Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 18, 2008
Bishops of Alberta support our faith-based institutions
Province’s prelates issue a pastoral message on the saving works of Catholic healthcare
Dear Brothers and Sisters;
On this special occasion of the World Day of the Sick we invite the faithful to support the saving works of Catholic healthcare, which bear witness to and continue the healing ministry of Jesus. Care of the sick belongs to the mission of the Church in which we are united by faith.
Therefore, we all have a responsibility to uphold the continued presence and flourishing in our province of Catholic healthcare, which brings essential and irreplaceable value to our healthcare system through provision of quality, compassionate, and holistic care to all.
The World Day of the Sick reminds us of our duty to stand in solidarity with all those afflicted with chronic or incurable diseases, a call that stems from our Lord’s own words recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, “I was sick, and you cared for me” (Mt 25:36).
In our Catholic healthcare institutions, we respond to this call in a manner that affirms the human dignity of the patient and offers to the sick and dying a reason to hope.
We can justly call healthcare a saving work. The word “salvation” has its etymological root in the Latin salvus, meaning “well” or “sound.”
A saving word
Catholic healthcare is a saving work dedicated to the wellbeing of the total person. It is committed to a holistic vision that embraces the mind, body and spirit of the patient, who is always to be treated with the utmost respect.
Those tireless individuals who devote their life to providing such holistic care are the arms and hands of Christ. Physicians, nurses, therapists, chaplains, social workers, volunteers, families, priests and pastoral volunteers are the very face of Christ to the sick and witness to the good news of His presence and love. This is the transformative dimension of healing to which Catholic healthcare gives witness, often articulated as the “something different” about our institutions.
In his first encyclical letter, entitled Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), Pope Benedict XVI addresses the insufficiency of having only the required technical skills in the work of caring for others. In addition is required a “formation of the heart” that gives birth to a genuine love for the other (cf. no. 31). We recognize that our continued efforts to develop the technical competencies necessary for quality care must always be joined to an unwavering commitment to provide compassionate service to all.
This is the legacy of the religious Sisters who founded healthcare in Alberta. They were singularly focused upon providing the best quality standards to the vulnerable persons who sought their care at the same time as they offered them real hope through witness to the love of Christ.
Catholic healthcare has continued this tradition, and we as Albertans should be forever grateful for the role of the Sisters, and those who follow in their footsteps today, in promoting this balanced human approach of quality care and compassionate service. Efforts to ensure a just and viable allocation of financial resources and governance oversight in support of faith-based healthcare in this province require the Catholic community to lend its public voice.
We the Bishops of Alberta are committed to supporting faith-based healthcare. The entire community of the faithful must always be ready to advocate on behalf of Catholic healthcare to ensure the continued presence of our institutions into the future.
The Bishops of Alberta
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