BIDDEFORD---In observance of the World Day of Prayer for the Sick, Bishop Robert P. Deeley will celebrate a Mass of the Anointing of the Sick at the Saint André Health Care facility, located on 407 Pool Street in Biddeford, on Sunday, February 11, at 11 a.m.
“Christ is always present whenever we gather in his name. In the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, we welcome him especially as physician and healer, as comforter and consoler,” said Bishop Deeley. “Through the celebration of these sacraments, we pray that the aged and infirm may know his mercy and peace.”
Bishop Deeley will anoint the residents at Saint André on February 11. The anointing of the sick is administered to individuals suffering from deteriorating physical, emotional, or mental illness. It is also administered to those experiencing a sudden medical crisis or scheduled for surgery, even routine procedures. In addition, the sacrament is appropriate for elderly weakened by advanced age or suffering from chronic or long-term illnesses. Anyone struggling or recovering from alcoholism or other addictions can also be anointed, as can individuals being treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or physical therapies.
During the Mass, Bishop Deeley and Monsignor Andrew Dubois, vicar general for the diocese, will walk among the sick and elderly present, laying hands on them and anointing their foreheads and hands, praying: “Through this holy anointing, may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit.” Prayers will also be offered to all who are aged, ailing, or alone, and all whose vocation is to care for the sick.
Since 1992, the Catholic Church has celebrated the World Day of Prayer for the Sick to remind the faithful to pray intensely for the sick, reflect on and respond to human suffering, and to recognize and honor all persons who work in health care and serve as caregivers.
“The image of the Church as a ‘field hospital’ that welcomes all those wounded by life is a very concrete reality, for in some parts of the world, missionary and diocesan hospitals are the only institutions providing necessary care to the population. The memory of this long history of service to the sick is cause for rejoicing on the part of the Christian community, and especially those presently engaged in this ministry,” Pope Francis wrote in his message for the 26th World Day of the Sick.
St. André Health Care, a member of Covenant Health, is a 96-bed residence. It offers rehabilitation and skilled medical care, short-term respite care, long-term nursing care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and palliative and hospice care.