February 9, 2017
In continuing commemoration of St. John Paul II’s establishment in 1982 of World Day of the Sick as well as their own ministry to those not well and their caregivers, the Western Association of the Order of Malta is facilitating a Mass Feb. 11 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Gough Street at Geary Boulevard, San Francisco. Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone is principal celebrant and homilist.
The World Day of the Sick liturgy Feb. 11 is the order’s ninth in San Francisco. The Knights and Dames of Malta were originally invited to implement the commemoration by retired San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer.
“As members of the order we make two promises: To defend the faith and serve the poor and the sick,” said Ken Ryan, a Knight of Malta since 2005 and a coordinator of events Feb. 11. “Providing this day for all the faithful of the archdiocese fulfills both of our promises.” Ryan said the Mass assembly is usually about 500.
“At the beginning of the Mass there is a blessing with water from the spring in Lourdes that Bernadette dug up at the request of Our Lady, an anointing for those who are sick after Archbishop Cordileone’s homily, and a special blessing for each of the caregivers’ hands after Communion,” Ryan said.
The Order of Malta has special dedication to Lourdes sponsoring annual pilgrimages to the site accompanying usually severely sick individuals to the healing waters. While the Mass Feb 11 and the Lourdes charism do not have a direct link “all who participate in these events are drawn closer to the love of our Lord and his mother, Our Lady of Lourdes,” Ryan said.
The entire order gathers in Lourdes annually on the first weekend in May, Ryan, who has made the pilgrimage seven times, said.
“It is a wonderful opportunity to serve the sick as we sit and visit with them, sharing our support, grace and love,” Ryan said about this dimension of service as a Knight of Malta. “I treasure the one on one moments in communion with the sick and their caregivers.”
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