Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jan 24, 2023 / 14:00 pm
Pope Francis is calling on Catholics and people worldwide to remember those suffering from leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, ahead of World Leprosy Day.
“We cannot forget these brothers and sisters of ours,” the 86-year-old pontiff said in a message to the Second Symposium on Hansen’s disease held Jan. 23-24 in Rome. “We must not ignore this disease, which unfortunately still afflicts many people, especially in the most disadvantaged social contexts.”
While the disease is easily curable and rare in countries such as the United States, people from around the world still suffer from it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 2-3 million people are living with Hansen’s disease-related disabilities worldwide.
World Leprosy Day, which is held annually on the last Sunday of January, began in 1954 in an attempt to raise awareness of the disease.