In the afternoon, the Holy Father Francis left the Shrine of Our Lady of the Guard and transferred by car to the “Giannina Gaslini” Paediatric Hospital in Genoa.
Upon arrival, the Pope paid visits to children in the various departments of the hospital. Then, after visiting the hospital’s intensive care unit, he greeted medical and administrative staff. At the end of the visit, Pope Francis transferred by car to Piazzale Kennedy for the Eucharistic celebration.
The following is the Pope’s greeting to the staff of the “Gaslini” Hospital:
Greeting of the Holy Father
Dear brothers and sisters,
In my visit to Genoa, I could not neglect to stop in this Hospital where children are cared for. Because the suffering of children is certainly the hardest to accept; and so the Lord calls me to stay, even briefly, beside these children and young people, and their families. Very often I ask myself, and I ask myself again, the question: why do children suffer? And I do not find an explanation. I only look at the Crucified Lord, and I stop there.
I greet all of you who work in this renowned structure, which for eighty years has been dedicated with passion and competence to care and assistance for children, with the important support of research. I express my appreciation to the directors of the hospital, starting with the president of the Foundation, the archbishop of Genoa, the doctors, the paramedics, all collaborators in the various specializations, as well as the Friars Minor Capuchin and all those who assist and help the young patients with love and devotion. Indeed, they also need your gestures of friendship, your understanding, your affection and your paternal and maternal support.
This Institute was founded as an act of love by the senator Gerolamo Gaslini. To honour his daughter, who passed away at a tender age, he founded it, giving up all his own belongings: companies, factories, property, money and even his own home. Therefore, this hospital, known and appreciated in Italy and throughout the world, has a special role: to continue to be a symbol of generosity and solidarity. In the founding Act of the Hospital, Gaslini states that “It is my firm will that this Institute have, as its basis and guide, the Catholic faith … that may leaven every activity and comfort every pain”. We know that faith works above all through charity and, without this, it is dead. Therefore I encourage you all to carry out your delicate work driven by charity, thinking often of the “Good Samaritan” of the Gospel: attentive to the needs of your young patients, bowing with tenderness before their fragilities, and seeing in them the Lord. Those who serve the sick with love, serve Jesus, who opens to us the Kingdom of the heavens.
I hope that this Hospital, faithful to its mission, may continue its valued work of healing and research through the generous and selfless contribution of all groups and at all levels. For my part, I accompany you with prayer and the Lord’s blessing, which I heartily invoke upon you, all your patients, and their relatives.