Pope Francis reminds Christians to fulfill 'maternal vocation' to needy and sick

The Catholic Church has the "maternal vocation" to take care of the sick and the needy, Pope Francis reminded the faithful ahead of the World Day of the Sick next year.

(REUTERS / Max Rossi)Pope Francis leads a special mass to mark the new World Day of the Poor in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, November 19, 2017.

In a message released by the Vatican on Dec. 11 for the 26th World Day of the Sick, Pope Francis asked Catholics all over the world to let the sick and the needy feel God's compassion. The event, which is usually observed on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on Feb. 11, highlights the people who are sick and those who provide care for them, the Vatican Radio detailed.

Next year's World Day of the Sick will bear the theme "Mater Ecclesiae: 'Behold, your son ... Behold, your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.'" This theme was derived from John 19:26-27.

"On the Cross, Jesus showed his concern for the Church and all humanity, and Mary is called ‎to share in that same concern," Pope Francis said in his message. All of Christ's disciples were also asked to take care of each other as well as other people because they are all God's children.

In addition, the pontiff described the Church as a "field hospital" which opens its doors to all who have been wounded by their life experiences. He said doctors, nurses, priests, and other people who care for the sick are part of the mission.

During the first World Day of the Poor on Nov. 19, Pope Francis spoke about investing more in heavenly treasure rather than earthly ones. He noted that quite a lot of people are indifferent to the needs of the poor. There were also those who think that they are not doing anything wrong and are content with the current situation, Catholic News Service reported.

However, Pope Francis reminded the faithful that God the Father is looking for believers who can be good stewards of his blessings. The pontiff said Christians have the "evangelical duty" to care for the poor, not only by providing them with food, but also by having fellowship with them and sharing the Gospel with them.