Since most of us are not medical professionals, we may tend to think that cancer is something that affects certain people usually later in life. However, cancer in its many forms is a dreaded disease that impacts many of our children. Some of the children in our Parish have been impacted by this extraordinary illness in the last few years. We have a young child in our parish community who is currently struggling with brain cancer.
Support of pediatric cancer awareness is something we should prayerfully consider. This dreaded disease of cancer has not only a devastating impact on a child but also can cause great physical and emotional anguish and distress within families. Pope Francis often speaks of his great love for the family, especially the family which is struggling in some way. We are invited to provide some comfort and assistance to families impacted by this illness, primarily through our spiritual and emotional support.
Awareness initiatives have proven to be effective in assisting in appropriate and necessary medical research. Newer and bolder research initiatives are currently being explored in an attempt to give patients the safest treatments possible. Additional initiatives are in process to improve the quality of life for post‐cancer patients.
As we have previously noted, Jesus has said that whatever we do for the least of our brethren, we do unto him. Our Church teaches that each life is precious. We are called to proclaim the dignity of the lives of those who are the most vulnerable of God’s people. This includes the grandmother with Alzheimer’s disease. It includes the grandfather with Parkinson’s disease. It includes the young boy with Downs Syndrome. It includes the young girl with autism. It certainly includes the young child struggling with some form of cancer.
This concern for our children and their families is reflected in the following prayer from the Franciscan Fathers:
Dear Jesus, Divine Physician, Healer of the Sick:
We call upon you and ask your help
for our loved ones who suffer from cancer.
We entrust them to your loving care.
They are your children and they are in pain.
Give them the ability to know in their hearts
that you are with them in this difficult time.
Give them strength and healing.
comfort them in their fears, soothe their anxiety
and let them rest securely in your arms.
Help those who care for them.
Give insight to researchers that they may discover cures.
Give patience and energy to doctors and nurses
so that they will care for them with grace and love.
For us, their families, their friends, and their community,
we need your courage and strength to be with them
and help them bear their burdens.
Give us joy, peace and confidence in you
so that like Mary, your Mother,
we may stand with them in faith and trust,
witnessing to your healing love.
For you are blessed forever and ever. Amen