| JUBILEE OF THE SICK BEGINS WITH CONVENTION OF HEALTH
| Study on the Identity and Challenges of the Catholic Health Care Worker
VATICAN CITY, FEB 9 (ZENIT). - The celebrations for the Jubilee of the Sick, which
officially begin tomorrow and will end next Sunday, were preceded by with a convention of
prayer and reflection for Catholic Health care workers from all over the world. The purpose
was to help these professionals rediscover their own "identity" in their field as Christians and also
to help them understand the "challenges" that the medical profession puts for them at the
beginning of the Third Millennium.
Archbishop Javier Lozano, President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health
Care Workers, in his opening remarks, stressed the necessity that exists for the doctor, nurse, or
pharmacist that calls himself a Christian, "to put Christ at the center of medicine, with all its
Faced by the "globalizing" tendency in health care to treat its problems only under the economic
viewpoint, "we propose," affirmed Archbishop Barragan, "a new model for practicing medicine,
that has Christ as its goal, as its end, as its only horizon." In front of a world, he added, that
often sees it harmony destroyed, the response cannot but be fundamental Christian solidarity.
Later, those participating in the convention were divided into four groups (Bishops in health care
ministries, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists) in order to discuss their identity and the challenges
created by the reality of today's world. Today in the afternoon, they began to share their
reflections with the whole group.
Professor Di Virgilio, alluding to the many advances in bioengineering, reminded the audience of
an old saying, "Not all that can be done, should be done." "Faith and the Church are not an
obstacle to technological and scientific advances. The Holy Father repeats this continually. But it
means that scientific progress cannot be like a river that overflows its banks. It needs a guide.
Any progress directed to the good and to the excellence of man's life is welcome."
Sister Bertilla Lavacone, director of the professional nursing school of St. John's Hospital in
Rome, said, "We see that suffering is the most dominating aspect in a hospital. People speaks of
their own suffering, of their own disease. Some speak of their own misery. I have learned that
people do not ask for anything, but expect much, especially from us who care for him. We
religious, offer professionalism, but most of all that spirit of sacrifice that allows us to be with
them. A smile is a good thing, but what is important is to put yourself in their place, to
understand their loneliness. Often they are abandoned to their luck, at that point we must
intervene, here is where suffering is most painful."
Sister Anabel Mamon, a Philippine student of Sister Bertilla, added, "We are specifically trained
in order to assist the ailing, and on the sickbed we see Christ crucified. The sick person does not
need lots of words or discourses. Treatments and technology are a good thing, but if the ailing
person is left alone, even having the technologies, he remains a lonely patient. What does this
person seek? He looks for somone that will understand him, to be at his side, to help him at that
moment. We also receive much in offering our help -- we learn to give ourselves."