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Dear Friends

Francis elderly

Pope Francis on Caregiving,

February, 2024

Dear Friends,

God bless Pope Francis for pointing out the pysical, emotional  and spiritual good that you've done, and continue to do, for your care-receiver. That's the heart of his message for this year's World Day of Sick, marked on Februray 11.

Here are some excerpts of what he wants to say to, well, you. And to care-receivers.

From the beginning, God, who is love, created us for communion and endowed us with an innate capacity to enter into a relationship with others.

 Our lives, reflecting the image of the Trinity, are meant to attain fulfillment through a network of relationships, friendships, and love, both given and received. We were created to be together, not alone.

 Precisely because this project of communion is so deeply rooted in the human heart, we see the experience of abandonment and solitude as something frightening, painful, and even inhuman. This is all the more the case at times of vulnerability, uncertainty, and insecurity, often caused by the onset of a serious illness. ...

Brothers and sisters, the first form of care needed in any illness is compassionate and loving closeness. To care for the sick thus means above all to care for their relationships, all of them: with God, with others – family members, friends, healthcare workers –, with creation, and with themselves.

 Can this be done? Yes, it can be done and all of us are called to ensure that it happens. Let us look to the icon of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37), to his ability to slow down and draw near to another person, to the tender love with which he cares for the wounds of a suffering brother. ...

Let us remember this central truth in life: we came into the world because someone welcomed us; we were made for love; and we are called to communion and fraternity. This aspect of our lives is what sustains us, above all at times of illness and vulnerability. It is also the first therapy that we must all adopt in order to heal the diseases of the society in which we live. ...

To those of you who experience illness, whether temporary or chronic, I would say this: Do not be ashamed of your longing for closeness and tenderness! Do not conceal it, and never think that you are a burden on others. The condition of the sick urges all of us to step back from the hectic pace of our lives in order to rediscover ourselves. ...

Let us care for those who suffer and are alone, perhaps marginalized and cast aside. With the love for one another that Christ the Lord bestows on us in prayer, especially in the Eucharist, let us tend the wounds of solitude and isolation. In this way, we will cooperate in combating the culture of individualism, indifference, and waste, and enable the growth of a culture of tenderness and compassion. ...

The sick, the vulnerable, and the poor are at the heart of the Church; they must also be at the heart of our human concern and pastoral attention. May we never forget this! And let us commend ourselves to Mary Most Holy, Health of the Sick, that she may intercede for us and help us to be artisans of closeness and fraternal relationships.

You can find the complete message here.

More about World Day of the Sick here.

 And more about Mary Most Holy, Health of the Sick, here

As always, you and your  loved ones remain in my prayers.

-- Bill

- - -

Again this month we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver! (FSJC's programs include and You can find out more about becoming a member here.

No meetings, no dues. All we ask is that you pray for caregivers and those receiving care. Our members include caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both (including quite a few former caregivers).

You can:

sign up online here

or call us toll-free at 1-800-392-JOHN (5646)

or print and mail an application form.

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