Pope Francis Makes Surprise Visits to Neonatal Unit and Hospice for Terminally Ill

Pope Francis continues Jubilee of Mercy with visits Friday to a neonatal unit and hospice.

For those who are used to seeing the Ruler of Vatican City in his traditional religious attire of white, it would come as a shocking surprise to see the current Pontiff, Pope Francis, in the green robes worn by medical professionals. Last week’s “Mercy Friday” saw the Pope visiting a neonatal unit and a hospice for the terminally ill. This visit was symbolic of the journey that we make from conception to natural death. This is another one of the Pope's surprise visits to unexpected places which he makes every Friday.

This visit to the two healthcare buildings symbolized the dignity of human life, the Pope says. The visits, which are always kept a secret until his actual arrival, leaves people stunned. This time too, the hospital staff, patients and parents of the infants were thoroughly surprised at the appearance of the Pope. Hospital sources revealed that the Pope stopped at each incubator, blessing the infants and their parents, consoling the parents and giving them hope. Having donned a surgical robe and mask, Pope Francis also visited five babies who were suffering from serious medical complications. The hospital staff at San Giovanni (Rome), were truly touched by this gesture while the parents felt greatly encouraged.

The hospital visit was followed by a visit to a home for the terminally ill, Villa Speranza Hospice. The Pope visited all 30 patients, greeting them and speaking words of kindness. He also spoke to their family members, which touched them very deeply. The visibly emotional family members were comforted by the Pontiff, who blessed them and their ill family members.

Previous Mercy Friday visits, the pope spent some time at an old age home, an addiction rehab center, a home for rescued victims of sex trade, a home for aged priests and others. The pope has declared that every Friday, he would visit a different section of neglected and marginalized people of society. The year being the “Holy Year of Mercy,” Pope Francis is trying to set an example to Catholics to visit the needy, the sick and the downtrodden of society.

The Vatican revealed that through last Friday's visit, Pope Francis gave a sign of the importance and dignity of human life, right from birth to death. The Vatican also added that by visiting patients from either ends of life, the pope was trying to show how important it is for us to give attention to people in the most vulnerable and precarious stages in life, no matter what the age.;

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