A SPECIAL DAY FOR HEALTH CARE WORKERS

JUSTICE AND PEACE IN SEVERAL DIOCESES ORGANIZED A SPECIAL DAY FOR HEALTH CARE WORKERS TO THANK THEM FOR THEIR SELFLESS SERVICES DURING THE PANDEMIC

From 5th-11th April, the world celebrated the World Health Worker Week.   The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the heroic efforts health workers on the front lines make every day to keep their communities —and our nation—safe and healthy. Despite their selfless service during the pandemic, we have not done enough to show our appreciation and gratitude.  

In some dioceses, the chaplains and coordinators of Justice and Peace used the Sunday Mass on 11th April to pray for the health care workers in their parishes and commit them to the protection of the Divine Mercy. The representatives of health care workers included doctors, nurses, frail-care nurses, home-based care workers, paramedics and hospital staff/clinic staff.

Above, we have shared some pictures from the celebration of the work of the health care workers by the Justice and Peace chaplains/coordinators from Mariannhill diocese, Bloemfontein Archdiocese and Klerksdorp diocese.

The celebrations focused on the calling that the health care workers have received to be instrument of God’s healing mercy for the sick and the dying during the pandemic and beyond.  Some of these health care workers are members of our parish.  Pope Francis has hailed them as “the saints next door”  (9th April 202).

During the Mass,  the priests invited the health care workers to come in front for a special blessing.   The parishioners prayed for them so that, through the Divine Mercy, they become spiritually and physically strengthened in their vocation to the sick and the dying, who are themselves the face of the suffering Christ  (Pope Benedict XVI 2011 –Message for the 19th World Day of the Sick).

Throughout the pandemic, Pope Francis has frequently praised and thanked the doctors, nurses, paramedics and other hospital staff for their courageous service to those struck by the virus.  Using the image of the Church as the field hospital,  in his message to mark international nurses day in May 2020,  he referred to them as  “an image of the Church as a ‘field hospital’ that continues to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ, who drew near to and healed people with all kinds of sickness and who stooped down to wash the feet of his disciples.”  (Pope Francis’s message to mark International Nurses Day in May 2020).

He has also referred to them as the saints next door  who bear witness to “God’s closeness to those who suffer; they have been silent craftsmen of the culture of closeness and tenderness.. Many of them fell ill and some unfortunately died in the exercise of their profession. We remember them in prayer with much gratitude,” (Pope Francis, 20 June 2020).

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