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Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Vatican City, 22 February 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a Message to Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida and president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, for the Fraternity Campaign traditionally promoted by the Brazilian Church during Lent. The theme for the 2012 campaign is: "Health spreads over all the earth".

In his Message the Pope recalls how the purpose of the campaign is "to arouse a greater fraternal and community spirit in caring for the sick, and to invite society to ensure that everyone has access to the means necessary for a healthy life".

The biblical theme of the campaign - taken from Ecclesiasticus - reminds Christians that health goes beyond bodily well-being. When Jesus healed the paralytic, before causing the man to walk again, He forgave him his sins, "showing us that the perfect cure is the forgiveness of sin, Health par excellence is health of the soul, 'for what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?' In fact, in Latin the words for 'health' and 'salvation' have their roots in the same term, and in the Gospel the activity of the Saviour of mankind is associated with many episodes of healing".

Benedict XVI expresses his hope that the campaign "may arouse increasingly profound solidarity with sick people in the hearts of the faithful, and of all people of good will. The sick often suffer more through solitude and abandonment than through their infirmity. We must remember the Jesus identified Himself with them: 'I was sick and you took care of me'. At the same time we must help them discover that, although sickness is a difficult trial, it can also, in union with the crucified and risen Christ, be a form of participation in the mystery of Jesus' suffering for the salvation of the world. Indeed, 'by offering our pain to God through Christ, we can share in the victory of good over evil, because God makes our offering, our act of love, fruitful'".

The Pope concludes his Message by invoking the intercession of Our lady of Aparecida, that the Lord may grant everyone, and especially the sick, "comfort and strength in accomplishing the duties specific to their individual, family or social condition, that these may become a source of health and progress in Brazil, making it fertile in sanctity, economically prosperous, even-handed in the distribution of wealth, joyful in public service, equitable in power and fraternal in development".

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