Hundreds braved chilly weather last Saturday morning for the opportunity to receive two sacraments: Anointing of the Sick and Eucharist at the World Day of the Sick Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Feb. 9.“We gather this morning to pray for healing, for all who are sick and for all of us…especially for healing for everyone who has ever been hurt by members of the Church,” said Archbishop Gomez in his homily.Noting that the liturgy was celebrating the Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes, whose Feb. 11 feast day is also the 21st World Day of the Sick, Archbishop Gomez commented on the church’s long tradition of asking the Blessed Mother’s intercession for the sick and the suffering.“The readings of today’s Mass [including the Gospel of Jesus’ first miracle at Cana from John 2:1-11] are beautiful, and they show us God’s merciful love for us and the compassionate face of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is with us always — as the Health of the Sick and the Comforter of the Afflicted,” said the archbishop.“She accompanies all sick people in their pain, as she accompanied her Son to the foot of the cross, and she sustains us all in faith and hope as we seek the mercy of God,” he added.After the homily, the Rite of Anointing of the Sick began with the “Laying of the Hands,” as more than 20 priests and bishops extended their hands in blessing toward the congregation where the sick were standing or seated in wheelchairs. This was followed by the individual anointing of forehead and hands of hundreds by the clergy stationed in front of the altar and near the side wheelchair section. Irma Mendosa, seated in the wheelchair section, told The Tidings after the Mass that she felt good after the service. “I’ve never been to one of these beautiful services before,” said Mendosa, who came with family members to the liturgy.Edward Espinosa, a parishioner at Holy Name of Mary parish in San Dimas who accompanied his wife currently undergoing cancer treatment, said the service was both solemn and moving. “It will be effective as long as you have faith in God,” he noted.Alma Arredondo, who aided an infirm individual seeking anointing, said it was a blessing to be a helper at the healing service. “I was just so moved emotionally,” said Arredondo, a parishioner from St. Andrew’s in Pasadena who will be installed as a Dame of Malta this June at the Cathedral.“I was particularly touched by the number of bishops and priests on the altar who took the time on a Saturday morning to come,” said Anne Forsyth, a recently-invested Dame of Malta who works in the president’s office at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula.“I thought it was a beautiful celebration of a sacrament that we tend to think of simply for the dying, but it really is not,” Forsyth noted. “It is for those who are sick, those who are in some kind of danger. And, there’s a healing of soul that can always happen even if there isn’t a healing of body, and that’s a beautiful aspect of it.”“We have a great sacrament in the Anointing of the Sick, and we don’t use it that often,” said Jesuit Father Scott Santarosa, pastor of Dolores Mission Church in Boyle Heights. “It’s kind of like one of our best kept secrets, so it’s nice to have it showcased today and have a lot of people come freely to it.”“It was a very healing service,” said Bob Barbarowicz, a Knight of Malta assisting those at the event in wheelchairs, one of the duties performed by local Knights and Dames who help accompany 50 sick people on a pilgrimage to Lourdes each May. “The service went beautifully,” added Bitsy Hotaling, Dame of Malta and president of the Order of Malta chapter in Los Angeles. “”We’re so happy that whoever was able to come, came. A lot of people said ‘thank you.’”For information on the Feb. 15, 5 p.m., Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels commemorating the 900th anniversary of the Order of Malta, contact Michael Grace at [email protected]. {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0215/sickday/{/gallery}