- About "Cover The Uninsured Week"
- Call to Care from Supporting Faith Communities
- Prayer and Liturgy Resources
About Cover The Uninsured Week For the second year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has decided to co-sponsor "Cover the Uninsured Week." The purpose of this effort is to focus the attention of the nation on the more than 43 million Americans who lack any form of health insurance. The USCCB has joined with our ecumenical and interfaith partners in educating the public and policymakers about the need for affordable and accessible health care for all. The leadership of this project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, includes The Catholic Health Association of the U.S., major health organizations, and business and labor groups.
You may be hearing about Cover the Uninsured Week activities in your communities, especially those sponsored by health care leaders and religious leaders. For example, health fairs and ecumenical and interfaith prayer breakfasts were among the successful events held last year. If you hear about such events or are asked to help plan one, I hope you can participate as a representative of the Catholic community. If you want to know who is organizing events in your community, go to the Cover the Uninsured Week website (CoverTheUninsuredWeek.org)and you will find a list of Local Community Field Coordinators (in targeted areas) and regional coordinators. The website also has resources including an Interfaith Action Kit. Catholic Health Association has a whole section of its website devoted to CTUW (www.chausa.org).
Below you will find "A Call to Care" from representatives of the sponsoring faith communities and organizations, and prayer and liturgy resources. The prayers can be used at events before and during Cover The Uninsured Week, and the homily helps correspond to the Sunday readings before and after the week. For additional information and to find out what you can do, please check out the Cover The Uninsured Week website.
Who Needs Care?
In 2003, nearly 44 million Americans lacked health care coverage, an increase of more than 2 million in just one year; nearly 44 million uninsured Americans need care. Most of the uninsured-eight out of 10-are in working families; America's uninsured workers and their families need care.
Eight and a half million of the uninsured are children under the age of 18; America's uninsured children need care.
The health, jobs, families and lives of the uninsured are in constant jeopardy. These children, women and men live sicker and die younger simply because they do not have health insurance; those at risk, sick and dying need care.
More than one in four currently uninsured adults have had severe problems with paying medical bills, problems that forced them to change their way of life significantly to pay these bills; those with financial problems need care.
Yet it doesn't have to be this way. So today we proclaim the call to care in the name of our nation's nearly 44 million uninsured people.
Why Do Our Faith Communities Proclaim the Call to Care?
Because faith communities have a long tradition of caring for people who suffer in mind, body and spirit, today we proclaim the call to care for our nation's nearly 44 million uninsured people.
Because faith communities have prayed for the sick, visited the hospitalized, comforted the dying and their loved ones, and founded hospitals, we proclaim today a call to care for our nation's nearly 44 million uninsured people.
Because faith communities have led the way in seeking just and compassionate public policies, today we proclaim the call to care for our nation's nearly 44 million uninsured people.
Because Jewish teaching holds that "if you save one life it is as if you have saved the world;" because Muslim teaching instructs us to "help one another in righteousness and piety;" because in Christian teaching we read, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me," today we proclaim the call to care for our nation's nearly 44 million uninsured people.
Because all of our faith traditions, despite encompassing a wide spectrum of beliefs, hold a central conviction that life is a gift from God to be cherished and that God's people are called to care for one another, provide healing and prevent suffering with compassion and a commitment to justice, today we proclaim the call to care for our nation's nearly 44 million uninsured people.
Answering the Call
By reflecting on the texts and teachings of our own faiths that guide our understanding of and response to the needs of the uninsured, we will respond with faith.
By learning more about the plight of the uninsured and potential solutions through study, discussion and participation in Cover the Uninsured Week events, we will respond with concern.
By reaching out to help people without health coverage through Cover the Uninsured Week health fairs and other volunteer opportunities, we will respond with care.
By focusing attention on the plight of the uninsured and promoting respectful discussions in which we invite all Americans to participate in seeking and implementing solutions, we will respond with justice.
Rev. Eileen W. Lindner, Chairperson
National Council of Churches
Bishop Cecil Bishop
Lt. Col. Paul Bollwahn, ACSW, CSWM
Salvation Army, National Social Services Secretary
Rabbi Marla J. Feldman
Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism
Dr. Richard Land
Southern Baptist Convention, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Ms. Garland Pohl
National Association of Diocesan Ecumenical Officers
Ms. Hannah Rosenthal
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Dr. Mary Ruth Stone
Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee
Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed
Islamic Society of North America
Bishop Melvin Talbert
United Methodist Church
Ms. Nancy Wisdo
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Organizations listed for identification purposes only.
Faith-based study guides (in Christian, Jewish and Muslim versions); Interfaith Action Kits with prayers, bulletin inserts, activity suggestions and other materials; and additional Cover the Uninsured Week resources have been prepared for Cover the Uninsured Week 2004. For more information about resources and events planned for Cover the Uninsured Week, May 10-16, 2004, log on to www.CoverTheUninsuredWeek.org.
Prayer and Liturgy Resources Prayer for the Sick
Father of goodness and love,
hear our prayers for the sick members of our community
and for all who are in need.
Amid mental and physical suffering
may they find consolation in your healing presence.
Show your mercy as you close wounds, cure illness,
make broken bodies whole and free downcast spirits.
May these people close to your heart find lasting health and deliverance,
and so join us in thanking you for all your gifts.
We ask this through the Lord Jesus
who healed those who believed.
Leader: Gracious God, we as health care leaders are on a journey of faith which will challenge us to choose for the good of all. The journey is one of spirit and truth and mission. We thank you, God, for your goodness and love. We believe your Son and powerful Spirit will share the journey with us, even to the end of time.
All: Lord, may we accept our challenges with enthusiasm and hope-filled expectations, for nothing is impossible in your midst. May we communicate freely and openly, and be understood as a people who share the healing mission of Jesus. Be with us that we might be faithful in proclaiming the truth in the choices we make. Amen
Almighty God, help us this day to direct our attention and concern to the poor, needy and sick in our local communities. Let us hear their hopes and their struggles. Help us to respond in an effort to restore their faith and their belief in their human dignity. May we find within ourselves the conviction to always put the powerless foremost in our minds and hearts. Let us so live that all who know us may know that you are a God who cares, when they experience our care and concern. Let us draw strength from each other as we share our talents for the good of the people we serve in all of our facilities- - We ask this through Christ our Lord,
May 9 - Fifth Sunday of Easter
Readings: Acts 14:21-27; Rv.21:1-5a; Jn 13: 31-33a, 34-35.
- Luke reminds us in the Acts of the Apostles that "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter into the kingdom of God." As followers of the crucified Lord, we are not exempt from the sufferings and difficulties of life. When hardships come, we face them in unity with our crucified Lord. Daily we take up our cross and follow him.
- Jesus clearly states what identifies people as his disciples. They have love for one another. One never needs to be alone in facing the challenges of life. On our life journey, we are surrounded by other members of the Church among whom we will find those who can support and lift us up. Despite the immensity of the challenges facing the Church, she never loses hope for the Master remains always in her midst. Bound together in unity with Christ, the members of the Church seek to encourage, support and transform our world to find its fulfillment in God.
- The members of the Church are aware that the joys and sorrows of the men and women of our age are the joys and sorrows of the followers of Christ. Actively addressing the issues of our day, we look, with confident faith and hope, to the final coming of the Lord Jesus who will make all things new. Even as we strive to reach out to the sick, comfort the mourning and serve each other, we know that a day will come when "He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away. "
Readings: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29, Ps 67: 2-3, 5-6, 6,8, Rv 21:10-14, 22-23 & Jn 14:23-29.
- In the first reading, representatives from Jerusalem are sent to Antioch to help decide issues that were creating an absence of peace among the people. Working together and sharing ideas can bring solutions and peace to a troubled situation.
- A person faced with a financial health crisis can feel isolated and frustrated to the point of crying out with the Psalmist: "My God have pity on us and bless us."
- We journey in life toward the heavenly Jerusalem described in the Book of Revelation but we will not reach our goal until we first transform our earthly city by joining with all who love and promote justice.
- Jesus, in the Gospel, says: "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him." If we are to keep the words of Jesus then we must manliest our solidarity with the poor and those suffering injustice in life.
- The problems of our day and age are many and complex. We must be confident that if we are open to the movement of the Holy Spirit we can deal with complex problems. As we do so our hearts will not be troubled or afraid.
- Catholic health care is dedicated to bringing that special peace pf God, different from the world's peace, to those troubled by illness or other life problems.
Priest: My brothers and sisters, with joy at Christ's rising from the dead, let us turn to God our Father in prayer.
For all of us, that we may always offer comfort, care and support to all our brothers and sisters in need, we pray to the Lord.
For all who are uninsured, that they may be strengthened by you and given hope by the care of your people.
For the sick, that they may be strengthened by faith and served with care by doctors and nurses, we pray to the Lord.
For all who have died....
Priest: O God, your wish is for our health and wholeness. Send forth your healing power and hear the prayers we make. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.