World Day of the Sick

A regular columnist wrote on Saturday that turning 65 is not the same as turning 60. 65 is not the new 55: it is 65, and boomers better get used to it. 65 means old age, cheaper movies and transit fares to be sure, but 65 also means coming face to face with mortality i.e., death, usually preceded by infirmity and illness. In a youth-obsessed culture, in which turning 25 can be viewed with concern, it is comforting to think that at least the Church hasn’t given up on oldsters. Cynics will say that’s because it’s an institution headed by an octogenarian, but I don’t think that’s the reason why the Church yearly marks World Day of the Sick. I think it’s because, in the words of Pope John Paul II, “the Church today lives a fundamental aspect of her mission in lovingly and generously accepting every human being, especially those who are weak and sick” (Christifideles Laici, 38).

In the spirit of the Good Samaritan, I would like to offer the following resources which I hope those who are caring for the sick and the dying will find helpful:

Someone should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day.” – Pope Paul VI

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