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252 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated

the arrival of the Kingdom of God. The core message of his healings tells

us of his plan to conquer sin and death by his dying and rising.

On the Cross, Jesus bore the full weight of evil and removed its

power over us. He provided a new meaning for suffering by giving it

redemptive power. By his grace we are able to unite our pain to his

redemptive passion. St. Paul witnessed this when he wrote, “I rejoice

in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lack-

ing in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, that is, the church”

(Col 1:24).



The Church carries forward Christ’s healing ministry in a variety of

approaches. Catholic families in countless ways care for family mem-

bers who are ill. There are numerous inspiring stories of an aging spouse

who personally ministers to an ailing spouse in cases of Alzheimer’s and

other illnesses. Caregivers find that faith and prayer mean a great deal to

them in these situations.

A multitude of religious orders and congregations have established

Catholic hospitals to take care of the physical and spiritual needs of the

sick. Church-sponsored hospice care is another form of this ministry of

healing. Besides the doctors, nurses, and chaplains, there are occasional

instances of individuals with the charism (gift) of healing. “The Holy

Spirit gives to some a special charism of healing, so as to make manifest

the power of grace of the risen Lord” (CCC, no. 1508).

Millions of believers journey to shrines like the one at Lourdes, often

in search of physical cures but always to experience a deepening of faith.

The Church requires healing miracles as part of the canonization pro-

cess, the procedure for declaring the sainthood of a given person.

Above all, the Church continues Christ’s healing ministry in the

Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. St. James describes its celebration

in apostolic times: “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the

presbyters [priests] of the church, and they should pray over him and

anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will