Prayers

2012 World Day of the Sick

“Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17:19)

Call to Prayer

Leader: Since 1992, Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI have called the worldwide Church to raise its awareness of the faith community’s role in the work of health care. In his message for this day, Pope Benedict reflects on St. Luke’s account of the cure of the 10 lepers (Lk. 17:11-19). He also notes that the sacraments of Healing, Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick are expressions of God’s loving presence through concrete signs of hope and compassion.

This day also coincides with the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. For many around the world, Lourdes is a place of hope; a symbol of the promise of healing offered by Jesus.  And so, with the same hope that brings so many pilgrims to Lourdes, let us pray in solidarity with those who are sick and those who serve the sick around the world. May we also renew our commitment to heal as Jesus healed.

(An opening hymn may be sung, or you can view the video reflection developed by CHA. )

Reflection on Scripture

Leader: Let us listen to a reading from the Gospel of Luke (17:11-19).

Reader: As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

Moment for Silent Reflection

Leader: Let us listen to a brief reflection on this Gospel passage, written by Pope Benedict XVI in his message for this day:

Reader: “The faith of the lone leper who, on seeing that he was healed, full of amazement and joy, and unlike the others, immediately went back to Jesus to express his gratitude, enables us to perceive that reacquired health is a sign of something more precious than mere physical healing. It is a sign of the salvation that God gives us through Christ; it finds expression in the words of Jesus: your faith has saved you. Those who in suffering and illness pray to the Lord are certain that God’s love will never abandon them, and also that the love of the Church, the extension in time of the Lord’s saving work, will never fail. Physical healing, an outward expression of the deepest salvation, thus reveals the importance the human person – in the entirety of soul and body – has for the Lord. Each sacrament, for that matter, expresses and actuates the closeness of God himself, who, in an absolutely freely-given way, ‘touches us through material things … that he takes up into his service, making them instruments of the encounter between us and himself. The unity between creation and redemption is made visible. The sacraments are an expression of the physicality of our faith, which embraces the whole person, body and soul.’” (Homily, Chrism Mass, 21 April 2010, n.1)

From the Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
for the Twentieth World Day of the Sick

Anointing of the Sick and/or Blessing of the Sick and Caregivers

At this point of the service, if a priest is available, the community may celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Alternatively, a blessing for the sick that are present may be offered in the following way:

The congregation is invited to extend their hands in blessing over the sick while a prayer leader leads the following blessing:

Leader:  May the God of all consolation bless you in every way and grant you peace.

All:  Lord, bless your people.

Leader:  May God free you from all anxiety and strengthen your hearts in love.

All:  Lord, bless your people.

Leader:  May God enrich you with gifts of faith, hope and love, keeping you close even in the midst of illness.

All:  Lord, bless your people.

Caregivers of the sick may be called forward to receive a blessing by laying on of hands or an anointing of hands using olive oil. The blessing or anointing may be accompanied with the words “May God bless you and keep you strong in service to those most in need.”

(Alternatively, you can view the video reflection developed by CHA.)

Prayers of Petition

Leader: Let us now continue our prayer for the sick who are with us, all caregivers and for the needs of people around the world.

Our response to each prayer is:  Lord, strengthen your people.

For those who suffer from famine, poor housing and a lack of clean water, that their governments, aided by developed nations, will work to address their basic human needs, we pray …

All:  Lord, strengthen your people.

Leader: For those living with HIV/AIDS, the mentally ill and others often treated as the lepers of our own day, that we will respond to them with the same ready courage and compassion modeled by Jesus himself, we pray …

All:  Lord, strengthen your people.

Leader: For doctors, nurses and other professional caregivers everywhere, that they will remain committed to their role as healers and be supported in their chosen vocation, we pray …

All:  Lord, strengthen your people.

Leader: For leaders entrusted with health care policy, that their work may be guided by principles of justice and respect for individual conscience, we pray …

All:  Lord, strengthen your people.

Leader: For pastoral care chaplains who are symbols of God’s healing touch among us, that they continue to be a gentle presence to patients, families and staff, we pray …

All:  Lord, strengthen your people.

Leader: For all communities of faith in our area, that they see us as an extension of their ministry, a holy place of healing, and a support for their service to others, we pray …

All:  Lord, strengthen your people.

Leader: On this Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes we pray that Mary, help of the sick, will remain for us a model of compassion and generous response to those in need, we pray …

All:  Lord, strengthen your people.

Closing Prayer for All: Gentle and loving God, we thank you for this gathering today. We stand in solidarity with people around the world, all part of your creation. We stand with healers and those in need of healing. Bless our work. Confirm in us our commitment to be help for the sick and hope for all who suffer in any way. We ask this of you, our creator, our healer, our hope, now and forever, Amen.

(A closing hymn may be sung.)