From 8 to 12 February, a delegation of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, led by Cardinal Prefect Peter K.A. Turkson, will go to Calcutta, India, to take part in the solemn celebrations of the 27th World Day of the Sick, traditionally held on 11 February, memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, and which takes place simultaneously in all dioceses worldwide. The universal Church, following the example of the Good Samaritan, stoops to the sick and suffering to bring a message of hope and salvation.
The delegation will act as bearer of the Pope’s Message for the Day, on the theme “You received without payment; give without payment” (Mt 10: 8).
In a country affected by great inequality, extreme poverty, and in many cases extremely precarious hygiene and sanitation conditions, the Church intends in this way to manifest her closeness to the sick, the suffering, the poor and the excluded, in the light of the experience of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, recognized as a Saint on 4 September 2016.
Along with the delegation, the following will be present in loco: His Eminence Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, C.S.C., archbishop of Dhaka and special envoy of the Pope for the celebration; H.E. Msgr. Thomas D’Souza, archbishop of Calcutta; and H.E. Msgr. Prakash Mallavarapu, archbishop of Visakhapatnam and president of the Commission for Health of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
On the first day, the delegation will participate in a study conference dedicated to the theological foundations of health pastoral care, the New Charter for Healthcare Workers and the new frontiers of service to the marginalized poor, and will then visit the tomb of Mother Teresa at the Mother House, where the archbishop of Calcutta, H.E. Msgr. Thomas D’Souza, will preside at Holy Mass.
On the second day, there will be a visit to three health centres in Calcutta, promoted by the local Church – Shanti Dam, Prem Dam and Saint Joseph’s Home – managed by the religious Congregations of the Missionary Sisters of Charity and the Little Sisters of the Poor, who provide healthcare to the sick who are poor and abandoned, with special attention to women affected by mental health problems. In the afternoon, Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson will preside at the Holy Mass with the anointment of the sick at Saint Xavier’s College in Calcutta.
The programme also includes a meeting with the delegates for health pastoral care of the Episcopal Conferences of Asia.
On 11 February, at the Basilica of the Holy Rosary in Bandel, the solemn celebrations for the 27th World Day of the Sick will take place. Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario will preside at Holy Mass, which will be followed by the anointment of the sick.