Pope’s Words to Children’s Hospital in Genoa

‘So often I ask myself again and again the question: why do children suffer? And I do not find an explanation. I only look at the Crucifix and stay there.’

During the afternoon of Saturday, May 27, 2017, during his one-day visit to the northern Italian city of Genoa, Pope Francis left the Shrine of Our Lady of the Guard and went by car to the “Giannina Gaslini” Paediatric Hospital of Genoa.

Upon his arrival, the Pope went to visit the children in various Departments of the Hospital. Then, after visiting the Hospital’s Resuscitation Department, he greeted the medical and administrative staff. At the end of the visit, Pope Francis went by car to Kennedy Square for the Eucharistic Celebration.

Here is a Zenit translation of the Holy Father’s greeting to the staff of the “Gaslini” Hospital.

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The Holy Father’s Greeting 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In my visit to Genoa, a stop at this hospital could not be lacking, where children are taken care of, because the suffering of children is certainly the hardest to accept; hence the Lord calls me to be, even if briefly, close to these children and youngsters and their families. So often I ask myself again and again the question: why do children suffer? And I do not find an explanation. I only look at the Crucifix and stay there.

I greet all of you who work in this renown structure, which for 80 years has been dedicated with passion and competence in the care and assistance of children, with the important support of research. I express my appreciation to those in charge of the hospital, beginning with the President of the Foundation, the Archbishop of Genoa, the doctors, the paramedic staff, and all the collaborations in the various specializations, as well as the Friars Minor Capuchins and all those that assist and help the children patients with love and dedication. They are in need, in fact, of your gestures of friendship, of your understanding, of your affection and paternal and maternal support.

This Institute arose as an act of love of Senator Gerolamo Gaslini. To found it in honor of his daughter who died at an early age, he despoiled himself of all his goods: society, establishments, real estate, money and even of his dwelling. Therefore, this Hospital, known and appreciated in Italy and in the world, has a special role: to continue to be a symbol of generosity and solidarity. In the Act of the Hospital’s foundation, Gaslini stated: “It is my firm will that this Institute have the Catholic faith as its basis and guide [. . .} that it foment every activity and comfort every sorrow.” We know that faith operates above all through charity and, without this, it is dead. Therefore, I encourage all of you who carry out your delicate work driven by charity, thinking often of the “Good Samaritan” of the Gospel: be attentive to the needs of your little patients, bending with tenderness over their frailty, and seeing the Lord in them. Whoever serves the sick with love serves Jesus who opens to us the Kingdom of Heaven.

I hope that this hospital, faithful to its mission, will be able to continue its appreciated work of care and research through the support and generous and selfless contribution of all the categories and at all levels. For my part, I accompany you with my prayer and the Lord’s blessing, which I invoke from my heart upon you, upon all the patients and their families.

[Blessing] [Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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