In his message for the 27th World Day of the Sick, Pope Francis encouraged us to promote a culture and joy of generous giving through the quote: “You received without payment; give without payment.” (Matthew 10:8)
Holding up St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta as a model of charity and an example of gratuitous love and care for the poor and the sick, the Pope reminds us that each gesture of generosity, like the Good Samaritan, is the most credible and direct means of evangelization: “Caring for the sick requires professionalism, tenderness, straightforward and simple gestures freely given, like a caress that makes others feel loved,” because life is a gift from God and in giving of oneself, God’s love is reflected to others.
Being a professional healthcare worker or volunteer requires a generous and selfless spirit to embody the spirituality of the Good Samaritan. Through care for the poor, the sick, the unborn, the abandoned, and the marginalized, God’s love for the poor and the sick is made visible. For instance, as a volunteer you offer spiritual support by being a good listening friend to a patient that can help to restore hope and promote healing. Pope Francis constantly reminds us that this is exemplified by the Church herself who is a ‘field hospital’ that cares for the sick and suffering on all levels, in order to accompany them with the tender care and mercy of Jesus. Our presence as a gift to those in need will act as a “sign of the Church’s presence in a secularized world.”
For many years, our Diocese has provided resources to assist parishes in ensuring professionalism and competency through our Diocesan Pastoral Outreach Training Program. The ability to provide support to others in a tangible way is echoed in Pope Francis’ message as he says that: “health is relational, dependent on interaction with others, and requiring trust, friendship and solidarity. It is a treasure that can be enjoyed fully only when it is shared. The joy of generous giving is a barometer of the health of a Christian.” With that in mind, I encourage you to sign up for our Diocesan Pastoral Care Outreach Training workshops that are listed below. In these sessions, you will learn what it means to bring a healing ministry to others; and how to work through the difficulties of suffering and pain when offering pastoral care. You will be equipped with the tools necessary to tenderly touch the lives of those who are in need of the healing ministry of Christ. I also urge and encourage our younger parishioners to seriously consider becoming more involved in your parish – to bring the healing ministry of Christ to the sick and homebound.
Like Pope Francis, I pray that through Mary our Mother, she may help us share the gifts we have received, to be attentive to each other’s needs, and through a generous heart learn the joy of selfless service to others.
Most Reverend Gary Gordon
Bishop of Victoria