World Leprosy Day 2007 is Sunday January 28 and the main World Leprosy Day Service for The Leprosy Mission Northern Ireland will be held in Lisburn Cathedral.
The Rev Canon Sam Wright, rector, will conduct the service and the preacher will be Mr Colin Ferguson, National Director of The Leprosy Mission NI.
For more than 50 years, on the last Sunday of January, thousands of people across the globe have stopped to remember those who suffer from leprosy. Many people still think of it as an ancient long eradicated disease, but in fact every year more than 400,000 men, women and children discover they have leprosy.
For many centuries, leprosy stigmatized those affected because there was no cure and those with the disease had to live with a disability and hope a compassionate friend would take pity on them.
In 1982 a cure was discovered and today, if diagnosed early, leprosy can be fully cured and the patient can lead a normal life. Yet leprosy continues to grow in areas of desperate poverty.
World Leprosy Day helps to focus on the need of those people affected by leprosy and raises funds in Northern Ireland so that those with leprosy can be treated and cared for.
The World Leprosy Day service in Lisburn Cathedral begins at 3.30pm.