February 11 is commemorated as the World Day of the Sick. The day was established by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1992 to offer prayers for those who are suffering from illnesses. In establishing the day, Pope John Paul II said that he desired it to be "a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one's suffering for the good of the Church, and of reminding everyone to see in his sick brother or sister the face of Christ who, by suffering, dying, and rising, achieved the salvation of mankind."
Pope Saint John Paul II chose February 11 as the date because it coincides with the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, a title given to the Blessed Mother after her appearances to St. Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France, in 1858. Each year, millions travel to Lourdes, seeking healing.
The World Day of the Sick is also an opportunity to recognize the ministry of health-care workers, hospital chaplains, and all who care for the sick, serving as a reminder that they are carrying on the healing ministry of Christ.
"Thanks to their expertise, they can make patients feel the presence of Christ who consoles and cares for the sick, and heals every hurt. Yet, they too are men and women with their own frailties and even illnesses. They show how true it is that 'once Christ’s comfort and rest is received, we are called in turn to become rest and comfort for our brothers and sisters, with a docile and humble attitude in imitation of the Teacher,'" (Angelus, 6 July 2014) Pope Francis wrote in his message for the 28th annual World Day of the Sick.
Each year on the World Day of the Sick, or a day close to it, Bishop Robert Deeley celebrates a Mass of the Anointing of the Sick. This year, the Mass will celebrated Wednesday, February 12, at 9:30 a.m. at Mount Saint Joseph Residence & Rehabilitation, located on 7 Highwood Street in Waterville.
The anointing of the sick is administered to individuals suffering from physical, emotional, or mental illness. It is also administered to those having surgery, even routine procedures. In addition, the sacrament is appropriate for elderly weakened by advanced age or suffering from chronic or long-term illnesses. Anyone struggling or recovering from alcoholism or other addictions can also be anointed, as can individuals being treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or physical therapies.
World Day of the Sick Commemorations in the Diocese of Portland
• Houlton - The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be offered on Saturday, February 9, following the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Masses at St. Mary of the Visitation Church, 112 Military Street in Houlton.
• Island Falls - The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be offered on Saturday, February 8, following the 4 p.m. Mass at St. Agnes Church, 76 Sewall Street in Island Falls.
• Old Town - A Mass of Healing and Anointing of the Sick will be held on Saturday, February 20, at 10 a.m. at Holy Family Church, 429 Main Street in Old Town. There will also be the oppotunity for the sacrament of reconciliation beginning at 9 a.m.
• Waterville - Mass of the Anointing of the Sick celebrated by Bishop Robert Deeley on February 12 at 9:30 a.m. at Mount Saint Joseph Residence & Rehabilitation, 7 Highwood Street in Waterville.
** All Prayers are from the Catholic Health Association of the United States