ROME, SEPT. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI visited the Child Jesus Pediatric Hospital in Rome, to “witness the love of Jesus for children,” especially those who suffer.
The relatives of the children staying in the hospital, along with medical staff and other workers, welcomed the Pope today with applause and cheers upon his arrival. The hospital is located on Janiculum Hill near the Vatican.
Accompanied by the hospital’s president, Dr. Francesco Silvano, the Holy Father toured the facility and greeted many of the children. He encouraged and patted each one he met, and gave them his blessing.
On more than one occasion, he was quite moved, although he never lost his smile.
Benedict XVI then met with the children and staff in the auditorium, a meeting that began with a greeting given by one of the children on behalf of the hospital.
The Holy Father addressed those present and said that “when passing through the departments and meeting with so many children who suffer, I thought spontaneously of Jesus who loved children with tenderness and wanted them to be allowed to come to him.”
“Like Jesus, the Church also has a special predilection for children, especially when it is a question of children who suffer,” he added.
Benedict XVI added that he wanted to visit this hospital in particular “so that I too can witness the love of Jesus for children, a love that arises spontaneously from the heart and that the Christian spirit increases and reinforces.”
“In every person who suffers, and even more so if he is small and defenseless, Jesus receives us and awaits our love,” he said.
The facility, which has some 2,100 doctors, researchers, patients and technicians, is considered one of the top 10 pediatric hospitals in Europe.
Benedict XVI highlighted the “vanguard operations that give prestige to the Child Jesus,” but regarded as even more important “the solicitous care of the little ones.”
“This calls for great availability, a spirit of sacrifice, patience and selfless love to make it possible for mothers and fathers to find here a place where hope and serenity are breathed, including in the moments of most acute concern,” the Pope told the doctors and other workers and volunteers.
The Bishop of Rome recommended that, with their work, the staff “try to give a family to those who are hospitalized and those who accompany them.”
“This style, which every health center should give, should characterize in a particular way those who are inspired by evangelical principles. No resource should be spared for the children,” he stated.
Benedict XVI acknowledged that the mission of hospital workers “is not easy.” However, “everything will be less difficult if, when dedicating your energies to each little guest, you are able to recognize in his face that of Jesus.”