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Pope Makes Surprise Visits to Neonatal Unit, Hospice

“With this “Friday of Mercy”, the Holy Father wanted to give a strong sign of the importance of life, from its first instant to its natural end”

In the framework of his “Fridays of Mercy,” Pope Francis visited a neonatal unit and a hospice for the terminally ill in a Roman hospital.

According to a statement released by the Holy See Press Office, the Pontiff’s first visit was to the Accident and Emergency department and to the Neonatal unit of Rome’s San Giovanni Hospital.

After putting on a mask and completing the other health and safety procedures, the Pope stopped beside the incubators of twelve new born babies, five of whom are suffering from severe complications, including one set of twins, reported Vatican Radio.

Before going on to meet with staff and families at the nursery on the floor above, the Holy Father offered words of comfort and support to all of the parents.

Later in the afternoon the Pope visited some 30 terminally ill patients at the Villa Speranza Hospice, located in the north of Rome as part of the Gemelli University Hospital Foundation.

On arrival, the leaders welcomed the pope, who wanted to greet them one by one, in each of the patient’s rooms. This was a great surprise on the part of everyone, including patients and relatives, who lived moments of intense emotion, full of tears and smiles of joy.

“With this “Friday of Mercy”, the Holy Father wanted to give a strong sign of the importance of life, from its first instant to its natural end,” the Vatican statement said.

“The acceptance of life and the guarantee of human dignity at all times of development is a lesson repeatedly stressed by Pope Francis, who, with this dual visit, has given a concrete and tangible sign of the importance of caring for the weakest and most vulnerable in order to show mercy in our lives.”

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