10Feb Suggestions for World Day of the Sick celebration published

A Mass or service with anointing of the sick should be held in warm, comfortable (wheelchair-accessible) surroundings with spacious, easily-accessed bathrooms and tea-making facilities available (not necessarily a church). A celebration could be arranged for noon or afternoon on this February Tuesday (11 February), or over a nearby weekend, so that sick and housebound people could be ferried to the venue by neighbours and families. The arrangement of the room should allow for the free movement of ministers of Anointing and the Eucharist between the rows of seats and/or wheelchairs. A social element (eg cup of tea afterwards and a chat/social) might be appreciated by those attending and their carers.

• Liturgy format is given in Pastoral Care of the Sick (Veritas 1982) pages 103-118. Alternative Mass prayers in Roman Missal: Masses for Various Needs and Occasions 45 (pages 1218-1219) or as given below. Readings may be chosen from Lectionary, Vol III, pages 203-253, or 668-676. White vestments.

Opening Comment (for the Presider)

You are welcome to this celebration of the sacraments of anointing and the eucharist. Christ, our healing Lord, is with us: let us worship him with love and devotion. Penitential Rite: To prepare ourselves to celebrate the healing power of God, we acknowledge our need of divine help: (pause) Lord Jesus, you healed the sick … Lord Jesus, you forgave sinners … Lord Jesus, you gave us yourself to heal us and bring us strength: Lord, have mercy.

Alternative Opening Prayers (options given in the 1998 ICEL Missal)

O God,
your only-begotten Son bore our sorrows
to show the power in human suffering and weakness.
Graciously hear our prayers for the sick
and grant that those who are weighed down by pain, distress, or disease
may know they are counted among the elect,
whom Christ has called blessed,
and that they are joined to his suffering
for the salvation of the world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.


All-powerful and ever-living God,
the lasting health of all who believe in you,
hear our prayers as we ask your merciful help for the sick;
restore them to health,
that they may offer you joyful thanks
in the midst of your Church.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.


Introduction to the Scripture Readings (for Minister of the Word)

James 5:13-16 (page 673 of Vol III) — St James asks Christians to send for the elders of the church for anointing in times of sickness, reminding them that the prayer of faith will save the sick in body and soul.

Matthew 8:14-17 (page 673 of Vol III) — Jesus shows himsalf as a healer, fulfilling the prophecy made by Isaiah.

After the homily, the General Intercessions are replaced by The Litany (Pastoral care of the Sick, page 107); this is directly followed by the laying on of hands on each person who is to be anointed. The Blessing of Oil follows (page 109) or a prayer of thanksgiving may be prayed over already-blessed oil.

The Anointing of each sick person on forehead and hands takes place now (followed by Prayer after Anointing)

Liturgy of the Eucharist follows, as usual.


Alternative Prayer over the Gifts (from the 1998 ICEL Missal)

O God,
under whose loving gaze our lives run their course,
receive the prayers and gifts
by which we ask your mercy for those who are sick,
that our anxiety about their illness
may be turned into joy at their recovery.
Grant this in the name of Jesus, the Lord.

Preface for the Anointing of the Sick (Pastoral Care of the Sick, page 114)

Eucharistic Prayer for Masses for Various Needs IV, “Jesus, Who Went About Doing Good” (Roman Missal, page 679)

Alternative Prayer after Communion (from the 1998 ICEL Missal)
O God,
the one sure remedy for human weakness,
show the power of your loving care for those who are sick,
that, helped by your mercy,
they may be restored in health to your holy Church.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Solemn Blessing from Pastoral Care of the Sick page 117.

Alternative Solemn Blessing (from the 1998 ICEL Missal)

Bow your heads for God’s blessing.
          The priest says the solemn blessing with hands outstretched over the people.
May the God of all consolation
bless you in every way
and grant you hope all the days of your life.
R. Amen.
May God restore you to health
and grant you salvation.
R. Amen.
May God fill your heart with peace
and lead you to eternal life.
R. Amen.
A And may almighty God bless you and all here present,
the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

SONGS (For Ministers of Music): ‘Lay your hands gently upon us’, ‘Only in God’, ‘Be Still and Know that I am God’; ‘Christ be our Light’; any Marian hymn.

One Response

  1. Kathleen Faley

    I agree with Bernard Cotter’s idea of having the Mass on 11th February – the Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes as World Day of the Sick being made more accessible to the sick, the infirm and the handicapped parishioners in every parish throughout the country. The anointing ceremony for those parishioners would be a very welcome ceremony in the local parish among their/our own relatives and friends. Decentralising such a necessary ceremony away from more distant venues where long distance travel is often necessitated would be good for the youth also who could accompany their sick, infirm or handicapped relatives to the anointing ceremony and as a consequence be positively influenced by the Christian caring of parishioners in their local parish who may othewise be ‘invisible’ because of their illness, infirmity or handicap.