Sanctuary of Our Lady of Altötting, Germany, February 11, 2013

Welcome to Altötting

Boasting a privileged location in the attractive Alpine foothills of Upper Bavaria, Altötting is centred between Munich, Passau, Salzburg and Lake Chiemsee. For over 1250 years the town has been Bavaria’s spiritual centre and for five centuries has featured as Germany’s principle Marian pilgrimage site.

The objective for over one million pilgrims and visitors each year is to see the “Black Madonna” kept in the octagonal Chapel of Grace. In all probability an early Christian baptistery erected around the year 700, this small church structure stands at the centre of the spacious chapel square so elegantly surrounded by Baroque buildings. The chapel also houses a silver urn immortalizing the hearts of Bavarian kings and prince-electors, as well as precious votive offerings.

Pope Benedict XVI, who was born nearby in the town of Marktl and who is closely connected to Altötting through his numerous official, as well as private visits, described the pilgrimage town as the “Heart of Bavaria and one of the Hearts of Europe”. In the course of his pastoral tour in 2006 Pope Benedict XVI also paid a visit to Altötting and in 2008 he awarded the town the high distinction of the “Golden Rose”.

In the following pages you will find interesting and important information pertaining to a stay in our pilgrimage town.

New: Virtual Tour of Altötting!



Go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. On 11 February 2013, the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Twenty-first World Day of the Sick will be solemnly celebrated at the Marian Shrine of Altötting. This day represents for the sick, for health care workers, for the faithful and for all people of goodwill “a privileged time of prayer, of sharing, of offering one’s sufferings for the good of the Church, and a call for all to recognize in the features of their suffering brothers and sisters the Holy Face of Christ, who, by suffering, dying and rising has brought about the salvation of mankind” (John Paul II, Letter for the Institution of the World Day of the Sick, 13 May 1992, 3). On this occasion I feel especially close to you, dear friends, who in health care centres or at home, are undergoing a time of trial due to illness and suffering. May all of you be sustained by the comforting words of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council: “You are not alone, separated, abandoned or useless. You have been called by Christ and are his living and transparent image” (Message to the Poor, the Sick and the Suffering).

2. So as to keep you company on the spiritual pilgrimage that leads us from Lourdes, a place which symbolizes hope and grace, to the Shrine of Altötting, I would like to propose for your reflection the exemplary figure of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37). The Gospel parable recounted by Saint Luke is part of a series of scenes and events taken from daily life by which Jesus helps us to understand the deep love of God for every human being, especially those afflicted by sickness or pain. With the concluding words of the parable of the Good Samaritan, “Go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37), the Lord also indicates the attitude that each of his disciples should have towards others, especially those in need. We need to draw from the infinite love of God, through an intense relationship with him in prayer, the strength to live day by day with concrete concern, like that of the Good Samaritan, for those suffering in body and spirit who ask for our help, whether or not we know them and however poor they may be. This is true, not only for pastoral or health care workers, but for everyone, even for the sick themselves, who can experience this condition from a perspective of faith: “It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love” (Spe Salvi, 37).

3. Various Fathers of the Church saw Jesus himself in the Good Samaritan; and in the man who fell among thieves they saw Adam, our very humanity wounded and disoriented on account of its sins (cf. Origen, Homily on the Gospel of Luke XXXIV,1-9; Ambrose, Commentary on the Gospel of Saint Luke, 71-84; Augustine, Sermon 171). Jesus is the Son of God, the one who makes present the Father’s love, a love which is faithful, eternal and without boundaries. But Jesus is also the one who sheds the garment of his divinity, who leaves his divine condition to assume the likeness of men (cf. Phil 2:6-8), drawing near to human suffering, even to the point of descending into hell, as we recite in the Creed, in order to bring hope and light. He does not jealously guard his equality with God (cf. Phil 2:6) but, filled with compassion, he looks into the abyss of human suffering so as to pour out the oil of consolation and the wine of hope.

4. The Year of Faith which we are celebrating is a fitting occasion for intensifying the service of charity in our ecclesial communities, so that each one of us can be a good Samaritan for others, for those close to us. Here I would like to recall the innumerable figures in the history of the Church who helped the sick to appreciate the human and spiritual value of their suffering, so that they might serve as an example and an encouragement. Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, “an expert in the scientia amoris” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 42), was able to experience “in deep union with the Passion of Jesus” the illness that brought her “to death through great suffering” (Address at General Audience, 6 April 2011). The Venerable Luigi Novarese, who still lives in the memory of many, throughout his ministry realized the special importance of praying for and with the sick and suffering, and he would often accompany them to Marian shrines, especially to the Grotto of Lourdes. Raoul Follereau, moved by love of neighbour, dedicated his life to caring for people afflicted by Hansen’s disease, even at the world’s farthest reaches, promoting, among other initiatives, World Leprosy Day. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta would always begin her day with an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist and then she would go out into the streets, rosary in hand, to find and serve the Lord in the sick, especially in those “unwanted, unloved, uncared for”. Saint Anna Schäffer of Mindelstetten, too, was able to unite in an exemplary way her sufferings to those of Christ: “her sick-bed became her cloister cell and her suffering a missionary service. Strengthened by daily communion, she became an untiring intercessor in prayer and a mirror of God’s love for the many who sought her counsel” (Canonization Homily, 21 October 2012). In the Gospel the Blessed Virgin Mary stands out as one who follows her suffering Son to the supreme sacrifice on Golgotha. She does not lose hope in God’s victory over evil, pain and death, and she knows how to accept in one embrace of faith and love, the Son of God who was born in the stable of Bethlehem and died on the Cross. Her steadfast trust in the power of God was illuminated by Christ’s resurrection, which offers hope to the suffering and renews the certainty of the Lord’s closeness and consolation.

5. Lastly, I would like to offer a word of warm gratitude and encouragement to Catholic health care institutions and to civil society, to Dioceses and Christian communities, to religious congregations engaged in the pastoral care of the sick, to health care workers’ associations and to volunteers. May all realize ever more fully that “the Church today lives a fundamental aspect of her mission in lovingly and generously accepting every human being, especially those who are weak and sick” (Christifideles Laici, 38).

I entrust this Twenty-first World Day of the Sick to the intercession of Our Lady of Graces, venerated at Altötting, that she may always accompany those who suffer in their search for comfort and firm hope. May she assist all who are involved in the apostolate of mercy, so that they may become good Samaritans to their brothers and sisters afflicted by illness and suffering. To all I impart most willingly my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 2 January 2013


[00028-02.01] [Original text: Italian]


Twenty-First World Day of the Sick

7-11 February 2013

General Theme of the Day

The Good Samaritan:

‘Go and do Likewise’

(Lk 10:37)

‘Do good to those who suffer and do good by your suffering’

(Salvifici doloris, n.  30)

Place of the liturgical celebration:

The Marian Sanctuary of Our Lady of Altötting in Bavaria (Germany)

Thursday 7 February and Friday 8  February 2013, in Eichstätt

International Scientific Conference

at the Catholic University of Eichstätt- Ingolstadt,

on the Theme: ’Do good to those who suffer’

Conference Sponsors:

Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers and:

Thursday, 7 February 2013, in Eichstätt

Until 10.30 Arrival of the members of the Pontifical Council in Eichstätt
11.00 Pastoral visit to the Eichstätt Hospital (with Prof. Wertgen, the District Chairman, the Minister of Health, the Mayor of Eichstätt)
13.00 Lunch
15.00 Opening of the Conference in the main hall of the Catholic University of Eichstätt:

→ Greetings and Introduction – H.E. Msgr. Dr. Zygmunt Zimowski, President of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, Holy See;

→ Word of Welcome – H.E. Msgr. Dr. Gregor Maria Hanke, OSB, Bishop of Eichstätt;

Keynote Address – Prof Dr. Richard Schenk – President of the Catholic University of Eichstätt;

Conference – Part I (15.30- 19.00)

19.00 Dinner and night in Eichstätt
Friday, 8 February 2013, in Eichstätt
8.00 Breakfast
9.00 Conference at the CU of Eichstätt – Part II (9.00-12.30)

→ Visit to the Caritas Nursing Home St. Elisabeth in Eichstätt: H.E. Msgr. Zygmunt Zimowski accompanied by some people

12.30 Lunch (University Canteen)
14.00 Conference at the CU of Eichstätt – Part III (14.00-17.00)
17.00 Ending of the Conference:

Conclusions of the Conference (message to the sick, elderly, those in need of care and health-care workers)

Closing speech: – His Eminence Reinhard Cardinal Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Frseising, Grand Chancellor of the CU of  Eichstätt – Ingolstadt

18.30 Departure for Neufarn
20.00 Dinner at the Stangl Hotel (Meeting with some of guests from the political world) – night in Neufarn
Saturday, 9 February 2013, in Munich, Bavaria

In charge:

8.00 Breakfast in the Stangl Hotel in Neufarn
9.30 Departure for Munich
11.00 Holy Mass in the Church of St. Michael in Munich, Bavaria, (with patients and the suffering, with social and health-care workers)
13.00 Lunch
14.30 Pastoral visit to the Groshadern Hospital (LMU) with Prof. Dr. Eckahrd Frick, SJ:

→ Informative conference on the theme: Palliative Care and Spiritual Care

18.00 → Meeting of Bishops at the palace of His Eminence Cardinal Reinhard  Marx

Dinner at the Cardinal’s palace

20.30 Departure for Neufarn, night at the Stangl Hotel

Sunday, 10 February 2013, Munich/Altötting

In charge:


7.00 Breakfast at the Stangl Hotel in Neufarn
8.00 Departure for Munich
9.00 Holy Mass at the Hospital of Schwabing
11.00 Meetings with Bishops responsible for pastoral care in health in the various National Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (the Catholic Academy of Bavaria)
12.30 Lunch (the Catholic Academy of Bavaria)
15.00 Departure for Altötting – Diocese of Passau
18.00 Marian vigil at the Convent Church of Altötting:

Sermon: H.E. Msgr. Wilhelm Schraml, Bishop of Passau (Shortly before this, a torchlight procession around the Chapel of Grace)

After the vigil – beginning of the Eucharistic adoration  in the new (papal) chapel of adoration

20.00 Dinner and night in Altötting

Monday, 11 February 2013, in Altötting

(Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes)

Solemn Liturgical Celebration

of the Twenty-First World Day of the Sick 2013

In charge:

10.00 Holy Mass in the Convent Church of Altötting (the bishops responsible for pastoral care in health in various European countries will concelebrate)

Principal Celebrant: H.E. Msgr. Zygmunt Zimowski, President of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, the Holy See;

Message of the Holy Father: H.E. Msgr. Jean-Claude Périsset, Apostolic Nuncio in Germany, Berlin

12.30 Welcome at the Town Hall:

→ Greetings from the mayor, Mr. Herbert Hofauer

→ Signing of the Golden Album of the city of Altötting

13.30 Lunch
15.30 Departure for Marktl am Inn (the Bishops and the group of the Pontifical Council):

→ Visit to the house where His Holiness Benedict XVI was born;

→ Visit to the baptismal font of the Holy Father;

→ Contemporaneously, H.E. Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, President of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, with his accompaniment, will visit the Hospital of Altötting

19.00 Dinner and night in Altötting

Tuesday, 12 February 2013, Altötting/Airport

7.30 Breakfast in Altötting
9.00 Holy Mass in the Chapel of Graces, Altötting
10.30 Departure for Munich airport and return flight to Rome


Vatican City, 28 January 2013 (VIS) – Benedict XVI will grant Plenary Indulgence to the faithful participating in the 21st World Day of the Sick to be celebrated 7–11 February, in Altotting, Germany according to a decree published today and signed by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro and Bishop Krzysztof Nykiel, respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
Persons following the example of the Good Samaritan, who “with a spirit of faith and a merciful soul, put themselves at the service of their brothers and sisters who are suffering or who, if sick, endure the pains and hardships of life … bearing witness to the faith through the path of the Gospel of suffering” will obtain the Plenary Indulgence, once a day and under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Holy Father), applicable also to the souls of deceased faithful:
A) each time from 7–11 February, in the Marian Shrine of Altotting or at any other place decided by the ecclesiastical authorities, that they participate in a ceremony held to beseech God to grant the goals of the World Day of the Sick, praying the Our Father, the Creed, and an invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Faithful in public hospitals or any private house who, like the Good Samaritan, charitably assist the ill and who, because of such service, cannot attend the aforementioned celebrations, will obtain the same gift of Plenary Indulgence if, for at least a few hours on that day, they generously provide their charitable assistance to the sick as if they were tending to Christ the Lord Himself and pray the Our Father, the Creed, and an invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, with their soul removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of carrying out as soon as possible that which is necessary to obtain the plenary indulgence.
The faithful who because of illness, advance age, or other similar reasons cannot take part in the aforementioned celebrations will obtain the Plenary Indulgence if, with their soul removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of carrying out as soon as possible the usual conditions, spiritually participating in the sacred events of the determined days, particularly through liturgical celebrations and the Supreme Pontiff’s message broadcast by television or radio, they pray for all the sick and offer their physical and spiritual suffering to God through the Virgin Mary, ‘Salus Infirmorum’ (Health of the Sick).
B) Partial Indulgence will be conceded to all the faithful who, between the indicated days, with a contrite heart raise devout prayers to the merciful Lord beseeching assistance for the sick in spirit during this Year of Faith.
Published by VISarchive 02 – Monday, January 28, 2013