Prelate stresses family role in alleviating suffering, especially during the pandemic, in a message to mark World Day of the Sick
by Joseph Peter Calleja/ UCAN
A Filipino prelate has called on every family to ensure that they remain a cradle of love and understanding when tending to the sick.
“I want to acknowledge the great role and value of the family. For the sick, physical healing is not only what’s important, they also need attention, care and understanding from their loved ones,” Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi said on Feb. 9 in a pastoral message ahead of the World Day of the Sick.
The Catholic Church celebrates the World Day of the Sick, which falls on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on Feb. 11.
St. John Paul II, who introduced the special day in 1992, called it a special time for prayer, for offering one’s suffering “for the sick and good of the Church.”
Bishop Baylon said every sick person should know they have a family that cares and loves them.
“They need to know that their family cares. According to Pope Francis, the sick not only need physical healing but also care for holistic recuperation,” he said.
Bishop Baylon said that although it was difficult to take care of an ailing family member, prayers and presence were essential to make their suffering bearable.
“It’s not easy to take care of a family member with a lingering illness. But people must stand by the sick and make them feel they are still loved and being taken care of,” he added.
Members of the clergy usually administer the Anointing of the Sick sacrament and hear confessions during the World Day of the Sick but will be prevented from doing so this year due to quarantine protocols.
Despite the government restrictions, Bishop Baylon said the Catholic Church’s mission for the sick would continue.