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Friday, January 29, 2016

World Leprosy Day: combating disease and reintegrating survivors in society

Vatican City, 29 January 2016 (VIS) – Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, has written a message for the 63rd World Leprosy Day, the theme of which this year is "To live is to help to live".

"This Day … constitutes for everyone an opportunity to continue with the fight against this terrible infection, as well as to weaken the ostracism that often burdens the people who carry its unmistakable signs", writes the prelate. "This is a marginalisation that can be traced back to a natural sense of self-defence in relation to a disease which at one time was incurable, and to an almost ‘ancestral’ fear which, however, today no longer has any reason to exist given that leprosy can be defeated and those who have been cured of it can go back to living".

"Making its own the commitment of the Church to caring for people with leprosy and supporting those who have been cured of it, and in order to increase the sensitivity of men and women of good will, our Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, cooperating, respectively, with the Sasakawa Foundation and the Raoul Follereau Foundation, has organised two study days which will be held on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 June 2016 in the Vatican. At that event, those taking part will be able to be present at the celebration of the Eucharist presided over by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday 12 June, on the occasion of the Jubilee for the Sick and Disabled".

"We must feel ourselves committed to finding a new impetus against this disease, broadening activities involving information and prevention, but above all fostering, as a gesture of true ‘com-passion’, the social and occupational reintegration of those who have been cured of it and who – despite the fact that they carry the marks of this disease on their bodies – have maintained intact their dignity as persons", concludes Msgr. Zimowski.

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