Vatican City, 9 February 2014 (VIS) – Following today's Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled that next Tuesday, 11 February, the feast of the Virgin of Lourdes, will also be World Day of the Sick, “a propitious occasion for placing the sick at the centre of the community”, and he asked all those present to pray for them and with them, and to be close to those suffering ill-health. “In particular, let us imitate Jesus' attitude towards the sick, those who suffered from every type of malady: the Lord cares for all, shares in their suffering and opens hearts to hope”.
He also gave thanks to all healthcare professionals for their valuable work. “Every day they encounter in the sick not merely bodies marked by fragility, but also people, to whom appropriate attention and responses must be given. The dignity of the person is never reduced to his or her faculties or capacities, and is no less when that person is weak, disabled or in need of help. I also think of families, where it is normal to care for those who are sick; but at times the situation can become more difficult. ... Many people write to me, and today I would like to assure a prayer to all these families, and I say to them: do not be afraid of fragility! Help each other with love, and you will all be aware of God's consoling presence”.
The Bishop of Rome mentioned that in these days the Winter Olympics will begin in Sochi, Russia, and greeted all the organisers and athletes, expressing his hope that it will be “a true celebration of sport and friendship”.
Finally, Pope Francis offered some words to those affected by natural disasters in various countries, including those here in Rome. He assured them of his closeness and commented, “nature challenges us to be united and attentive in caring for his Creation, also to prevent, as far as possible, the most serious consequences”.