For the first time since 1993, when Pope John Paul 2 decided to establish such celebration every February 11, the official celebrations will take place in the Holy Land.
The central event, the solemn Mass on Thursday, will be held in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
“I believe we are the church of the Calvary, Church of the suffering, the Church of the Cross. We are very grateful to the Holy Father for having chosen this place for this celebration.”

Consultor of the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Providers
“Our president Mons. Zygmunt Zimowski always says that ‘the sick need our help, but that every action brings us closer to heaven’. The celebration of the World Day of the Sick is very important for them and for us.”

The theme chosen for the 24th edition of this celebration is a verse from the Gospel of John: Trust in the merciful Jesus like Mary did: “Do what he says”.
In this journey, Pope Francis suggests we pray God and ask for the willingness to say ‘yes’, to be able to serve the needy and the sick; to be God’s hands, arms and hearts to help God perform miracles.

President of Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers
“The significance of this day has been described by the letter of John Paul 2 who, with these words, addressed His Eminence Angelini, the first President of the Pontifical Council:
“It is important to sensitize people towards the sick and the suffering, but also raise awareness of the suffering who offer their illnesses and afflictions for others.”

The week started with the celebration of the Holy Mass in Ramallah, presided over by Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, in presence of several bishops and many faithful.
The Delegation of the Holy See will gather every day in a different city for the prayer of Lauds and Vespers and for the celebration of the sacraments of the Eucharist, Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick. The Delegation of the Holy See will also visit some of the many health institutions and works of charitable assistance.
On Sunday afternoon they visited various projects founded in Bethlehem. Among these, the Holy Family Hospital run by the Order of Malta and the Daughters of Charity Sisters of St. Vincent de ‘Paoli, born in the late 19th century to house young expectant mothers and infants in need of help.

Director Holy Family Hospital
“It is very important to show that here, wherever you go, life is protected and welcomed, regardless of the mother’s status or the child’s condition.”

In the same structure, the Pontifical Council and the Official Delegation of the Holy See met the reality of the Crèche, which welcomes (without distinction of religion, ethnicity or origin) children abandoned on the streets or born of rapes, or even social cases entrusted by the Palestinian police because underfed, beaten, or witnesses to the tragic death of their parents. They are offered both health care and education, as well as a house and a friend.

“I love to participate in these conferences. This is such a great experience, so sweet and beautiful … even suffering becomes an element for which one can understand life as should be lived.”

“Disease may be the way to arrive at a closer proximity with Jesus, who walks with us, bearing His Cross” wrote Pope Francis in his message for the World Day of the Sick, in September. The celebrations that will continue throughout the week are an opportunity to perceive this message.