World Day of the Sick

This year the Church celebrates the 25th anniversary of World Day of the Sick instituted by St. John Paul II in 1992. On this 25th anniversary, we return to the grotto at Lourdes, where the first World Day of the Sick began. Pope Francis in his message for World Day of the Sick this year reminds us that, “Like Saint Bernadette, we stand beneath the watchful gaze of Mary. The humble maiden of Lourdes tells us that the Virgin, whom she called the Lovely Lady, looked at her as one person looks at another. Those simple words describe the fullness of a relationship. Bernadette, poor, illiterate and ill, felt that Mary was looking at her as a person. The Lovely Lady spoke to her with great respect and without condescension.

This reminds us that every person is, and always remains, a human being, and is to be treated as such. The sick and the those who are disabled, even severely, have their own inalienable dignity and mission in life. They never become simply objects. If at times they appear merely passive, in reality that is never the case.

After her visit to the Grotto, thanks to her prayer, Bernadette turned her frailty into support for others. Thanks to her love, she was able to enrich her neighbours and, above all, to offer her life for the salvation of humanity. The fact that the Lovely Lady asked her to pray for sinners reminds us that the infirm and the suffering desire not only to be healed, but also to live a truly Christian life, even to the point of offering it as authentic missionary disciples of Christ.

Mary gave Bernadette the vocation of serving the sick and called her to become a Sister of Charity, a mission that she carried out in so exemplary a way as to become a model for every healthcare worker. Let us ask Mary Immaculate for the grace always to relate to the sick as persons who certainly need assistance, at times even for the simplest of things, but who have a gift of their own to share with others.”

This year, we also thank Bishop Henry for all his support and leadership in the Health Care Ministry within our diocese. Bishop Henry has been at the forefront of many ethical and moral debates in health care in our province, always advocating for respect for human dignity from the womb to the tomb. Bishop Henry has been a guiding beacon of insight and light in sometimes the darkest of times, when human dignity and life were challenged to the max.

Our Health Care Apostolate of the Diocese has been immensely blessed with Bishop Henry’s support in continually providing designated priest chaplains to Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat for Pastoral Care of the sick, elderly and dying. The department also has enjoyed much support in allowing us to provide ongoing training and education for all our staff and volunteers in the diverse areas of holistic health care.

Thank you Bishop Henry for your unwavering support and guidance since your arrival as our Bishop in 1998! On behalf of all of us in the Health Care Apostolate, God bless you and keep you in your retirement years.

Related Offices Health Care Carillon
Related Themes Bereavement Care Pastoral Care Palliative Care Health Care

World Day of the Sick 2017

Message of our Holy Father, Pope Francis for the 25th World Day of the Sick

Dear brothers and sisters,

On 11 February next, the Twenty-fifth World Day of the Sick will be celebrated throughout the Church and in a special way at Lourdes. The theme of this year's celebration is "Amazement at what God has accomplished: 'The Almighty has done great things for me...'" (Lk 1:49). Instituted by my predecessor Saint John Paul II in 1992, and first celebrated at Lourdes on 11 February 1993, this Day is an opportunity to reflect in particular on the needs of the sick and, more generally, of all those who suffer. It is also an occasion for those who generously assist the sick, beginning with family members, health workers and volunteers, to give thanks for their God-given vocation of accompanying our infirm brothers and sisters. Read more

Downloadable resources

Pope Francis' message (in French, click here)

download Prayer Cards

download Poster

Related Offices Health Care
Related Themes Bereavement Care Discipleship Pastoral Care Palliative Care Health Care Courses and Workshops Adult Formation

Palliative Care Education Program

Palliative Care Education Program

Palliative care is the active, compassionate care of a person whose disease is no longer responsive to traditional treatment aimed at cure. The goal of palliative care is to promote quality of life through the control of symptoms, whether they be physical, psychological, social, or spiritual.

Palliative Care Education Program

Spring 2018 Sessions

Part 1:

  • Friday, April 6, 2018 at 6:15pm - 9:00pm
  • Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 9:00am - 3:30pm
Part 2:
  • Friday, April 27, 2018 at 6:30pm - 9:00pm
  • Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 9:00am - 4:00pm

St. Michael's Parish
800 - 85th Ave SW
Calgary, AB  T3H-4C7

Course cost is $50.00. Registration is on first-come basis.  Your course binder and your receipt will be issued at the first class. Please bring something to write with to the sessions.

You can register in two ways:

1)  Online. Click here to register online. You will also need to complete the Palliative Care Education Registration Form. You can download it from the second box on the right. It can be returned by one of the methods indicated on the form.

2)  Via Mail. Use the Palliative Care Registration Form and send it in with a a cheque for $50.00 payable to "RC Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary" to the address below.

Thank you for your interest in Pastoral Care Education. Please remember to submit your manual Registration Form to complete your registration.

For more information contact Alicia at 403-218-5508, or e-mail

Related Offices Health Care
Related Themes Palliative Care Health Care

Calgary Catholic Medical Association

For Catholic Health Care Professionals (Physicians, Dentists, Nurses, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Physiotherapists, Respiratory Therapists, Chiropractors, Chaplains, Pastoral Care Workers, etc.).

The committee meets on the first Saturday of each month at the Catholic Pastoral Centre. An annual general meeting for all members takes place in the spring.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Society is to promote and foster Health Care Professionals' personal and professional growth in the Spirit of Christ and to bring that Spirit to all those under their care.


Societal goals include the provision of a forum for Catholic Health Care Professions within which they can examine the provision of care in our society. Through personal formation, they can bring the Spirit of Christ into the context of their practices and build a framework of care. This framework will incorporate the teaching of the Catholic Church into daily professional practice.

The CCMA is open to and inclusive of all Health Care Professionals including physicians, nurses, clinical counsellors, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, clergy especially hospital chaplains, as well as lay persons dedicated to hospital pastoral care.

The goals of the society are promoted through regular monthly meetings as well as special events, conferences which highlight bioethical and other formative topics.

The society encourages a liason with other Catholic medical and healthcare organizations such as the Catholic Medical Association and participation in meetings and periodicals, as well as links with other similarly orientated organizations in Canada and the United States.

The CCMA functions within the Diocese of Calgary with the Bishop's support through the Life and Family Resource Center.

The CCMA is represented on the Diocesan Life Education Committee.

Helpful Links:

Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada:

The National Catholic Bioethics Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA:

The Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies:

Canadian Physicians for Life:

Catholic Medical Association (USA):

Psychologists Association of Alberta (PAA):

For more information or to join, please contact the Life & Family Resource Centre by e-mail or call 403-218-5504.

Related Offices Life & Family Resource Centre (LFRC)
Related Themes Pastoral Care Euthanasia Moral and Ethics Palliative Care Health Care Family Death and Dying

Catholic Health Provider Releases Policy

Covenant Health and Covenant Care have released a new policy: Responding to Requests for Medical Assistance in Dying. It has been two years in development, involving extensive stakeholder engagement, locally and nationally, and was informed by clinical experience and the Catholic moral tradition and teaching.

Catholic health organizations will not participate in medical assistance in dying because it is not in keeping with our fundamental values or ethical guidelines. Catholic health care has a long-standing moral tradition of compassionate care that neither prolongs dying nor hastens death. Catholic health care is rooted in the belief that all life is sacred and in the dignity of the person.

Covenant Health and Covenant Care – Canada’s largest Catholic providers of health care in Canada – provide health care services in Banff, Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat and have 16 other Alberta sites.

The policy gives physicians and staff the guidance they need to provide a consistent, ethical and compassionate approach, reflective of the Health Ethics Guide and Catholic teaching, when responding to a patient’s request for hastened death within Covenant.

As a Catholic health care provider, Covenant is committed to the inherent dignity of every human being throughout the entire continuum of life from conception to natural death and will continue to respond with compassion to persons who verbalize a desire to end their lives. This response seeks to understand the nature of the person’s request and to ensure that their pain and symptom management needs are addressed, including their emotional, spiritual and psychosocial needs.

Catholic providers have demonstrated the ability to respond with respect to the person in care, while also respecting the values of health professionals and organizations. The policy outlines a response that ensures the person in care is not abandoned and that provider conscience rights and institutional identity are protected. This response includes safe and timely transfer of a patient’s care to another provider for further exploratory discussion around options, which may or may not include provision of therapies not provided by Catholic facilities.

For more information, visit the Covenant Health or Covenant Care websites at or

Related Offices Health Care Carillon Life & Family Resource Centre (LFRC)
Related Themes Pastoral Care Euthanasia Palliative Care Health Care Life Issues Death and Dying Physician Assisted Suicide
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