Bishop Alan welcomed people who were sick, and their families, to the special Mass on the closest Saturday to the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. In his homily, he recalled the words which Saint John Paul II spoke during his last pilgrimage to Lourdes: “With you I share a time of life marked by physical suffering, yet not for that reason any less fruitful in God’s wondrous plans for us.
“When our lives are marked my suffering,” continued Bishop Alan, “we are in a state of living solidarity with Our Lord in His own Passion. So…we are brought to the very heart of the mystery of suffering.
“We unite ourselves with His offering…and it is in this sense that we make our own the prayer of Jesus to the Father: ‘Your will be done, not mine.’
And yet, added Bishop Alan, “We must continue to ask that His healing hand may rest on us, and restore us to full health.”
He affirmed the value of a life which had been quietened by sickness: “We don’t have to be busy to be an offering to God. Stillness and prayer are both essential…Those of us who are sick or suffering in any way are already close to the Lord.”
After the service, those who came enjoyed soup and rolls in the Narthex. It was an opportunity to speak with the Bishop and a number of priests who had come to support him.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this Sacrament by saying: “By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that He may raise them up and save them.
“And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ.”
You can view a Flickr Gallery of this Mass by clicking here or on the picture below.