VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The kind of health care most at risk of being neglected for those who are ill or hospitalized is love, Pope Francis told pediatric patients.
A hospital must always carry out certain procedures and functions, but “there is the danger, the risk of forgetting the most important medicine only a family can give — caresses,” he said, emphasizing it was critical that hospital staff create a sense of being part of one family with patients and relatives.
In the Paul VI audience hall April 10, the pope met with patients, their family members and medical personnel from the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu children’s hospital in Rome.
The children and young people spoke to the pope and gave him photographs and small gifts. He read aloud one note given to him on behalf of all the young patients, who thanked him for meeting with them “because you give us hope and courage for tomorrow.”
The pope told them he sensed that, “more than a hospital, this is a family” because medical staff always introduced the children to him by their names, knew their life stories and only mentioned their illnesses last, like a side note.
He said he understands how young patients would be fearful and feel insecure.
“Going into a hospital is always scary. I see it when I go up to some kids, not all of them, but some — the little ones — who see me dressed in white and they start crying. They think that I am a doctor” about to give them a shot “and they cry and are afraid,” he said.
But, he said, when he strokes them softly them they feel reassured. That is why it is so important to never forget to show loving care with a caress, he said.
This important “medicine,” however, is very expensive, he said, “because to have it, to be able to give it, you have to put your heart and soul into it, put your whole heart into it, all your love.”
The pope said for a Catholic hospital to be “Catholic” it must first be “human” and treat everyone as family and as being important.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of 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.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
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 and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103