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Bishop leads Mass for the Sick, speaks on King’s cancer

Bishop Peter Collins led a Mass for the Sick, addressing suffering and frailty amid public discourse on the King’s cancer, highlighting the need for compassion and understanding.

Bishop Peter Collins led a Mass for the Sick at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist on February 10, 2024, where he delivered a homily that spoke directly to the challenges of suffering and the Christian understanding of frailty.

Bishop Peter began his homily by reflecting on the recent news of His Majesty the King’s diagnosis of cancer, noting the significance of this moment for public discourse on health and vulnerability. “As we all know, this past week has seen the publication of the diagnosis of cancer for His Majesty, the King. Much commentary has been offered regarding how significant it is that the King addresses his condition publicly, how necessary it is for us as a society to acknowledge suffering and the dangers of illness,” he stated.

He emphasized the importance of acknowledging our vulnerabilities, stating, “We stand in the midst of great frailty, something that the world resists acknowledging. The promulgation of our age is to perceive human life needing to be defined in terms of strength and autonomy.” He argued that true understanding of the human condition requires placing our existence within the context of eternal transcendence and our relationship with Almighty God.

Drawing from biblical teachings, he reminded the congregation of God’s endless grace and mercy, “The scriptures speak to us today of God’s abundant grace and mercy. His love for us is like a river in spate. It casts an abundance upon us.” This message of divine compassion and support was central to his reflections on facing illness and frailty.

Bishop Peter addressed the societal tendency to deny or ignore suffering and illness, warning of the dangers this poses to both individual and communal well-being. “There is a reluctance to even face the realities of illness… Acknowledging that frailty should be a strength in itself,” he said, advocating for a more accepting and compassionate approach to our limitations.

The Mass also included the anointing of the sick, a sacrament administered by Bishop Peter and other priests. This act reinforced his message that in moments of vulnerability, there is a profound opportunity for spiritual growth and connection with God.

In conclusion, Bishop Peter invoked the intercession of the Blessed Mother and St. Bernadette of Lourdes, emphasizing the church’s role as a haven of grace and healing. “God’s grace alone sets us free and alleviates us and brings healing in every sense,” he affirmed, encouraging those present to find solace and strength in their faith.

Mass for the Sick, St John's Cathedral, Feb 2024