Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - "On 11 February next, on the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, the Twenty-fifth World Day of the Sick will be celebrated - said Pope Francis at the General Audience on Wednesday, February 8 -. The main celebration will take place in Lourdes, and will be presided by Cardinal Secretary of State. I invite you to pray, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, for all the sick and also for all those who care for them".
Most of the health facilities, from small clinics to large hospitals, reception centers of all kinds around the world are managed by Catholic institutions, relying on the commitment, professionalism and Christian charity of missionaries, and lay volunteers who often work among many difficulties, especially ensuring health and human assistance to the most disadvantaged social groups. There are many religious orders that are dedicated to mission in the world of health: Camilliani, Ministers of the Sick, Fatebenefratelli, Xaverians, the Daughters of Divine zeal, the Combonians, Missionaries of the Consolata ....
According to the latest Statistical Yearbook of the Church, the institutions run by the Church in the world, mainly in missionary territories, include: 5,158 hospitals most of them in America (1,501), Africa (1,221) and Asia (1,159), followed by Europe (1,042) and Oceania (235); 16,523 dispensaries, mostly in Africa (5,230), America (4,667) and Asia (3,584); 612 leprosy centers distributed mainly in Asia (313) and Africa (174). In addition there are 15,679 homes for the elderly, chronically ill and handicapped, mostly in Europe (8,304), followed by America (3,726), Asia (3,584), Africa (648) and Oceania (437). (SL) (Agenzia Fides 10/02/2017)