Every year since its inception in 1992 by Pope John Paul II, the Order of Malta celebrates the World Day of the Sick on or around February 11, the Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes.

On Saturday, February 15, 2020, the San Jose Location held this special event at St.Christopher Church in San Jose, coordinated by the Pastor and Location Chaplain Father Chris Bennett, and Keeth Souza-Courpet, DM.

Before Mass, Knights and Dames greeted people at the front of the church and distributed a Worship Aid, which included this year’s Message from the Holy Father, the Prayer of the Order and a Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes. Before and after Mass, attendees had the opportunity to fill out a prayer petition card, which was to be hand- carried to Lourdes during the annual pilgrimage in May. Unfortunately, the pilgrimage was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus, so all petitions were mailed to Lourdes instead.

Bishop Oscar Cantu of San Jose celebrated the Mass, along with Father Bennett, and several other priests from the diocese. The choir from St. Christopher, with soloist Melissa Bloom, provided the beautiful music for the nearly 500 malades, companions, families and Order of Malta members in attendance. During the celebration, attendees received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and Blessing for Caregivers. As in past years, a former malade and companion carried up the Offertory Gifts.

This year, for the first time, the San Jose Location hosted a reception after the Mass, which gave members an opportunity to meet and talk with the attendees, listen to their challenges and concerns in life, and answer their questions about the Order, while sharing croissants, doughnuts, fresh fruit, and beverages. Appreciative malades, companions and people from the diocese received a pre-assembled packet containing a small vial of Lourdes water, a medal of Our Lady of Lourdes with Bernadette, and a novena prayer card. They departed expressing many a “thank you” and “please pray for me.” Our deepest thanks to the members of St. Christopher Parish and all the San Jose Knights and Dames for their great teamwork at this beloved event.

By Keeth Souza-Courpet, DM and Ginny Hurley, DM