VATICAN CITY, JUNE 4, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II had a poignant meeting today with some 200 Polish children who suffer from cancer, and urged them to “thank God for the love with which your parents surround you.”
The children are in Rome thanks to the assistance of the Understanding Without Barriers Foundation, which has given them a few days away from their usual hospital environment.
Seeing the faces of the blond-haired children, John Paul II said, “I know how difficult the experience of sickness is.” He prayed for “the gift of health” for each of them.
“I pray,” he added, “in the first place, so that you yourselves, and your parents and those who look after you, will have hope; that you will be strong in spirit, especially when the body fails, due to weakness.”<br>
He continued: “It is difficult for the one who suffers to understand that, in the midst of illness, a great good is also effected, either in him, or in the hearts of all those by his side.”
“We must thank God for the love with which your parents surround you, the care of the doctors and nurses, the generosity of people, often unknown, who support you materially and spiritually,” the Holy Father said.
Before saying goodbye to his young guests, the Pope added: “May such love and goodness never be lacking!”