The World Day of the Sick is an awareness day where people from around the globe come together in prayer by praying for those who are suffering from medical ailments. It is also associated with wishing good health to the personnel who alleviate the sufferings of the sick. The day is celebrated by providing the sick with medicine, food, and spiritual guidance.
The World Day of the Sick was an initiative by Pope John Paul II in order to motivate people to pray for individuals who are unwell and also their caregivers. The Pope had been afflicted with Parkinson’s disease the year before, in 1991, and it is believed that his condition was the basis for his designation of the day.
On February 11, 1993, the inaugural World Day of the Sick was commemorated. February 11 is also the Catholic Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, a name given to the Virgin Mary in commemoration of the apparitions alleged to have been seen by a little girl named Bernadette Soubirous in and near Lourdes, France. Bernadette was later canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church.
This year’s theme of the World Day of Sick is “Standing beside those who suffer on a path of charity”.
On this day, the Pope delivers a unique message centered upon the theme. A Mass of the Anointing of the Sick is held in Catholic churches across the world. The anointing of the sick is given to individuals who have physical maladies but are also emotionally or mentally afflicted.
Sickness has been a part of the human experience since the dawn of time. Throughout history, humans have been attempting to discover remedies for various ailments. Diagnosis and treatment of illnesses have substantially improved as a result of contemporary science and technology. However, the World Day of the Sick is still celebrated as means of providing spiritual strengthening to those who are suffering.