On Friday, Pope Francis spoke of ‘light and shadow’ in healthcare sector, thanking God for the “many healthcare professionals who live their work like a mission, with knowledge and conscience.”These words came in an address to the participants in a meeting promoted by the Charity and Health Commission of the Italian Bishops’ Conference organized for the 25th World Day for the Sick, which was celebrated on Saturday.Pope Francis told the group of Italian healthcare professionals that health care is not a business, but a service to life, and that today we see a situation with lights and shadows. Regarding the “lights” in the field of healthcare, the Pope said, “scientific research has certainly advanced and we are grateful for the precious results obtained for curing, if not defeating, some pathologies.” But regarding the “shadows” in healthcare, the Pope warned about the “risk endangering the experience of our sick brothers and sisters.”“Sick people are precious members of the Church,” the Pope said. “May they be strong in their weakness and receive the grace to fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church.” Now for many, meeting the Pope face-to-face is but a dream. But for the lucky few who actually have a chance to meet and greet him, it is not only a wish come true but a powerful and moving experience.Finally, I leave you with this interesting thought. Imagine being able to give money to your parish for the Sunday collection directly through your smartphone or to finding a priest ready to hear your confession based on your geo-location?A group of young Catholics in France are developing a network of new digital startups to aid the Church’s mission.25-year-old François Pinsac lives in Paris and runs “Church and Digital Innovation,” a group bringing entrepreneurs together to share ideas and develop new Catholic technologies. Among them is an app called “La Quete,” designed for making donations during the offertory collection using a smartphone. The idea is simple: set your location, select the church you are in and donate the money. The funds go directly to the diocese but are then transferred to the parish. This app, which being pioneered in 20 parishes across seven dioceses in France and has 2,500 users, is already proving to be a great success.The average donation on the app is five euros, which is five times the average that people give in cash,” spokesmen for the app said. “It makes sense because today young people are more likely to have smartphones in their pockets than coins.” Currently, there is no time line as to when this app will be available here in North America. But with all the ways it benefits the Church, let’s hope that it will be soon.
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