Thursday, February 08, 2007

World Day of Prayer for the Sick – February 11

Since 1992, February 11, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, has been observed as the World Day of Prayer for the Sick. This is a good opportunity to give special attention to the needs and witness of the sick in our communities.

Below are a list of ritual suggestions which had been developed in consultation with the diocesan Pastoral Care of the Sick Committee. In addition, there are suggested general intercessions and a blessing for caregivers that can be a part of a parish celebration of Anointing of the Sick.

"When the Church cares for the sick, it serves Christ himself in the suffering members of his Mystical Body" (Decree on the Pastoral Care of the Sick, December 7, 1972).

Assessing your parish's ministry to the sick:

  • Have enough ministers been trained and commissioned to bring Communion to the sick?
  • Are parishioners encouraged to visit the sick in their homes and hospitals?
  • Are the homebound invited to participate in parish life in whatever way possible?
  • Are the sick and dying remembered in the prayers that begin parish group meetings?
  • Does the parish support other organizations that assist the sick and dying and those who are easily forgotten?

Suggestions for a parish celebration remembering the sick

  • Remind pastoral care ministers and ministers of Holy Communion to visit the sick and shut-ins of the parish.
  • Place the names of the sick in a special book that is displayed in church.
  • During February, place the names of the sick on separate pieces of paper and ask parishioners to take a name, pray for the person, and send him/her a card.
  • Use the diocesan Rite for Sending Communion Ministers to the Sick from a Parish Mass.
  • Schedule a parish Anointing of the Sick either during Mass or outside of Mass.
  • Include intercessions for the sick or use the suggested prayers below.
  • During Mass, give a special blessing for caregivers. Suggested text is below.
  • The following prayer from the United States Bishop’s “Pastoral Care of the Sick” can be printed in the bulletin or on cards for people to pray at home or at weekday Mass:
    Father, your Son accepted our sufferings to teach us the virtue of patience in human illness. Hear the prayers we offer for our sick brothers and sisters. May all who suffer pain, illness, or disease realize that they have been chosen to be saints and know that they are joined to Christ in his suffering for the salvation of the world. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Padre nuestro, tu Hijo aceptó nuestros sufrimientos para enseñarnos la virtud de la paciencia en el dolor humano. Eschucha las oraciones que te ofrecemos por nuestro(a) hermano(a) enfermo(a). Que todos los que sufren dolores, enfermedades o males se den cuenta de que han sido escogidos para ser santos y para conocer que están unidos a Cristo, que sufre por la salvación del mundo. Te lo pedimos por Cristo, nuestro Señor. Amén.

General Intercessions for the Sick

For the Church: [pause]
May we accept the challenge to respond to the needs of God’s people.
We pray to the Lord.

For all who suffer throughout the world: [pause]
May they experience the peace of Christ.
We pray to the Lord.

For all who have come today for healing: [pause]
May they be filled with new hope and strength.
We pray to the Lord.

For all who are dedicated to the care of the sick: [pause]
May they receive the grace to continue their ministry of compassion.
We pray to the Lord.

For the families and friends of those who are ill: [pause]
May their faith bring them comfort.
We pray to the Lord.

Blessing for Caregivers

Almighty God, you are lavish in bestowing all your gifts;
your mercy is without measure,
and the treasures of your goodness without limit.

We thank you for the ministry of pastoral care
with which you have graced your church.

We thank you for these, your ministers,
who faithfully give of themselves in caring for their brothers and sisters.

Send your blessing upon them;
shelter them in the shadow of your wings.

May they see you in the faces of those entrusted to their care,
and may they share your gifts with those in need
out of love for Christ our Lord who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

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