World Day of the Sick - February 11
(Last Updated On: November 8, 2022)


Every year on February 11th, World Day of the Sick offers a way for the Catholic Church to come together and pray for those who are suffering from sickness. It’s also a day to remember the caregivers and hospital chaplains who look after those who are ill.

No person in the world is immune from sickness. Some people are born with a birth defect that causes sickness throughout their lifetime. Others are given the bad news that they have a chronic illness. Sometimes it’s known what causes certain sicknesses, and sometimes the cause is never determined.

Sickness is something the world has lived with since the beginning of time. All throughout history, there are accounts of people trying to come up with cures for various diseases. Thanks to modern science and technology, diagnosing and treating sickness has greatly improved. However, there is still a ways to go as there are many uncurable diseases throughout the world.

Sometimes, it’s not science, however, that comes up with a cure. The Catholic Church, and many other Christians throughout the world, believe that prayer can heal the sick. This is why the Pope feels it is important to remember those who are sick and to pray for them. When Pope John Paul II came up with this day he said he wanted it to be a special time of caring and sharing. He also reminded everyone to see in their sick brother or sister, “the face of Christ who by suffering, dying, and rising, achieved the salvation of mankind.”


On this day the Pope gives a special message that revolves around the theme. Catholic churches around the world celebrate a Mass of the Anointing of the Sick. The anointing of the sick is given to those who not only suffer from physical sickness but emotional or mental illness as well.

To participate, attend one of these special services in your community. If you are not Catholic, you can still pray for those who are sick. You can also thank a healthcare worker, chaplain, or caregiver for all they do to help the sick. Spread awareness for this day on social media with #WorldDayOfTheSick.


Pope John Paul II created World Day of the Sick in 1992. The date February 11th coincides with the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. This title was given to the Blessed Mother after she appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Since that time, many people from around the world have traveled to Lourdes, France to seek healing. Each year a different theme is chosen, which usually revolves around a passage of scripture spoken by Jesus. Recent themes have included:

2021: “You have but one teacher and you are all brothers.” Matthew 23:8
2020: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
2019: “You received without payment; give without payment.” Matthew 10:8

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