Great Jubilee News
VATICAN CITY, FEB 11, 2000 (VIS) - At 10 a.m. today, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the
Pope presided at a Mass in St. Peter's Square on the occasion of the Jubilee of the Sick and of
Health Care Workers. More than 40,000 people participated, including the sick, those
accompanying them and volunteers who had come from various parts of the world.

"Several of you," said Pope John Paul in his homily, "have been on a bed on pain for years. I ask
God that today's encounter might be for you an extraordinary physical and spiritual relief!"

"Pain and sickness," he added, "are part of the mystery of man on earth. Certainly, it is right to
fight against illness, because health is a gift from God. But it is also important to know how to
read God's plan when suffering knocks at our door. The 'key' to such a reading is the Cross of

"My dear sick people," said the Pope, "may Christ be the Door for you who are called at this
moment to bear a weightier cross. May Christ also be the Door for you, dear care givers. As
did the Good Samaritan, every believer must offer love to those who live in suffering. We cannot
pass by those who are tried by illness. Rather we must stop, bow to their infirmity and
generously share it, easing its weight and difficulties."

After reminding those present that sick people are "singular witnesses" of the Gospel of suffering,
he remarked: "The third millennium awaits this witness of suffering Christians. It also expects it
from you, health care workers, who, with your different roles, fulfill such a meaningful and
appreciated mission to sick people."

Following his homily, the Holy Father and 10 concelebrants administered the sacrament of the
sick to various sick people.

At the end of the Eucharistic celebration Pope John Paul greeted the faithful present in diverse

The Jubilee of the Sick concluded this evening with a torchlight procession which began at
Castel Sant'Angelo and proceeded down Via della Conciliazione, the broad avenue leading to
St. Peter's Square. Close to 60,000 faithful participated, including sick people in wheelchairs
and on stretchers, those who assist them, and tens of thousands of Roman faithful.

Bearing candles, praying and singing Marian hymns and other liturgical songs, the participants
concluded their day-long Jubilee celebration in St. Peter's Square. Their flambeaux illuminated
the square - which became even more luminous when a spectacle of lights lit up the basilica -
and framed the 284 columns of the double colonnade.

Pope John Paul appeared at his studio window overlooking the square. He remarked to those
assembled below that "this evening's evocative scene ... reminds us of what is taking place,
almost at this same hour, in Lourdes, Marys's citadel, where so many pilgrims, both healthy and
sick, live an intense and consoling spiritual experience."

Recalling this morning's Mass in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father said: "This evening we are
here again to ask Mary, 'health of the sick', to make this Holy Year a true "year of grace'.

"I wish everyone good night and all the best!" he said in closing.