Masaka Diocese celebrates World Day of the Sick 2021 scientifically

Unlike many years where celebrating World Day of the Sick involved a lot of people and activities, celebrations for 2021 day were held scientifically with very few people and activities. Participation was by invitation and activities like praying and supporting the sick were done in a representative manner with strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs). Only patients from Kitovu and Masaka regional referral hospitals were visited and given items to help them. The theme for this year was “You have but one teacher and you are all brothers” (Mt 23:8). A trust-based relationship to guide care for the sick. The Pope sympathized with the sick all over the world especially those who are suffering from coronavirus.

In his message for the day, the Pope told all the sick people all over the world that they were the main actors of the day. He requested all the sick that while celebrating this day, the event should bring the announcement of the living and comforting presence of the Lord to them. He went on to say that when sufferings are accepted and borne with unshakeable faith joined to those of Christ, it takes on extraordinary value for the life of the Church and the good of humanity.

To the health-care workers, he said they were the highest, most meritorious, and exemplary testimony of justice and love. He prayed that “may this Day be a renewed spur to continue in your delicate service with generous openness to the profound values of the person, to respect for human dignity, and to the defense of life, from its beginning to its natural close.

For all the Pastors of the Christian people, and to all the different members of the Church community, for volunteers, and particularly for those engaged in the health-care ministry, the Pope prayed that the World Day of the Sick offers stimulus and encouragement to go forward with fresh dedication on the way of service of the tried, suffering humanity.

The Diocesan health coordinator in his remarks, thanked all the health workers for their dedication and service especially when COVID 19 was at its height. He thanked them for not putting their tools despite the risks they were faced with. He welcomed all the politicians who were present and thanked them for showing interest in health services. He however tasked them to continue rallying for support towards health care especially in the parliament and at the constituency level. He noted that health services have not been given enough funding which makes giving health services a challenge. He said protection of life should be a priority and this can be done when health care is also a priority.

The vicar general, Msgr Dominic Ssengooba who was the main celebrant for the diocesan events while leading the mass at Kitovu cathedral appreciated the tremendous work done by all people in the health sector. He also addressed himself to all the sick by thanking them for the many lessons they give to those who are not sick such as showing us that our bodies are frail, patience, praying for others, having hope through perseverance. He thanked all those who support the health sector especially the government and non-government organizations. He noted that there is a need to step up health services management within the diocese and especially those serving city dwellers. He noted people travel to Kampala and elsewhere looking for better health services yet there are institutions such as Kitovu, Mulago (Masaka Referral Hospital), and Villa Maria nearby! He went on to say that we should start by improving the services of those institutions already in the establishment and then advance to having more. He finally encouraged everyone to take care of the sick as God would have wanted. He prayed to the health workers to handle patients with utmost care and patience because sickness is unavoidable and thus going to health facilities is not a choice but a deliberate move to save a life.

After the celebration of the mass, items that had been collected from kind people and institutions were taken to Kitovu and Masaka regional referral hospitals. The action of visiting these hospitals was a symbolism of what should always be done for the sick; visit, pray, and charity. As the day was being concluded, we were reminded of the continued presence of sicknesses such as COVID 19, AIDS, Hepatitis B, Ebola, non-communicable disease among others. The Vicar General noted the sickness remains a mystery to us and questions arise of what must be done for those who are sick. He pointed that everyone should act like the Good Samaritan to those who are sick, remember that Jesus is the healer by taking all sickness to Jesus. He encouraged everyone to love the sacrament of anointing of the sick as Jesus heals those who are sick through the person of a priest.

COVID 19 among others remains the bigger threat today because it has affected all sectors of human strata. We are all called upon to protect ourselves by wearing a mask, washing our hands regularly, keeping a distance from each other, and avoiding touching soft parts of our bodies. COVID 19 can be contracted from anyone or anything and just in case you feel feverish, a headache, body ache and weakness, nasal congestion, loss of appetite and smell sick medical attention immediately. But in the meantime, let us continue calling onto the Lord to show his mercy and love by bringing healing to the sick and taking away the pandemic.

Special tribute to Radion Buddu 98.8 for its support and contribution towards the celebration.

All support from everyone was appreciated.