Skip to content

Vatican Message for 53rd World Day of Leprosy

"Lord, if You Will, You Can Make Me Clean"

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is the message of Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, for the 53rd World Day of Leprosy, which will be observed Jan. 29.

* * *

Message of His Eminence
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán
President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care,
to Their Excellencies the Presidents of National Bishops' Conferences
and Bishops Responsible for Pastoral Care in Health

LIII World Day of Leprosy
Sunday 29 January 2006

"Lord, if you will, you can make me clean" (Matthew 8:2)

1. Faithful to her teacher and Lord, Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church always maintains alive and operational her awareness of being sent into the world to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick (cf. Matthew 10:1; Mark 6:3; Luke 9:1-6; 10:9).

Like Jesus who met the man suffering from leprosy, heard his cry "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean," healed him and restored him to social life (cf. Matthew 8:2-4), the Church on this 53rd World Day for Those Afflicted by Leprosy wishes to listen to the very many people in the world who are still afflicted by Hansen's disease, that is to say leprosy, and, through the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, wants to give voice to their cry for help so that all of us together feel involved with our various capacities and responsibilities in the commitment to offer practical answers to the need for the care and treatment of those suffering from leprosy.

2. Although, in fact, scientific, pharmacological and medical progress allows us today to have available effective pharmaceuticals and forms of treatment to cure leprosy in its early stages, there nonetheless remain broad swathes of sick people and vast regions of the world that do not yet have these possibilities at the level of treatment because of various causes which should be analyzed and assessed.

Some statistics presented by the World Health Organization make us reflect: At the beginning of 2005 the declared cases of leprosy in Africa were 47,596, in America 36,877, in Southeast Asia 186,182, in the Eastern Mediterranean 5,398, and in the West Pacific 10,010. Fortunately, according to the WHO, certain statistics exist that refer to a regression of this disease, at least according to the declared data: From 763,262 people suffering from leprosy in 2001 the figure fell to 407,791 in 2004.

The just and shared satisfaction at the results that have been achieved in the fight against Hansen's disease should not mean less commitment or that the permanent needs, the endemic causes of this disease, the prejudices that still exist, and possible dysfunctions at an organizational level, should be forgotten about.

A decline in the attention that is paid to this problem would be especially injurious specifically at a moment when -- if we strongly wanted it -- a decisive effort could be made to finally, and in every part of the world, eliminate the disease of leprosy.

3. This commitment certainly requires better and more constant cooperation between international organizations, national and regional governments, those non-governmental organizations that are involved in this field, local Churches, and bodies operating at a local level, as regards specific and interconnected programs designed to respond in a more effective way to contemporary needs at the level of prevention and the treatment of people who are at risk or who are already afflicted by leprosy.

Among the needs to which we are called to respond today, in addition to the development of more efficient and guaranteed organization and channels for the free distribution of pharmaceuticals, and careful attention to hygiene, there is the need to create and train, above all else in the various countries and regions where leprosy is most present, groups of social/health care workers who are able to act in the local areas, diagnosing in good time the presence of this disease and treating it both at its initial stage and at the stage of its growth.

From this there follows, on the one hand, the need for suitably programmed projects of training, and, on the other, the need to have more precise knowledge about the realities and the regions that are not sufficiently served or not yet reached by the various social programs and programs of treatment.

4. The Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care wishes to address a special and affectionate thought on this 53rd World Day of Those Afflicted by Leprosy to all the Christian communities spread throughout the world, their pastors, and to all men and women missionaries, to express to them profound and fraternal gratitude for their deep commitment in the fight against the disease of leprosy and in providing loving care to people those afflicted by it. Indeed, one cannot forget how the Church has always in so many countries of the world worked with total devotion to the welcoming, the care and treatment, and the social reintegration of those who have, or who have had, leprosy.

The celebration of this 53rd World Day must become for all our communities an invitation to renew our shared commitment to solidarity, to sensitization to this problem, to support for those of our missions that are especially involved in this field, and to those who work at different levels in the fight against the disease of leprosy.

On 29 January, in particular, we invite our communities to "remember" during the Eucharistic Celebration of the Total Body of Christ present in so many people and in families that still suffer because of the disease of leprosy, with the hope and wish that the Eucharist, the actualization and expression of the saving love and solidarity of God for us and for all men, becomes a spring of our greater love and solidarity towards people suffering from, and sick with, leprosy, a spring that is able to build up a more just, a more fraternal, mankind, a mankind at peace.

This will be a practical way of showing that "God is Love which saves, a loving Father who wants to see his children look upon one another as brothers and sisters, working responsibly to place their various talents at the service of the common good of the human family. God is the unfailing source of the hope which gives meaning to personal and community life" (Benedict XVI, Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, 1 January 2006).

[From a translation issued by Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers]


Catholic Online CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Leprosy, Vatican, Barragan, Health, Workers

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.