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Friday, September 30, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 30, 2005 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father visited the "Bambin Gesu" pediatric hospital, located very near the Vatican. The hospital, which is the property of the Holy See, is an internationally-renowned center for the care of children, both in the field of medical care and of biomedical research.

  After visiting a number of the hospital's departments and greeting many sick children and their families, the Pope moved to the lecture hall where he greeted the hospital president, members of the administrative council, medical staff and the civil authorities.

  Francesco Silvano, president of the hospital, recalled how the "Bambin Gesu" was founded in 1869, thanks to "a charitable gesture by the noble family of Salviati (who) ... 80 years ago donated it to Pope Pius XI. Since then the hospital has been considered an organ of the Holy See, under the governance and control of the Secretariat of State."

  In his address Benedict XVI explained that, for his first visit to a hospital as Pope, he had chosen the "Bambin Gesu" for two reasons: "because this institution belongs to the Holy See," and "so that I too can bear witness to Jesus' love for children. ... In everyone who suffers, even more so if they are small and defenseless, there is Jesus Who welcomes us and awaits our love."

  The Holy Father highlighted how work in the hospital "calls for great willingness and constant efforts to increase available resources, it requires attention, a spirit of sacrifice, patience and disinterested love, so that mothers and fathers may find here a place that breathes hope and serenity, even in moments of acute apprehension."

  "Here you concern yourselves with ensuring excellent treatment, not just from the point of view of healthcare, but also in human terms. This approach, which is valid for all healthcare centers, must especially distinguish those that are inspired by evangelical principles."

  After thanking hospital personnel for their help "in this work of such great human value, which also represents a most effective form of apostolate," the Pope said: "May the Church herself be the heart of the hospital: from Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist and the gentle Doctor of bodies and souls, draw the spiritual strength to comfort and cure the patients here."

  Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by saying that in the hospital it is possible "to offer concrete and effective witness of the Gospel, in contact with suffering humanity. Here, through deeds, the power of Christ is proclaimed, Who with His spirit heals and transforms human existence. Let us pray that, together with the cure, the love of Jesus is imparted to the young guests."

  After his visit, the Pope returned to the Vatican by car.
BXVI-VISIT/BAMBIN GESU/...                        VIS 20050930 (470)

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