Healthcare as a human right

Pope St. John Paul II established World Day of the Sick every February 11th to commemorate the apparitions of Mary at Lourdes, France. On this important day we acknowledge those in our society suffering from illness and not only pray for their healing and comfort, but also are inspired to take action to that each and every person receives healthcare as is their human right.

Opening Prayer

Almighty and ever-living God, eternal health of believers,

hear our prayers for your servants who are sick:

grant them, we implore you, your merciful help,

so that, with their health restored,

they may give you thanks in the midst of your Church.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen

((from the collect of prayers For Various Occasions, “For the Sick” ; Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved.)

 

Scripture ReadingMark 1:40-45

Catechesis Video

Read this statement by Pope Francis, then watch the videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn8k8P21FUM

Grades 7-12

  1. What are basic human rights? Why do they exist? Why do you think the Church includes healthcare as a human right?
  2. Pope Francis speaks about the “centrality of the human person” when talking about research for rare diseases. How does such a stance on healthcare relate to being “pro-life?”
  3. Pope Francis has said healthcare “is not a consumer good, but rather a universal right, and therefore access to healthcare services cannot be a privilege.” What are common factors/arguments that are often brought up with regards to healthcare in the United States that seem to keep healthcare a “privilege” “and consumer good” rather than a universal right?

Parish Leaders/Committees

  1. What are basic human rights? Why do they exist? Why do you think the Church includes healthcare as a human right?
  2. Pope Francis speaks about the “centrality of the human person” when talking about research for rare diseases. How does such a stance on healthcare relate to being “pro-life?”
  3. Pope Francis has said healthcare “is not a consumer good, but rather a universal right, and therefore access to healthcare services cannot be a privilege.” What are common factors/arguments that are often brought up with regards to healthcare in the United States that seem to keep healthcare a “privilege” “and consumer good” rather than a universal right?

Faith Sharing/Parishioners/Bible Study

  1. What are basic human rights? Why do they exist? Why do you think the Church includes healthcare as a human right?
  2. Pope Francis speaks about the “centrality of the human person” when talking about research for rare diseases. How does such a stance on healthcare relate to being “pro-life?”
  3. Pope Francis has said healthcare “is not a consumer good, but rather a universal right, and therefore access to healthcare services cannot be a privilege.” What are common factors/arguments that are often brought up with regards to healthcare in the United States that seem to keep healthcare a “privilege” “and consumer good” rather than a universal right?

Witness Video 

End at 2:16 mark

Stop at 2:54 mark

Witness Video Reflection Questions

Grades 7-12

  1. St. Martin De Porres faced immense discrimination in his life. Today, we see disparities in healthcare services for people based on their ethnicity, skin color, or migration status. How might lessons from St. Martin help us to address these unjust disparities?
  2. St. Martin ensured that caring for the health of others regardless of their social class. How might we assist others in receiving healthcare, regardless of ability to pay?
  3. Have you ever considered a career in the healthcare field? How might people who serve in healthcare live out the message of Jesus Christ?

Parish Leadership/Committees

  1. What lessons might we learn from St. Martin DePorres as a parish that we could implement in our community?
  2. Are we, as a church, always responsive to the need of the sick and suffering?
  3. How might we be more compassionate to those living with illness or injury?
  4. Does your parish currently have any healing ministries? Visiting the sick/dying; assisting families with meals or chores who are struggling with illness or injury; bringing the Eucharist to long term care facilities, those on hospice, or those who suffer mental illness; or other ministries?

Faithsharing/Parishioner/College Students

  1. In what ways can we be healers in our own lives like St. Martin De Porres?
  2. Do we take the time to study, like St. Martin, to better understand the need and the lack of access of healthcare for the poor?
  3. Have you ever considered entering into a healing ministry like St. Martin? How might that allow you to serve God?

Action Steps

Grades 7-12

  1. Study the statistics related to healthcare in the United States, especially disparities in access and or affordability. Contact local officials encouraging them to ensure healthcare as a human right for all, regardless of ability to pay.
  2. Educate your friends and families on these disparities and encourage them to participate in prayer and political action to help make healthcare a reality for all.

Parish Leadership/Committees

  1. Invite a speaker/s to your parish to offer education on disparities in healthcare and ways that these disparities can be overcome.
  2. Promote political action campaigns by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) related to healthcare that ensure that healthcare is not dependent upon ability to pay, that it protects all life from conception to natural death, that is recognizes the right for healthcare workers to have protection rights for their consciences, and that ensures universal coverage.
  3. Gather a small group of parishioners to meet with legislators and talk to them about the principles that should be the foundation for all healthcare legislation.
  4. Stay up to date with Action Alerts on various issues, including Healthcare from the USCCB at their Action Center and the Iowa Catholic Conference Action Center

Faithsharing/Parishioners/College Students

  1. Stay up to date with Action Alerts on various issues, including Healthcare from the USCCB at their Action Center and the Iowa Catholic Conference Action Center
  2. Contact your legislator sharing with them the view that healthcare should be seen as a human right and not a consumer good or privilege for those who can afford it; that healthcare is should not dependent upon ability to pay, that it protects all life from conception to natural death, that is recognizes the right for healthcare workers to have protection rights for their consciences, and that ensures universal coverage.

Closing Prayer

O God, only support of our human weakness,

show the power of your protection

over your servants who are sick,

that, sustained by your merciful help,

they may be restored to your holy Church in good health.

Through Christ our Lord.

Amen

(from the prayer after communion For Various Occasions, “For the Sick” ; Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved.)