By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario of Bangladesh as his special delegate to the special celebration of the Catholic Church’s 27th World Day of the Sick in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), February 9-11, 2019.
The tradition of the World Day of the Sick was instituted by St. John Paul II on 13 May 1992, designating its celebration to the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11 each year.
The first World Day of the Sick was marked in 1993 at the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in southern France, one of the world’s most famous Marian shrines.
Since then, the day has been observed each year all over the world with a special celebration in a particular place. The Holy Father issues a message each year on a particular issue.
Cardinal D’Rozario became the first cardinal of Bangladesh when Pope Francis elevated him to the cardinal’s rank at the consistory of November 19, 2016. The 75-year old Archbishop of Dhaka also became the first cardinal from among the Bengali-speaking people on either side of divided Bengal, inhabiting Bangladesh and India’s West Bengal state.
The 75-year old Archbishop of Dhaka also became the first cardinal from among the world’s Bengali-speaking people who mostly inhabit Bangladesh and India’s West Bengal state.
Kolkata - Mother Teresa
Kolkata is associated with St. Teresa of Calcutta, the Albanian nun who came to Kolkata in 1929 as a missionary with the Sisters of Loreto from Ireland. Later in 1950, she founded her own Missionaries of Charity order for the poor and the abandoned.
Mother Teresa earned national and international honours for her works of mercy, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She died on September 5, 1997, at the age of 87 and was declared a saint by Pope Francis on September 4, 2016, the eve of her 29th death anniversary.
In honour of Mother Teresa, the United Nations in 2012 instituted the International Day of Charity on September 5 each year, recognizing the role of charity in alleviating humanitarian crises and human suffering.