By Benedict Mayaki, SJ

April 7 2022

Pope Francis releases his prayer intention for the month of April, asking Christians to pray for health care workers and urging governments to prioritize making good healthcare accessible to all.

“The pandemic has shown us the self-giving and generosity of health care workers, volunteers, support staff, priests, and religious men and women,” says Pope Francis in his April prayer intention, released on Tuesday by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

Urging prayers for healthcare workers this month, the Holy Father addresses the healthcare systems in different countries, which have been put to the test by the health emergency.

The pandemic stress test

The Covid-19 pandemic has “exposed the fact that not everyone has access to a good public healthcare system,” the Pope notes.

According to “Health at a Glance 2021” – a research by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – the inadequate situation of health care has had an impact on the care received by the sick, particularly the lack of healthcare workers which has been more limiting than the number of hospital beds or technical equipment.

The poorest and most vulnerable countries, “cannot access the necessary treatments to treat the countless diseases they continue to suffer,” the Pope laments, pointing out that this is often “due to poor resource management and a lack of serious political commitment.”

The Holy Father, therefore, calls on the governments of all the countries of the world “not to forget that good healthcare, accessible to all, is a priority.”

The sacrifice of healthcare workers

Pope Francis reminds all that healthcare is “not just an organization,” but rather depends “on men and women who dedicate their lives to taking care of other people’s health.”

In such a difficult situation, many health care workers, “have given their lives during this pandemic to help so many sick people recover.”

The Holy Father then urged the faithful to pray for health care workers who serve the sick and the elderly, especially in the poorest countries.

“May they be adequately supported by governments and local communities,” he said.

Pope’s closeness to the sick and those who care for them

In a press release accompanying the Pope video, Fr. Frederic Fornos SJ, international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network notes that this month’s intention is dedicated to health care workers who attend to the sick, the elderly and the most vulnerable – people that the Holy Father is very attentive to.

Fr. Fornos highlights that the pandemic has shown that health care systems and workers are essential for society.

“The Pope asks that they be supported with greater resources, especially in countries that have a fragile health care system; otherwise, we will experience ‘other pandemics,’” said Fr. Fornos. “Let us entrust this prayer intention to the Lord and take appropriate action.” -Vatican News