World Day of the Sick: "Go and do likewise"

2013-02-11 Vatican Radio

The Church marks the World Day of the Sick on February 11th, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Twenty-first World Day of the Sick will be solemnly celebrated at the Marian Shrine of Altötting, with the theme “Go and do likewise”, the final verse of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

“It is part of our fallen human nature to ignore those who are vulnerable and to be kind of be very selfish about our own comfort,” said Joseph Meaney, director of international coordination at Human Life International.

“I think that is what the Church tries to do with the World Day of the Sick is to point a spotlight on the fact that there is a huge amount of human suffering all over the world, and it is largely being ignored, particularly when it is the poor who do not have much of their own resources to get health care,” he said.

Meaney is currently a doctoral candidate in the Bioethics programme of Rome’s Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, which gives him the opportunity to visit the sick, and discuss the ethical implications of their treatment decisions with them and their families.

He told Vatican Radio that all Christians are given the opportunities to help those who are suffering due to illness.

“Pretty much everybody has a family member who is very sick, and who would need some compassion,” he said. “We all have a grandparent, or some elderly relative, that needs to be visited, that needs to be cared for – in some cases, sick children – but there is always an opportunity, even close to home, for Christians to take care of a person who is suffering and sick.”

Listen to the full interview by Charles Collins with Joseph Meaney: