Vatican City, 14 February 2016 (VIS) – At 4.30 p.m. the Holy Father transferred by helicopter to Ecatepec and from there to the "Marte" military camp to visit the Federico Gomez Paediatric Hospital, which was also visited in 1979 by St. John Paul II, and which assists around eight hundred children each day.
The Pope met with the young patients of the hospital and told them the story of when Jesus’ parents took Him to the Temple to present Him to God. "And while there they met an old man called Simeon who, upon seeing Jesus, was very moved and filled with joy and gratitude. He took Jesus in his arms and held him close, and began to bless the Lord. Looking at Jesus inspired him in two ways: the feeling of gratitude and the desire to bless. Simeon is the 'uncle' who teaches us these two attitudes: gratitude and then blessing".
"For my part (and not only because of my age), I feel I can relate well with these two lessons of Simeon", he confessed. "On the one hand, entering here and seeing your eyes, your smiles, your faces, has filled me with a desire to give thanks. Thank you for the kind way that you welcomed me, thank you for recognising the tenderness with which you are cared for and accompanied. Thank you for the efforts of many who are doing their best so that you can get better quickly. It is very important that we feel cared for and accompanied, to feel loved and to know that all these workers here are looking for the best way to care for us. To each of these people, I say, 'Thank you'. And at the same time, I wish to bless you. I ask God to bless you, and to accompany you and your families, and all those people who work in this home and try to ensure that your smiles grow day by day. May God bless each person – not only doctors but also those who provide 'kindness-therapy' thus making the time spent here more enjoyable".
Francis went on to ask if they had heard of the Indian Juan Diego, and explained that "When his uncle was sick, he was quite worried and distressed. Then, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to him and said, 'Let not your heart be disturbed or upset by anything. Am I not here with you, I who am your mother?'. We have Mary as our Mother, and so let us ask her to give us the gift of her Son, Jesus. Let us close our eyes and ask her to give us what our hearts seek today, and then let us pray together", he said, before praying a Hail Mary with the children. He then toured the playroom and chemotherapy department of the Haematology-Oncology Unit, and paid a private visit to the ward to greet the young inpatients.