Pope’s July prayer intention: For pastoral care of the sick

By Devin Watkins, 5 July 2024

Pope Francis releases his prayer intention for the month of July, and invites Christians to pray that the Church might show God’s closeness to people enduring illness.

“Let us pray that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick grant the Lord’s strength to those who receive it and to their loved ones, and that it may become for everyone an ever more visible sign of compassion and hope.”

Pope Francis offered that invitation to Christians around the world in The Pope Video, which accompanies his monthly prayer intention.

The Pope is inviting the Church to pray for the pastoral care of the sick during the month of July 2024.

In the video, he recalled that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is not only for people at death’s doorstep.

If someone thinks that a priest offering the sacrament means that they are about to die, said the Pope, they have embraced a hopeless vision.

“Let us remember that the Anointing of the Sick is one of the ‘sacraments of healing,’ of ‘restoration,’ that heals the spirit,” said the Pope.

He added that the sacrament is always available for people who are ill, especially the elderly.

“When a person is very ill,” he said, “it’s advisable to give them the Anointing of the Sick.”

Pope Francis concluded by praying that the sacrament may become a more visible sign of compassion and hope.

Consolation in times of illness

A press release accompanying The Pope Video, which is produced by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, said the video was filmed with help from the US dioceses of Allentown and Los Angeles.

It offers a visual aid to situations in which the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick may be administered.

Two stories of illness—very different in terms of age and clinical situation—are woven together to highlight how God’s love for us is expressed in the sacrament.

Fr. Frédéric Fornos, SJ, International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, said the Pope invites Catholics to reconsider our preconceptions about the sacrament.

“Pope Francis hopes we can rediscover the complete depth and the true meaning of this Sacrament,” he said, “not only as a preparation for death, but also as a sacrament that offers consolation to the sick in times of serious illness, and strength to their loved ones and those caring for them.”

With thanks to Vatican News and Devin Watkins, where this article originally appeared.


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