ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II TO THE MEMBERS OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR HEALTH PASTORAL CARE Thursday, 2 May 2002 Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood, Dear Brothers and Sisters, 1. I am particularly pleased to have this meeting during the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care that offers you the occasion to examine and draft a new plan of work for the next five years. I greet the President of the Council, Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragán and thank him for
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  1 ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II TO THE MEMBERS OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR HEALTH PASTORAL CARE    Thursday, 2 May 2002    Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,  Dear Brothers and Sisters,  1. I am particularly pleased to have this meeting during the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care that offers you the occasion to examine and draft a new plan of work for the next five years. I greet the President of the Council, Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragán and thank him for his cordial words expressing your sentiments of esteem. I greet the Cardinals and my Brothers in the Episcopate, the members, consultors and experts of the Council, the Secretary and the Undersecretary as well as the other officials, priests, religious and lay people. I thank you all for the precious help you give me in such a critical area of our Gospel witness. 2. The great amount of work that your Council has accomplished in the 17 years since its foundation confirms how necessary it is that among the offices of the Holy See there should be one that is specifically designated to manifest the Church's concern for the sick, assisting those who serve the sick and the suffering, so that the apostolate of mercy on which they rely may respond ever better to the new needs (Apostolic Constitution   Pastor Bonus ,  art. 152). Let us thank the Lord for the wide range and variety of pastoral activities carried out in the field of health care around the world with the stimulus and support of your Council. I encourage you to continue in that direction with zeal and confidence, so that you can offer to the people of our time the Gospel of hope and mercy. 3. Taking a cue from the Apostolic Letter    Novo Millennio ineunte ,  at your meeting you plan to reflect on the  best way to reveal the suffering and glorious face of Christ    enlightening the world of health care, suffering and illness with the Gospel,  sanctifying the sick and health-care workers and  promoting the coordination of pastoral health care of sick persons in the Church. During this Easter season, we contemplate Jesus'  glorious face after meditating, especially in Holy Week, on his  sorrowful face. It is in these two dimensions that we find the core of the Gospel and of the Church's pastoral ministry. I wrote in my Apostolic Letter    Novo Millennio ineunte  that Jesus at the very moment when he identifies with our sin, abandoned' by the Father, he abandons' himself into the hands of the Father . In this way he lives his profound unity with the Father, by its very nature a source of joy and happiness, and an agony that goes all the way to his final cry of abandonment (n. 26). In the suffering face of Good Friday is hidden the life of God, offered for the salvation of the world. Through the Crucified One, our contemplation must be open to the Risen One. Comforted by this experience the Church is ever ready to continue her journey to proclaim Christ to the world. 4. Your plenary assembly focuses on programmes that aim at enlightening the entire world of health care with the light of the  sorrowful and glorious face   of Christ. In this perspective, it is crucial to reflect more in depth on topics that are bound up with health care, sickness and suffering, guided by a concept of the human person and his destiny that is faithful to the saving plan of God. The new frontiers opened up by  progress in the sciences of life and the applications deriving from them, have put enormous power and responsibility in man's hands. If the culture of death  prevails, if in the field of medicine and biomedical research those doing the research let themselves be conditioned by selfish and Promethean ambitions, it is inevitable that human dignity and life itself will be dangerously threatened. However, if work in the important health care sector is shaped by the culture of life,  under the guidance of right conscience, the human being will find an effective response to his deepest longings. The Pontifical Council will not fail to contribute to a new evangelization of suffering, that Christ takes on and transfigures in the triumph of the Resurrection. In this regard, the life of prayer and recourse to the Sacraments are essential, for without them the spiritual journey of the sick and of those who take care of them becomes difficult. 5. Today, the sector of health care and suffering face new and complex problems that demand a generous commitment from everyone. The dwindling number of women religious involved in this field, the difficult ministry of hospital chaplains, the problem of organizing a satisfactory and effective health care apostolate at the level of the local Churches and the approach to health-care personel who are not always in accord with the Christian vision, form a plethora of complex and problematical topics that you have certainly noticed. Faithful to its mission, your Council will continue to show the pastoral concern of the Church for sick people, it will help all who care for the suffering, and particularly those who work in hospitals, always to respect the life and dignity of the human being. To achieve such objectives it will be useful to collaborate generously with the international organizations concerned with health care.  2 May the Lord, the Good Samaritan of suffering humanity, help you always. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Health of the Sick, sustain you in your service and be your model of acceptance and love. As I assure you of my prayers, I cordially impart to you my Apostolic Blessing. ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II TO THE 17th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE IDENTITY OF CATHOLIC HEALTH CARE INSTITUTIONS    Thursday, 7 November 2002   Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood,  Dear Brothers and Sisters, 1. I am glad to meet you on the occasion of the 17th International Conference organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care. I cordially greet each of you. I extend a special greeting to Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragán, President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care whom I thank for the kind words of respect he spoke in your name and for his overview of the goals of your conference. I am pleased that your Dicastery promotes this annual initiative that is an important chance for reflection, debate and dialogue  between the ecclesial and the civil world on such a priority goal as health. The theme of the present Conference - The Identity of Catholic Health Care Institutions - has great relevance for the life and mission of the Church. In fact, in carrying out the work of evangelization, in the course of the centuries, the Church has always associated the assistance and care for the sick with the preaching of the Good  News (cf. Motu proprio  Dolentium hominum ,  n. 1). 2. Following closely the teaching of Christ, the divine Physician,  several saints of charity and of hospitality, such as St Camillus of Lellis, St John of God, St Vincent de Paul established hospices for the recovery and care of the sick, anticipating what would later become modern hospitals. The network of Catholic social and health care institutions was gradually created as a response of solidarity and charity by the Church to the mandate of the Lord, who sent the Twelve to proclaim the Kingdom of God and heal the sick (cf. Lk 9,6). In this perspective, I thank you for the steps you are taking to put fresh life into the Confederatio internationalis catholicorum hospitalium (International Confederation of Catholic hospitals)  a valid organism for responding  better to the many questions that arise in the minds of those who are involved on many fronts in the world of health care. For this reason, I encourage the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care to sustain the work realized by the Confederation so that the service of charity that is carried out in Catholic hospitals will be constantly inspired by the Gospel. 3. To understand the identity of such health care institutions  fully, one must go to the heart of what the Church is, whose supreme law is love. Catholic health care institutions thus become powerful witnesses to the charity of the Good Samaritan because, in caring for the sick, we fulfill the Lord's will and contribute to realizing the Kingdom of God. In this way they express their true ecclesial identity. It is right to review from this point of view the role of hospitals, clinics and convalescent homes.... These should not merely be institutions where care is provided for the sick or the dying. Above all they should be places where suffering, pain and death are acknowledged and understood in their human and specifically Christian meaning. This must be especially evident and effective in institutes staffed by religious or in any way connected with the Church (Encyclical Letter    Evangelium vitae ,  n. 88). 4. In the Apostolic Letter    Novo Millennio ineunte ,  referring to so many needs in our time that challenge Christian sensitivity, I recalled those  who lack even the most basic medical care (cf. n. 50). The Church looks with particular concern to these brothers and sisters allowing herself to be inspired by a new creativity in charity' (cf. ibid  .) I hope that Catholic health care institutions and public health care institutions may be able to collaborate effectively, united by the common desire to serve the human person, especially, the weakest and those who, in fact, are not socially insured. Dearly beloved, with such good wishes, I entrust all of you to the motherly protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Health of the Sick, while, with every best wish for the fruitfulness of your ecclesial service and your  professional activity, I wholeheartedly impart to you, to your families and to those who are dear to you, a special Apostolic Blessing. HOMILY OF ARCHBISHOP JAVIER LOZANO BARRAGÁN    Washington National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Tuesday, 11 February 2003 Your Eminences, Excellencies,  3 dear priests and religious sisters, Brothers and Sisters,  It is for me a great honor to represent the Holy Father John Paul the Second in this 11th World Day of the Sick. It is my duty to bring to you His blessings and greetings. His living testimony of pain and joy, reflect the  painful and joyful face of Christ and give us the courage to overcome illness as well as death, through the solid hope of the resurrection, and to proclaim together with the Pope the Gospel of Life. May I extend my cordial greetings to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the United States, and to the other 23 Conferences of Bishops of the American Countries, represented here at this memorable celebration of the 11th World Day of the Sick. The World Day of the Sick obviously concerns the whole world, but the choice to celebrate it in America, corresponds to the expressed desire of the Pope to have it every year on a different continent. This year, it was America's turn, and it marks the second celebration in America, since the first one was 7 years ago at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Mexico City. In agreement with the Holy Father, we had proposed to celebrate it either in Argentina or in the United States. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the United States warmly accepted the proposal and made all the necessary arrangements for the celebration. We particularly thank Bishop Fiorenza, former President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the United States, and Bishop Gregory, the current President, both of whom worked with great enthusiasm for the realization of this event. Our greetings and very special thanks go to the Archdiocese of Washington and her worthy and dynamic Pastor, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Together with his team, under the direction of Fr Michael Place, president of Catholic Health Association of the United States of American, and Dr Jane Belford, Chancellor of the Archdiocese, they shouldered the great and hard work of making the project of the 11th World Day of the Sick a reality. I would like to convey to Your Eminence and your team, the sincere and heartfelt thanks, both of the Holy Father and the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care. May I also cordially greet all of you, priests, religious sisters, who are particularly involved in the Health Care Ministry, all health professionals, workers, volunteers of all America, and all of you my dear sisters and  brothers present at this National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It is a great honor to be with you working together for the good of our brothers and sisters, who are suffering under all kinds of sorrow, and for the good of the entire world plagued by suffering and pain, which often remind us of the reality of death. You, as an active part of the Church, are always engaged in finding adequate answers to great and important  problems of mankind, namely: illness, pain, suffering, all kinds of evil, and death. Our world often neglects those problems and wishes to cover them up with a smoke-screen, or simply hide them. We are here to face them courageously and offer effective solutions. This is the ministry of the Church; this is the meaning of redemption and salvation. The Pontifical Council looks at the core of the problem and offers its collaboration in the effort of finding lasting solutions, through its specific task of Pastoral Health Care. In this year's message for the World Day of the Sick, the Pope opens with a quotation from the first Letter of St John, where the Apostle tells us that: We ourselves have seen and testify that the Father sent His Son, as Savior of the World ... and we have recognized ourselves and believe in the Love God has for us (I Jn 4,14-16). We are therefore, celebrating the World Day of the Sick under the sign of love. However, this celebration is not only a commemoration or an occasion to remember that all people must be compassionate towards the suffering world; that would be good, but still wanting. We have the power, not only to be compassionate, but also effectively to take away the sorrow and the anguish of this world. This is exactly our task in the liturgical celebration of the 11th World Day of the Sick. In the Holy Mass we have the experience of the whole of salvation. According to our faith, here in the holy Sacrifice we offer to the world the only true solution to evil; in a word, the only solution to death. We don't hide death or minimize it; we know it as the greatest evil there is, but in the reality of the Mass as memorial of the Lord's Death and Resurrection, death becomes a fountain of life and happiness. Today we often speak of the quality of life. In the Eucharist our life receives its true quality; here we find the authentic quality of life. Our quality of life consists in breaking through the dark limits of death and acquiring a life forever. The true quality of life ensues from our participation in the mystery of Christ, enabling us to be a reflection of the face of Christ, joyful and sorrowful at the same time. It is the victory of the paradox: The victory over death through the same death. In the Easter Liturgy we sing: Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous: The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal  (Sequence of the Easter Sunday and the Octave) . In the mystery of faith and charity, Christ takes our sorrows and converts them into happiness; but the condition is that we must fervently awaken the virtue of hope. In this way, we become members of the Body of  4 Christ, and the whole Church with her head, Christ, assumes the death of mankind and converts it into resurrection. This exactly constitutes Health Pastoral Care. This is the all-powerful love of God that from the guilty nothing of humanity on the cross creates again the new humanity in the full life of the resurrection of Christ. If we ask ourselves about the identity of Catholic Health Pastoral Care, this paradox is the distinguishing mark for the Institutions and people that wish to be considered as Catholic health care  professionals or workers. The last hurdle is death, which causes trouble and disharmony. If death is destroyed we will have harmony and  peace. By destroying death we will foster life and health. We will have life because harmony builds unity, and life is unity while death is disintegration. This is the reason why health is a tension towards harmony. So health  pastoral care or ministry is a way of achieving harmony, unity, peace, life and health. The way that leads to harmony is a long one. It means following the footsteps of Christ in building the human  person. Therefore, the rule of Health Care Ministry is the continuous building of the person. In this way we can enunciate the main principle of Christian ethics What builds man is good, what destroys him is bad. As I said  before, the paradox is that the only way by which death could build the human person is by accepting it and  being with Christ on the cross. This is the only way, through which death can be converted into a fountain of life and resurrection. Therefore, because through this Eucharistic Memorial on the 11th World Day of the Sick, we are in communion with Christ who died and rose, we are gathered here not just to awaken in us sentiments of compassion for suffering mankind, but to give the world the only way to overcome its sorrows, pains and sufferings. This is the mystery we are celebrating in the Eucharist and in the Anointing of the Sick that we will soon celebrate. We are celebrating the World Day of the Sick on the day commemorating the apparitions of Our Lady in Lourdes; in those apparitions she said, she was the Immaculate Conception ( Soy era la Inmaculada Concepcion ). And we are gathered here at the National Shrine of the United States, properly dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This is a very appropriate setting for the meaning of our celebration. In fact, the Immaculate Conception means the beginning of the creation of the perfect woman, Mary, whom God had in His eternal plan. In virtue of the grace of Christ, she is the model of human harmony, unity, life and health. Because of Her Immaculate Conception, her harmony is due to the full reception of the love of the Holy Spirit. May she pray for us, so that we may receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the strength of the resurrection of Christ. The love of the Holy Spirit gives us the unique capacity to believe, to overcome the  paradox of death and to communicate with Christ, the only way to obtain the true health. So we ask Mary,  because of Her Immaculate Conception, to pray for us, that we may lavishly receive the Holy Spirit, to help us give to the world a credible testimony of how to overcome death and obtain the true health. With the love of the Spirit and the intercession of Mary, we will understand better that only with faith, charity and hope can we overcome death and obtain true health. In this way, we can arrive at the root of all life and have the solid conviction that only love is credible. ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE 19th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR HEALTH PASTORAL CARE     Friday, 12 November 2004   Your Eminence, Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, Dear Brothers and Sisters, 1. I am pleased to welcome you on the occasion of the  International Conference of the Pontifical Council for  Health Pastoral Care  which is taking place at this time. With your visit, you have wished to reaffirm your scientific and human commitment to those who are suffering. I thank Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán for his courteous words on behalf of you all. My grateful thoughts and appreciation go to everyone who has made a contribution to these sessions, as well as to the doctors and health-care workers throughout the world who dedicate their scientific and human skills and their spirituality to relieving pain and its consequences. 2. Medicine is always at the service of life. Even when medical treatment is unable to defeat a serious  pathology, all its possibilities are directed to the alleviation of suffering. Working enthusiastically to help the  patient in every situation means being aware of the inalienable dignity of every human being, even in the extreme conditions of terminal illness. Christians recognize this devotion as a fundamental dimension of their vocation: indeed, in carrying out this task they know that they are caring for Christ himself (cf. Mt 25: 35-40).

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