* Three-Day Celebration of the XV World Day of the Sick Successfully Concluded in Seoul
The XV World Day of the Sick, celebrated this year in Seoul, Korea from February 9 to 11 around the theme "The spiritual and pastoral care of the patients with incurable illnesses", was concluded with the Solemn Mass and the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at the Jangchung Gymnasium in Seoul, on February 11.
H. E. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care and special papal envoy for this event, presided at the Solemn Mass with the concelebration of Korean cardinals, bishops and priests. Some 6,000 people who participated in the Mass were granted plenary indulgence according to the decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary, and among them, some 700 patients received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
Cardinal Barragán said in his homily, "the current culture does not defend life itself but only praises the life which is healthy and without defects," and criticized the culture of death, saying, "paradoxically, the same culture provokes life-destroying acts, from abortion to euthanasia."
He also said, "For Christians, illness and happiness can coexist. When we are certain of reaching the joy of resurrection with Christ, we can entrust our soul to God even in suffering, such as incurable diseases." "This belief and hope give serenity and joy to Christian patients, especially those with incurable diseases." In conclusion, the Cardinal asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to take care of all the sick with incurable diseases and intercede for those who need the light and tenderness that only our Lord can give.
The three-day programs, composed of Scientific Day, Pastoral Day, and Liturgical Day, included academic seminars, the meeting with healthcare pastoral workers, the visit to Catholic medical centers, a musical concert with the youth and so on.
The Rev. Remigio Lee Dong-ik, Professor of the Catholic University of Seoul who delivered a lecture at the seminar on the first day on the theme "'The sanctity of life' bioethics and the quality of life" said, "In a society where materialism prevails and the life is disregarded, this celebration reawakened the need to advocate the value of life and build the culture of life. The very theme 'The spiritual and pastoral care of the patients with incurable illnesses' suggests us the direction for the Catholic medical activities to follow in the future."
The Most Rev. John Chang Yik, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, said, "Hopefully, this event will become a fresh impulse for our society to embrace people with love, rather than to follow the logic of power."