the Blessed Virgin,
“Health of the Sick” and “Mother of the Living,”
be our support and our hope and,
through the celebration of the Day of the Sick,
increase our sensitivity and dedication to those being tested,
along with the trusting expectation of the luminous day of our salvation,
when every tear will be dried forever (cf. Is 25:8).
May it be granted to us to enjoy the first fruits of that day
from now on in the superabundant joy
— though in the midst of all tribulations (cf. 2 Cor 7:4)
— promised by Christ which no one can take from us (Jn 16:22).

If you want to provide a more tangible prayer expression to someone for whom you care, who is in need of healing, our province’s Companions of St. Anthony ministry has Perpetual Mass Enrollment Cards available through our online Friar Shop. Offerings for these cards, help support the Evangelization efforts of the Companions of St. Anthony, as well as education and formation of our student friars, care for our aged and infirm friars, and the continued apostolic works of all of our province friars in the United States, and our efforts around the world. To obtain the card shown above, visit: St. Anthony Healing & Hope [Mass Enrollment Card] for more details.

Our confreres serving at the Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua, Italy, also created an English Version of a Downloadable Prayer Card, with a St. Anthony’s Prayer for the sick and suffering.

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