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Cardinal Parolin’s Christmas Greetings at Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital in Rome

‘Through the little patients, we put ourselves at the service of the Child Jesus, the Son of God, who so trusted us as to put himself in our hands: In Mary’s hands, in Joseph’s hands, in the hands of us all’

Here is a Zenit working translation of the Christmas greetings that the Vatican Secretary of State, H.E. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, gave Dec. 21, 2018, in the course of his visit to the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital of Rome.

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Greeting to the Employees of the Bambino Gesu Hospital

I renew to all present here, and to the whole community of the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital, the greetings I already expressed during the Holy Mass just celebrated.

I’m here, as every year, to express good wishes to you, fervid and warm wishes for a happy Christmas and a serene New Year.  May the Lord Jesus, who is born for us at Bethlehem, fill you with joy and peace, console those who suffer some sorrow in their heart and may the desires of goodness you bear be realized! I extend my good wishes to your families and to all persons dear to you.  Our Hospital is dedicated to the Child Jesus: it was a splendid intuition of the founders, encouraged from the beginning by the blessing of Pope Pius IX. Therefore, we can say that every day Christmas is somewhat here.

To celebrate the Child Jesus on the day of His birth reminds us of a double call to which we must respond.

First of all, there is the call to our principal mission, which is that of serving little sick ones, especially the most fragile. We are aware that to cure calls for a constant commitment to research and to a continuous investment to respond at levels of excellence. Our challenge is to offer to all an appropriate treatment, also to incurable persons, because all have the right to a fitting if brief life. In this context, I think of the structural investments that see and will see the Hospital grow in order to be able to offer more complete therapeutic courses: the works for the development of Sant’ Onofrio and of Palidoro, the realization of Villa Luisa and of the Villa Pamphili Center, headquarters of the Alicorni Palace. The diverse structures indicate the richness of a community that intends to grow, considering all its system and not only one dimension.

Through the little patients, we put ourselves at the service of the Child Jesus, the Son of God, who so trusted us as to put himself in our hands: In Mary’s hands, in Joseph’s hands, in the hands of us all.

I would very much like our work in this Hospital, because it is, in fact, the Pope’s Hospital, not ever to lose sight, rather to give the first place to these, which I will call “supernatural motivations.” This doesn’t mean to do away with “human motivation,” as, for instance, work, stipend, the realization of one’s professional aspirations, etc.  These are part of our humanity. Therefore, it’s not about denying them, but of living them in a certain way, with a certain style, in a dimension of service, of disinterest and of gift of self, which is the heart of the Gospel. Before taking any decisions or engaging in any actions, I would like each one of us, all those that direct this institution and those that carry out the most menial tasks — although in God’s eyes there are not more and less important charges, because everything depends on the right intention, on honesty and on the love with which things are done –, to first ask ourselves if we are truly making an effort to put the Gospel into practice.

And, grafted here is the second call. The Gospel tells us that the Son of God came to dwell with all men, because all are the object of His infinite love, but, in a particular way, with the “last” of the earth; they are represented by the shepherds, who were the first to receive the announcement of the Angel, and they moved to meet the Babe of Bethlehem. We cannot forget this important indication of Christmas, which calls us to the task of “going to the last.” Therefore, I’m happy that the Hospital makes an effort to open itself to the peripheries, in harmony with Pope Francis’ invitation to be the Hospital of the children of the world.

With this Christmas we get closer to an important stage in your course: the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the oldest pediatric hospital of Italy. It is a particularly significant passage, which should help us to have a happy memory of the past, to live the present intensely and to enter the future with courage and hope. The memory is, in fact, the baggage that serves persons to go beyond themselves towards new horizons. Memory combined with discernment gives the awareness that challenges, obstacles, difficulties and even dramas exist, that often seem greater than our strength, but if the Lord is with us, we have nothing to fear. And the Lord is with us; He is Emmanuel. We repeat with the prophet Isaiah: “Comfort, comfort my people: your Saviour will come soon. Why are you consumed in sadness? Why are you assailed again by sorrow? He will save you; do not fear: I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Redeemer!”

With these words, I renew my good wishes for a happy Christmas and a serene New Year and we will meet this coming March 19, to celebrate together the Hospital’s 150th anniversary.

Thank you.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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