Prayers

2013 World Day of the Sick

Call to Prayer

Leader
Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. At the request of John Paul II in 1992, this day is also recognized as the World Day of the Sick. Pope Benedict XVI continues to call for worldwide reflection on the realities of suffering and sickness in our world on the occasion of this 21st World Day of the Sick.

Reflection on Scripture (Luke 11:25-37)

Leader
Pope Benedict encourages us this year to give particular consideration to the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Reader I
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Reader II
Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and water over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’”

Reader I
Jesus asked “Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”  The scholar answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Reflection

Leader
Consider these words from the message of Pope Benedict XVI for the Twenty-first World Day of the Sick.

Reader III
The Gospel parable recounted by Saint Luke is part of a series of scenes and events taken from daily life by which Jesus helps us to understand the deep love of God for every human being, especially those afflicted by sickness or pain. With the concluding words of the parable of the Good Samaritan, “Go and do likewise,” the Lord also indicates the attitude that each of his disciples should have towards others, especially those in need. We need to draw from the infinite love of God, through an intense relationship with him in prayer, the strength to live day by day with concrete concern, like that of the Good Samaritan, for those suffering in body and spirit who ask for our help, whether or not we know them and however poor they may be.

Leader
Please take a few moments in silence to consider those persons in our health care ministry who serve as particular examples of compassion in the manner in which they serve those who suffer pain, injury or sickness.

Pause for Silence

All
We pray with gratitude and appreciation for workers in Catholic health care institutions, in civil society, in Dioceses and Christian communities. We pray for religious congregations engaged in the pastoral care of the sick, for health care workers and volunteers. We pray also for anyone who is sick and suffering, that they may find meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love.

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

Leader
Pope Benedict has entrusted this 21st World Day of the Sick to the intercession of Our Lady of Graces, venerated at the Shrine of Altotting, in Germany, that she may always accompany those who suffer in their search for comfort and firm hope.

At this point, if a priest is available, the community may celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Alternatively, a blessing for the sick who are present may be offered by inviting the congregation to extend their hands in blessing over the sick while a prayer leader leads the following blessing.

Leader 
May the God of all consolation, through the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Graces, 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 to him even in the midst of illness.

All
Lord, bless your people.

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

Prayers of Petition

Leader
Lord, grant your healing grace to all who are sick, injured or disabled, that they may be made whole. Grant to all who through illness are lonely, anxious or despondent, an awareness of your loving presence.

All
Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader
Restore those who are in mental distress to soundness of mind and serenity of spirit.

All
Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader
Bless physicians, nurses and all others who minister to the suffering, granting them wisdom, skill, sympathy and patience.

All
Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader
Grant all who serve in the ministry of health care confidence in your will and energy and courage to do the work to which they have been called. Help them to be models of encouragement so that others do not lose hope.

All
Lord, hear our prayer.

Closing Prayer

All
God of All Compassion, help us to live day by day with active concern, like that of the Good Samaritan, for those suffering in body and spirit whom we are called to serve, whether or not we know them and however poor they may be. Through the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Graces, we pray. Amen.

A closing hymn may be sung. Suggested songs include:

“There is a Balm in Gilead,” African-American spiritual; acc. By Robert J. Batastini, GIA Publications, Inc.

“Be Not Afraid,” Robert J. Dufford, SJ, and New Dawn Music.