Skip to content

Encouragement on World Day of the Sick

Gospel Reveals Meaning of Suffering, Says John Paul II

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 11, 2004 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave at today's general audience, on World Day of the Sick.

* * *

1. Today we go in thought to the famous Marian Shrine of Lourdes, located in the Pyrenees Mountains, which continues to attract crowds of pilgrims from all over the world, among whom are so many sick people. The principal events of this year's World Day of the Sick are taking place there, an event that, by a now consolidated custom, coincides precisely with the liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes.

This shrine was chosen not only because of the intense relation that links it to the world of illness and the agents of health pastoral ministry. Thought was given to Lourdes above all because 2004 marks the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which took place on December 8, 1854. Fours years later, in 1858 in Lourdes, the Virgin Mary, appearing in the Grotto of Massabielle to Bernadette Soubirous, introduced herself as "the Immaculate Conception."

2. We now go in spiritual pilgrimage to the feet of the Immaculate Conception of Lourdes, to participate in the prayer of the clergy and faithful, and especially of the sick gathered there. The World Day of the Sick is a strong call to rediscover the important presence of those who suffer in the Christian community, and to increasingly value their precious contribution. From a simply human point of view, pain and illness might appear as an absurd reality: However, when we allow ourselves to be enlightened by the light of the Gospel, we succeed in appreciating its profound salvific meaning.

"From the paradox of the Cross," I underlined in the message for today's World Day of the Sick, "springs the answer to our most worrying questions. Christ suffers for us. He takes upon himself the sufferings of everyone and redeems them. Christ suffers with us, enabling us to share our pain with him. United to the suffering of Christ, human suffering becomes a means of salvation" (No. 4).

3. I now turn to all those who are feeling the weight of suffering in body and in spirit. To each of them I renew the expression of my affection and of my spiritual closeness. At the same time, I would like to remind you that human existence is always a gift of God, even when it is marked by physical sufferings of all kinds; a "gift" to be valued by the Church and by the world.

Certainly, whoever suffers must never be left alone. In this connection, I am happy to address a word of profound appreciation to those who, with simplicity and a spirit of service, are by the side of the sick, seeking to relieve their sufferings and, insofar as possible, to free them of illness thanks to the progress of medicine. I am thinking especially of health agents, doctors, nurses, scientists and researchers, as well as hospital chaplains and volunteers. It is a great act of love to take care of those who suffer!

4. "Sub tuum praesidium ...," we prayed at the beginning of our meeting. "We seek refuge under your protection," Immaculate Virgin of Lourdes, who are for us the perfect model of creation according to the original plan of God. To you we entrust the sick, the elderly, persons who are alone: relieve the pain, dry the tears, and obtain for each one the necessary strength to accomplish the divine will.

Be the support of all those who alleviate the pains of brothers every day. And help us all to grow in knowledge of Christ, who with his death and resurrection has defeated the power of evil and death.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

[At the end of the audience, the following summary was read in English:]

As we remember the annual observance of the World Day of the Sick, our hearts turn to the famous Marian sanctuary of Lourdes, which continues to draw pilgrims from throughout the world and is the principal location for today's celebration. Kneeling at the feet of Our Lady of Lourdes, we are spiritually united with all those who have gathered together in prayer at that holy place.

Believing that those who suffer should never be left alone, he [the Holy Father] offers a word of gratitude to all who with simplicity and a spirit of service assist the sick. He prays that through the intercession of Mary, we may grow in our knowledge of Christ who has forever conquered the power of evil and death.

[The Pope then greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English, he said:]

I am pleased to greet the English-speaking pilgrims present at this audience, especially those from Ireland, Denmark and the United States of America. Upon you and your loved ones, I invoke the Lord's blessings of health and joy.


Vatican City , VA
Pope John Paul II - Holy See, 661 869-1000



Sick, Pope, Suffering, World Day

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.