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World Day of the Sick

February 11 is World Day of the Sick, an observation started by Pope John Paul II as a way for believers to offer prayers for those suffering from illnesses. The day coincides with the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Is World Day of the Sick a Public Holiday?

World Day of the Sick is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Woman praying with sick patient in hospital.

©iStockphoto.com/AtnoYdur

Commemorate World Day of the Sick

People around the world take the time to pray for the sick and for those who work very hard to alleviate the sufferings of the sick on this day. Faith organizations mark this day especially to provide the sick with medicines, food, and spiritual guidance.

Public Life

World Day of the Sick is not an official holiday so businesses, schools and government offices are open.

About World Day of the Sick

Pope John Paul II initiated the day in 1992 to encourage people to pray for those who suffer from illness and for their caregivers. The Pope himself had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s a year before, in 1991, and it is considered that his own illness was impetus for his designation of the day.

World Day of the Sick was first observed on February 11, 1993. February 11 is also the Catholic Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, which a name is given to the Virgin Mary in honor of the apparitions that were said to have been seen in and around Lourdes, France, by a young girl called Bernadette Soubirous. The Church canonized Bernadette as a saint several years later.

Did You Know?

Pope Benedict XVI declared his decision to resign from his post as the Pope on this day in 2013. He cited his failing health as the reason behind his decision.

World Day of the Sick Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015WedFeb 11World Day of the SickWorldwide observance
2016ThuFeb 11World Day of the SickWorldwide observance
2017SatFeb 11World Day of the SickWorldwide observance
2018SunFeb 11World Day of the SickWorldwide observance
2019MonFeb 11World Day of the SickWorldwide observance
2020TueFeb 11World Day of the SickWorldwide observance
2021ThuFeb 11World Day of the SickWorldwide observance
2022FriFeb 11World Day of the SickWorldwide observance
2023SatFeb 11World Day of the SickWorldwide observance
2024SunFeb 11World Day of the SickWorldwide observance
2025TueFeb 11World Day of the SickWorldwide observance

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