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”
THE CHURCH CONTINUES CHRIST’S
MINISTRY OF HEALING
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