Message from Bishop Valéry Vienneau on the Occasion of World Day of the Sick 2005

Next Friday, February 11, 2005, is the thirteen World Day of the Sick.   This day was established by Pope John Paul II in 1993.  Its goal is to make the people of God aware of the necessity to ensure adequate care for the sick in the best possible conditions.  Sickness is a difficult trial to accept and to transcend.  It is often a source of suffering and worry.  For this reason our health care system must provide the needed assistance to the sick and the elderly, one which is both fully human and imbued with authentic values.

Presently the Acadian Peninsula is experiencing serious difficulties concerning health care.  Because this situation is of concern to me, in the name of the Diocesan Church of Bathurst, on World Day of the Sick, I call for calm and dialogue.  I invite the health care providers, the political leaders and the citizens to be motivated by deep seated values, so that their respective positions may be expressed respectfully, honestly and truthfully..

One must recognize that conflict cannot always be avoided, but as Christians, it is important to choose dialogue and reconciliation, and avoid judgments and accusations.  Such comments jepardize the possibility of living together in harmony at the local level.  “To know how to live together” is conducive to good mental health and is an element which ensures social cohesion. 

The present situation may require mediation to mend broken relationships so that the   various parties involved can understand the root cause of their conflict and strive to find a peaceful solution for the better good of all.  To propose a non violent approach to resolve a conflict implies a willingness to focus solely on health care needs so that the people can go beyond their disagreement to strive to find a common solution.     What is at stake is the strengthening of solidarity, cooperation and justice while avoiding all risks of violence. 

I suggest that all parishes, but particularly those in the Acadian Peninsula,   pray for the sick on the occasion of World Day of the Sick.  At the same time, let us take the opportunity to ask the Spirit to inspire us all to find a peaceful solution that will be beneficial to all.    Without doubt, God’s will is to gather us together in the bond of peace offered through Jesus.

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