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Pope at Angelus: Healthcare for All Is Essential Service

Pope Francis greets crowds for his Angelus from the balcony of his hospital room.

Pope Francis gave his familiar “Buongiorno!” greetings from the hospital on Sunday, just one week after undergoing intestinal surgery from which he is still recuperating at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital. From the balcony of a 10th-floor window overlooking the crowds below, he appeared with children who are being cared for there and recalled the need for our prayers and support for them.

The Pope expressed his joy at being able to keep the weekly Sunday Angelus appointment today and noted his profound gratitude to all, saying “I have deeply felt your closeness and the support of your prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!” (Read: Pope Francis Doing Well After Colon Surgery)

In his brief address before leading the recitation of the Angelus prayer, he reflected on today’s Gospel reading where we read that Jesus’ disciples went out and anointed with oil many who were sick and then healed them. The oil he noted is in the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick which “gives comfort to spirit and body”, but it is also a balm for “listening, the closeness, the care, the tenderness of those who take care of the sick person”, easing the pain and helping them feel better.

He noted that we all will need this “anointing” some time in our lives, and “we can all give it to someone else” through simple gestures such as a visit, a call, a helping hand.

Pope Francis speaks with a patient at the Gemelli hospital as he recovers following scheduled surgery on his colon, in Rome, Italy, July 11, 2021. (Photo from Vatican Media/­Handout/Voice of America)

Economic pressure must not compromise essential healthcare service

Pope Francis shared that during these days in the hospital he has experienced personally the importance of good health care, accessible to all, as it is in Italy and other countries. He stressed that “This precious benefit must not be lost. It needs to be kept!”. This requires the commitment of all, he noted, “because it helps everyone and requires everyone’s contribution”. The Pope noted that economic pressures should not compromise the ability to provide essential healthcare service.

May no one be left alone

Pope Francis greets staff at the Gemelli Hospital in Rome, July 11, 2021. (Photo from Vatican Media)

In conclusion, the Pope expressed his profound “appreciation” and “encouragement” to the doctors, healthcare workers, and staff. He asked us all to pray for the sick, especially those in the most difficult situations, underlining, “may no one be left alone, may everyone receive the anointing of listening, closeness and care”. He said may we pray for this, “through the intercession of Mary, our Mother, Health of the Sick”.

Text by Vatican News staff writer.

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