In observance of the World Day of the Sick (Feb. 11), Bishop Robert Deeley will celebrate a Mass of the Anointing of the Sick on Sunday, Feb. 13, at 10:30 a.m. at the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul on 122 Ash Street in Lewiston.
The World Day of the Sick was introduced by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1992, who called upon the faithful to pray and reflect on those who are sick and struggling. The day coincides with the Catholic Church’s celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. On Feb. 11, 1858, the Blessed Mother first appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France, which has now become a place of pilgrimage and healing. The day also recognizes and honors all who serve as caregivers.
During the Mass, Bishop Deeley will anoint the sick, administered to individuals suffering from deteriorating physical, emotional, or mental illness. It is also administered to those experiencing a sudden medical crisis or scheduled for surgery, even routine procedures. In addition, the sacrament is appropriate for elderly weakened by advanced age or suffering from chronic or long-term illnesses. Anyone struggling or recovering from alcoholism or other addictions can also be anointed, as can individuals being treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or physical therapies.
“It was instituted to remind us all that those who are sick and suffering are in need of our care and our prayer,” said Bishop Robert Deeley. “In the celebration of the World Day of the Sick, we also remind ourselves that the sick are part of the Church. Visiting the sick, comforting the dying and the sorrowing, caring for the poor and those in need of shelter. This is mercy, and mercy, after all, is the form that love takes when it encounters misery and suffering, and seeks, with compassion, to heal that misery.”
In addition to the Mass in Lewiston, several other Masses of the Anointing of the Sick are planned in Maine this weekend. All are welcome at any Mass:
St. Francis of Assisi Church
81 Court Street
Friday, Feb. 11, 8 a.m.
St. Mary of the Visitation Church
112 Military Street
Friday, Feb. 11, noon
Holy Cross Church
124 Cottage Road
Saturday, Feb. 12, 10 a.m.
They are occasions to embrace those who endure situations of suffering and weakness with mercy, love, and prayer for the comforting presence of Jesus.
“Illness cannot always be healed, but hopelessness can always be answered by kindness and care which is respectful of the dignity of the human person. The message of the Gospel is that Jesus brings love, and love brings hope,” said the bishop.