THURSDAY
February 10, 2000
volume 11, no. 29
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
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JUBILEE OF THE SICK BEGINS WITH CONVENTION OF HEALTH CARE WORKERS
Study on the Identity and Challenges of the Catholic Health Care Worker

    VATICAN CITY, FEB 9 (ZENIT). - The celebrations for the Jubilee of the Sick, which officially begin tomorrow and will end next Sunday, were preceded by with a convention of prayer and reflection for Catholic Health care workers from all over the world. The purpose was to help these professionals rediscover their own "identity" in their field as Christians and also to help them understand the "challenges" that the medical profession puts for them at the beginning of the Third Millennium.

    Archbishop Javier Lozano, President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, in his opening remarks, stressed the necessity that exists for the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist that calls himself a Christian, "to put Christ at the center of medicine, with all its meanings."

    Faced by the "globalizing" tendency in health care to treat its problems only under the economic viewpoint, "we propose," affirmed Archbishop Barragan, "a new model for practicing medicine, that has Christ as its goal, as its end, as its only horizon." In front of a world, he added, that often sees it harmony destroyed, the response cannot but be fundamental Christian solidarity.

    Later, those participating in the convention were divided into four groups (Bishops in health care ministries, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists) in order to discuss their identity and the challenges created by the reality of today's world. Today in the afternoon, they began to share their reflections with the whole group.

    Professor Di Virgilio, alluding to the many advances in bioengineering, reminded the audience of an old saying, "Not all that can be done, should be done." "Faith and the Church are not an obstacle to technological and scientific advances. The Holy Father repeats this continually. But it means that scientific progress cannot be like a river that overflows its banks. It needs a guide. Any progress directed to the good and to the excellence of man's life is welcome."

    Sister Bertilla Lavacone, director of the professional nursing school of St. John's Hospital in Rome, said, "We see that suffering is the most dominating aspect in a hospital. People speaks of their own suffering, of their own disease. Some speak of their own misery. I have learned that people do not ask for anything, but expect much, especially from us who care for him. We religious, offer professionalism, but most of all that spirit of sacrifice that allows us to be with them. A smile is a good thing, but what is important is to put yourself in their place, to understand their loneliness. Often they are abandoned to their luck, at that point we must intervene, here is where suffering is most painful."

    Sister Anabel Mamon, a Philippine student of Sister Bertilla, added, "We are specifically trained in order to assist the ailing, and on the sickbed we see Christ crucified. The sick person does not need lots of words or discourses. Treatments and technology are a good thing, but if the ailing person is left alone, even having the technologies, he remains a lonely patient. What does this person seek? He looks for somone that will understand him, to be at his side, to help him at that moment. We also receive much in offering our help -- we learn to give ourselves." ZE00020909

          

February 10, 2000
volume 11, no. 29
NEWS & VIEWS

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