On World Day of the Sick

"It is necessary to support the development of palliative treatments that offer integral care and dispense to incurably sick people that human support and spiritual accompaniment they so need," the Pope said today before praying the Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.

On the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Holy Father reminded that this year he dedicated the day to the material and spiritual assistance of the incurably or terminally ill.

The main events of the 15th World Day for the Sick took place in Seoul, South Korea. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, attended those events as a special papal envoy.

In his address today Benedict XVI sent greetings "to health agents worldwide, aware of the importance in our society of their service to the sick."

The Pope also expressed his "spiritual closeness and affection to our sick brothers and sisters, with a special remembrance for those who are affected by particularly serious or painful illnesses."

Recalling that today marks almost 150 years since the 1858 apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Holy Father invited the sick to listen to Mary so that they "receive the encouragement to accept their sufferings and to offer them for the salvation of the world, uniting them to those of Christ crucified."

In the afternoon Benedict XVI met with thousands of sick people, who earlier attended a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's vicar for Rome.


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