On Saturday afternoon, Pope Francis visited Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome, encouraging them with prayers for their healing. The Holy Father toured the facility and met with young patients as well as with their families. The Holy Father also greeted the medical staff and administrators of the hospital.
Also presented to the Holy Father was the ‘Francis House’ initiative. Named after thge 77 year old Pontiff, the ‘Francis House’ initiative is a place of welcome for mothers and their children who live outside the margins of society.
According to Vatican Radio, over 4,000 well wishers we present for the annual Christmas greeting to the Holy Father. The hospital presented a basket to the Holy Father containing prayers the children wrote on paper.
“Dear children, I thank for your dreams and your prayers that you have collected in this basket that you have given me,” the Holy Father said. “Thank you very much! We will present it together to Jesus: He knows them better than all of us.”
The Pope encouraged the children, telling that Jesus shares a special bond, especially with children. “He is always close to you,” the Holy Father said. Pope Francis concluded his remarks by leading them in praying the ‘Hail Mary’ and imparted his blessing.
The papal visit to Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital before Christmas is a tradition that began with Blessed John XXIII’s visit in 1958. It has also been visited by Paul VI, Blessed John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. (J.A.E.)