World Day of the Sick 2024: Message of Fr. Medard Aboue MI

Dear confreres, on this year’s World Day of the Sick, the Holy Father offers us a very important message titled “It is not good for man to be alone”. Healing the sick by healing relationships.

Our Camillian ministry offers us daily the opportunity to experience the depth of this message. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the enforced solitude we experienced allowed the entire world to better understand the importance of caring for human relationships. Those of us who had the concrete experience in the wards or with the illness itself during that period perceive even more today the importance of Pope Francis’ message. Caring for relationships is more than fundamental to our service to the sick and our own consecrated life.

Caring for relationships in our communities, delegations, and provinces is fundamental to the revitalization of our Order, as indicated by the Consulta as one of the two pillars of the Strategic Plan. Caring for relationships in our ministry, understood as a helping relationship, needs no further demonstration. I wish to insist on its importance not only with those who suffer but also with their families, with volunteers, and with the staff in the corridors of healthcare facilities, social care facilities, rectories, parishes, and families. Good care of our relationships with them multiplies infinitely the prophetic goodness of our ministry.

Let’s listen to some excerpts from the Message:
We are created to be together, not alone.
The experience of abandonment and loneliness scares us and is painful and even inhuman.
It becomes even more so in times of fragility, uncertainty, and insecurity, often caused by the onset of any serious illness.
Brothers and sisters, the first care we need in illness is the closeness full of compassion and tenderness. Therefore, caring for the sick means first and foremost caring for their relationships, all of their relationships: with God, with others – family, friends, healthcare workers –, with creation, with oneself.
Caring for relationships is the first therapy that we must all adopt together to heal the diseases of the society in which we live.
Let’s look at the icon of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37), at his ability to slow down and draw near, at the tenderness with which he soothes the wounds of the suffering brother. And so, we cooperate in contrasting the culture of individualism, indifference, and rejection and in fostering the culture of tenderness and compassion.
The sick, the fragile, the poor are in the heart of the Church and must also be at the center of our human attentions and pastoral concerns.

Let’s not forget it! Let’s entrust ourselves to Mary Most Holy, Our Lady of Lourdes, Health of the Sick, and to Saint Camillus, our founder, to be artisans of closeness and fraternal relationships.

Next year we will celebrate the 450th anniversary of the conversion of Saint Camillus. Let’s prepare for that event to continue joyfully wearing that garment with the red cross on the chest.

Wish you a meaningful celebration of the Word Day of the Sick!