MOST REV. DAVID J. BONNAR
Bishop of Youngstown
February 5, 2024
On February 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Catholic Church will observe its thirty second World Day of the Sick. This annual occasion reminds us as faithful followers of Jesus to pray for those who are sick as well as for those who provide comfort and care to alleviate their pain, discomfort, fear, and loneliness.
The theme Pope Francis has chosen for the 2024 World Day of the Sick, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18), references the Creation Story when God recognizes that Adam, a man formed In God’s own image and likeness, needs a suitable partner in life. Thus, God forms Eve from Adam’s rib. Her purpose is not simply to coexist with Adam in the Garden of Eden; rather, it is to add value, purpose, and companionship to Adam. By sharing God’s creation, Adam and Eve provide one another with a sense of joy in times of happiness and with comfort in times of sorrow.
Likewise, it is not good for any one of us to be alone, especially when our physical, emotional, or spiritual health is threatened in some way. As a member of the healing profession, you encounter and accompany those who have been pushed to the margins by a lack of compassion and understanding, as well as those who have retreated to the margins out of fear and uncertainty. Your ministry provides a loving example of God’s presence in our world today, reaching out, joining with, and holding up those made low by their illness or infirmity.
There is a saying that has been circulating on social media lately: “Remember whenever you’re in a position to help someone, be glad and always do It because that’s God answering someone else’s prayer through you.” Each day, you are the answer to someone’s prayers; a living, breathing testament of God’s divine presence in our world today.
Please join me on February 11, 2024, for the Annual Diocesan White Mass to recognize people like you who have dedicated their lives to healthcare ministries. The Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Columba Cathedral in Youngstown, and a reception will follow in Saint Columba Hall. The White Mass provides an opportunity for us to come together In a spirit of prayer and gratitude as we strive to emulate Jesus, the divine physician.
May God bless you and strengthen you in your ministry on this World Day of the Sick. I pray “That All May Be One” in service to God’s people throughout the six counties of the Diocese of Youngstown.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend David J. Bonnar
Bishop of Youngstown