Having just passed the first anniversary of identifying COVID, we know how much healing our nation needs. As new, more contagious strains of the virus appear, the human toll increases. Statistics give an account of the number of people who have fallen ill and of those who have died of the virus, but true to its name, the pandemic has touched the world. Many mourn the loss of family or friends, but the illness has other far-reaching consequences: the stress on health care workers, the additional workload of other essential workers, the increasing number of people experiencing hunger and housing insecurity because of the economic shutdown and the psychological impact of isolation.

The World Day for the Sick, February 11th, reminds us of the healing many have received through the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, who appeared to Saint Bernadette on February 11th, 1858. Besides reminding us of Mary’s intercession, the commemoration also reminds us that Bernadette was a humble, poorly educated girl. As we pray for individual and national healing, let us also pray for those who are instruments of healing