On Sunday evening, February 14, 2016, Pope Francis visited the ‘Federico Gomez’ Pediatric Hospital in Ecatepec during his first Apostolic Visit to Mexico. Read the full text of his prepared greeting below:
Greeting of Pope Francis
Visit to the “Federico Gómez” Pediatric Hospital
Sunday 14 February 2016
Madam First Lady,
Madam Secretary for Health,
Members of the Board of Governors,
Families here present,
Friends one and all,
Good afternoon. I thank God for granting me this opportunity to come and visit you, to join you and your families in this hospital. To share a little of your life and of those who work here: the doctors, nurses, personnel, and volunteers who help. Thank you.
There is a very brief passage in the Gospel which tells us something of Jesus’ childhood. He was very small, just like some of you. One day, his parents, Joseph and Mary, took him up 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. 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 recognizing 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.
Have you ever heard of the Indian Juan Diego? 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,
May the Lord and the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe remain with you always. Thank you very much. And please, do not forget to pray for me.