Mother Mary, health of the sick, to place all mentally ill people in the world under her maternal protection, so that she may console them, enliven them, give them confidence and trust, strength and happiness” Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, special envoy of the Pope Benedict XVI to celebrations for the 14th World Day of the Sick told some 1,200 people gathered in St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Adelaide, Australia on Saturday 11 February.
After passing on to all present warmest greetings from the Pope, the Cardinal recalled that the Day of the Sick this year was dedicated especially to people suffering from mental illness. “The Holy Father reserves a special attention to the mentally sick people - the Cardinal said - And as a sign of his deep concern for the wellbeing of these sick people, the Holy Father has on this occasion granted a Plenary Indulgence to all those who participate in this celebration here in Adelaide, and in similar celebrations around the world. In this special way, the Pope accompanies the mentally ill people with his friendship, closeness and efficient spiritual help.”
“Mental illness is alas growing very fast in the world. It is reported that there are about 500 million people with mental disturbances” the Cardinal said.
According to the indications of the Holy Father, - the Cardinal said - both in the letter referred to above and in the Message for this World Day of the Sick, we must in our approaches underline the inviolable dignity of the mentally ill people and do everything possible to protect it at the cultural, institutional, family and individual levels.
“Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, health of the sick. When a mentally sick person feels the affectionate maternal hand of Our Lady that helps and protects him, the world ceases to be hostile for him, he fills himself sure and full of happiness.…Finally, it is my pleasure to assure all of you the blessing of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, who though in the Vatican is spiritually present, united in prayer with us in this beautiful Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier, of the Archdiocese of Adelaide in Australia, and in this wonderful Continent of Oceania.”
(AP) (13/2/2006 Agenzia Fides; Righe:30; Parole: 374)