World Day of the Sick: the Church runs 115 352 health care and social assistance institutes in the world
Vatican City – February 11 is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes and it is also the XXIII World Day of the Sick. Pope John Paul II initiated the day in 1992 to encourage people to pray for those who suffer from illness and for their caregivers. The theme chosen by Pope Francis for this world-wide day of prayer is “I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame”, taken from the book of Job . In his Message, Pope Francis invites the ill, as well as the professionals and volunteers in the field of the health care, to reflect on the wisdom of the heart “sapientia cordis”. Among other things he says: “I would like once again to stress “the absolute priority of ‘going forth from ourselves toward our brothers and sisters’ as one of the two great commandments which ground every moral norm and as the clearest sign for discerning spiritual growth in response to God’s completely free gift” . The missionary nature of the Church is the wellspring of an “effective charity and a compassion which understands, assists and promotes” .
According to the latest “Catholic Church Statistics”, published by Agenzia Fides on the occasion of World Mission Day, Catholic institutes for healthcare, social assistance, charity work
run in the world by the Church are 115,352 and include: 5,167 hospitals, most of them in America and Africa ; 17,322 dispensaries, mainly in Africa ; America and Asia ; 648 Care Homes for people with Leprosy mainly in Asia and Africa ; 15,699 Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability mainly in Europe and America ; 10,124 orphanages, mainly in Asia and America ; 11,596 creches, mainly in America and Asia ; 14,744 marriage counselling centres mainly in America and Europe ; 3.663 social rehabilitation centres and 36.389 other kinds of institutions.