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World Day of the Sick in Bethlehem

World Day of the Sick in Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM – On Monday, February 8, 2016, in preparation for the World Day of the Sick, Bishop William Shomali presided over a Mass at St. Catherine’s Church in Bethlehem.

In preparation for the XXIV World Day of the Sick (JMM) in Nazareth, part of the celebration was a Mass held in the Church of St. Catherine in Bethlehem in the presence of Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers; Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio; Archbishop Youhanna Boutros Moshe, Syrian Archbishop of Mossul; Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar in Israel and Bishop Thomas Williams, Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool.

Mass was the Christmas liturgy animated by the parish choir, allowing participants to relive the Christmas Mass in Bethlehem.  The Anointing of the Sick was administered to about 150 people, including 20 patients and 30 companions of “Hospitalidad Jesùs de Nazareth” from Spain accompanied by Archbishop Zygmunt Zimoski, Special Envoy of the Pope for the World Day of the Sick. Representatives of health care institutions and centers in Bethlehem were also present. The Gospel was chanted in soureth (Oriental Syriac Aramaic) by Archbishop Moshe.


In his homily, Bishop Shomali referred to the spiritual fruits of the Anointing of the Sick. He also called on sick people to “endure this experience with patience by uniting their suffering with the Passion of Christ”.

The day ended with a dinner at a restaurant run by the deaf, dumb and blind of Beit Hagat, an interfaith association  founded by Dr. Etienne Lepicard, member of the Israel National Bioethics Council and directed by t Erez Kadem and Sylvia Goldman.

The World Day of the Sick will be celebrated in Nazareth on Thursday, February 11, and as Pope Francis stated in his  message for the 24th World Day of the Sick that:  “the main Eucharistic celebration of the Day, will take place on February, 11, 2016 in Nazareth, where the Word was made flesh and made his dwelling among us (Jn 1:14). In Nazareth, Jesus began his salvific mission (…)”

A pastoral symposium organized at the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem took place on Tuesday, February 9, on the theme “Human Life is sacred, precious and inviolable – Problems facing the end of life and acceptance of people with disabilities”,  in the framework of the week dedicated to the sick and  the more marginalized.

Thomas Charrière