On Saturday, November 16, 2019, Pope Francis will welcome to Paul VI Hall more than six thousand people, including doctors, researchers, volunteers, employees, patients and relatives linked to the Roman pediatric hospital, Bambino Gesù, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary.
A century and a half after the hospitality and care granted to four young patients in a two-bedroom house in Rome’s Via delle Zoccolette, Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital now has four sites, 607 beds and more than three thousand employees and collaborators. It has been known as the “Pope’s hospital” since 1924, the year in which the Salviati family entrusted it to Pius XI.
The first to greet the Pope on Saturday will be two hundred children with their parents, patients of Bambino Gesù Hospital, including those from faraway areas of the world, thanks to the hospital’s various international collaboration initiatives, for example in the Central African Republic.
During the audience the Pope will receive three gifts from the patients: a priestly stole made by children from the nursery, on the themes of creation and its protection; the comic “A hospital for Pope Francis”, which tells the story of the creation of the hospital in Bangui, and the book “Lives that help life”, with photographs of all the professionals of the Bambino Gesù Hospital.
Upon arrival the Holy Father will be received with a banner bearing the slogan for the hospital’s anniversary, “The future is a children’s story”, and by sixty children wearing the t-shirt promoting the social campaign, “Every story deserves a happy ending”, launched by the hospital to tell the story of the children who have fought against and defeated “Hodgkin’s monster” and other illnesses, with the help of the doctors, nurses and researchers of Bambino Gesù Hospital.