Ahead of the 2024 World Day for the Sick, Catholic Bishops in Tanzania are appealing to Catholics in the country to voluntarily donate blood as a way of demonstrating their love for the life of others.
In a video message ahead of the yearly February 11 celebration, the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) President, Archbishop Gervais Mwasikwabhila Nyaisonga, says that the event is to be marked under the theme, “Show Love to Patients, Donate Blood, Save Lives”.
The World Day of the Sick was established by Pope St. John Paul II, in 1992, to encourage Christians to pray for the sick on February 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. This year’s celebration is to be realized under the theme, “It is not good that man should be alone – Healing the Sick by Healing Relationships.”
In October 2023, Tanzania’s Acting Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, Ziada Selaleo, said that the country was facing a shortage of safe blood for transfusion.
“I urge you all to take the important step of donating blood so that we can help in the treatment of those who need blood transfusions as part of their treatment,” Archbishop Gervais says in the video recording published Monday, February 6.
He said participation in the blood donation exercise, “is an opportunity to show our love of caring for the sick through actions.”
In donating blood, “we are carrying out the commandment of love in action”, the Archbishop added. “By donating blood we are building a bridge of love for those who need our help.”
“Show us love by donating blood and saving lives,” he reiterates.
Archbishop Gervais goes on to highlight some of the beneficiaries of the blood donation campaign, who “desperately need blood donations to save their lives”, including “pregnant women who lose a lot of blood during childbirth, cancer patients, children under the age of five ailing from malaria, and victims of accidents.”
While blood donation takes only a few minutes, the TEC President says that “it can be very meaningful in bringing comfort to many families within our community.”
In the message for the 32nd World Day of the Sick, the Archbishop continues, “I urge you to come out willingly and in large numbers to donate blood and set an example for others to show them how the Catholic faith can be a springboard for love and life.”