VATICAN CITY (CNS) — With lots of kisses, but very few words, Pope Francis spent more than two-and-a-half hours visiting sick children, their parents and doctors at Rome’s Bambino Gesu children’s hospital Dec. 21.
In the end, the little patients gave Pope Francis a basket filled with little notes containing descriptions of their prayers and their dreams.
“Thank you,” the pope told the children. “We will present them together to Jesus. He knows them better than anyone; he knows what is in the depths of your hearts.
“Especially with you children, Jesus has a special bond,” the pope said. “He is very close to you.”
More than 3,000 parents, children and staff gathered outside the main entrance, keeping Pope Francis busy for a long time listening to prayer requests, giving blessings and exchanging tight hugs.
Mostly without cameras following him, the pope also visited the 12 babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, the eight children in intensive care and the 18 youngsters in the hospital’s nephrology department.
He also wandered throughout the hospital, visiting dozens of rooms, kissing the tops of heads, accepting drawings and even blessing a stuffed animal.
In the hospital chapel, he met 30 children suffering from cancer; they were the ones who gave him the basket of prayers and dreams.
Just outside the chapel, he blessed and held hands tightly with members of the “Children in Heaven” parents’ support group.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it with youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: