I am sure that Pope Francis’ audience today with ARIS was quite meaningful for him, given his recent hospital stay for bronchitis, his 2021 operation and stay in Gemelli hospital and his ongoing mobility issues. As we hear in his words, anyone who is ill requires the care of specialized personnel as well as the love and affection and caring attitude of family and friends: No one must feel alone in illness!


The Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly will be celebrated on Sunday, July 23 on a theme chosen by Pope Francis, “His mercy is from age to age” (Lk 1:50). A communique today from the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life said this theme expresses the link with World Youth Day that will take place a few days later in Lisbon (1-6 August 2023).

The WYD theme “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39) shows us, in fact, the young Mary who sets out to go and find her elderly cousin Elizabeth and who loudly proclaims, in the Magnificat, the strength of the alliance between young and old. On the occasion of this world day, the Holy Father will preside over a Eucharistic liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica and invites parishes, dioceses, associations and ecclesial communities from all over the world to celebrate the Day in their own pastoral context.


Pope Francis welcomed members of the Italian Religious Association of Social and Health Institutes (ARIS), praising the Church’s exemplary witness in taking care of the ill, and insists that ‘No one must feel alone in illness.’

By Deborah Castellano Lubov (vaticannews)

“No one must feel alone in illness,” insisted Pope Francis as he addressed members of the Italian Religious Association of Social and Health Institutes (ARIS) in the Vatican on Thursday morning.

Expressing his appreciation and encouragement, the Pope observed that ARIS is involved in the management of healthcare facilities of Christian inspiration, and could be compared to the inn of the Good Samaritan, where the sick can receive “the oil of consolation and the wine of hope.”

Church’s exemplary witness

The Pope recalled that religious healthcare in Italy has a beautiful and centuries-old history.

“The Church has done much, through healthcare, to listen to and pay attention to the poor, weak and abandoned segments of society. There has been no lack of authoritative witnesses in this sphere, who have known how to recognise and serve the sick and suffering Christ to the point of the complete gift of self, even at the sacrifice of one’s life.”

In healthcare, the Pope warned against the culture of discarding. “When the sick person is not placed at the centre and considered in his or her dignity, attitudes are generated that can even lead to speculation on the misfortunes of others, and this must make us vigilant.”

As the Church, the Holy Father urged, “we are called to respond above all to the demand for the health of the poorest, the excluded and those who, for economic or cultural reasons, see their needs ignored.”

Duty to defend the right to care

He lamented that in Italy, he sees, a return of ‘health poverty,’ especially in the regions marked by more difficult socio-economic situations.


“There are people who, because of a lack of means, are unable to seek treatment, for whom even the payment of a co-payment is a problem; and there are people who have difficulty in accessing health services because of very long waiting lists, even for urgent and necessary visits.”

The need for intermediate care, he added, is also growing, “given the increasing tendency of hospitals to discharge the sick in a short time, favouring the treatment of the more acute phases of the illness over that of chronic pathologies.”

Integral care

“Health care of Christian inspiration has a duty to defend the right to care, especially of the weaker sections of society, privileging the places where people are most suffering and least cared for.”

The Pope encouraged healthcare workers always to accompany the people they welcome into their institutions with integral care, which does not neglect the spiritual and religious assistance of the sick, their families and health workers.

In this, too, he said, healthcare institutions of Christian inspiration “should be exemplary.” “It is not just a matter of offering sacramental pastoral care, but of giving complete attention to the person.”

Never alone in illness

“No one must feel alone in illness!” he said. “On the contrary, each person should be supported in his or her questions of meaning and helped to walk the sometimes long and tiring road of infirmity with Christian hope.”

Pope Francis concluded, telling them to “keep alive the charism of your Founders, not so much to imitate their gestures, but rather to welcome their spirit, not so much to defend the past, but to build a present and a future in which to announce, with your presence, God’s closeness to the sick, especially the most disadvantaged and marginalised by the logic of profit.”

The Holy Father prayed that the Blessed Mother accompany them, as he offered them his blessing, and asked them to pray for him.



This morning, the Prefecture of the Papal Household, through a note from the Holy See Press Office, announced that on Friday, November 5, 2021 at 10:30 am, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in the Rome campus of Sacred Heart Catholic University on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the inauguration of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.


Pope Francis on Monday received a delegation from the Campus Bio-Medico University Hospital of Rome, and told Catholic healthcare operators that, “every health care facility, especially those of Christian inspiration, should be a place where care for the person is practiced and where it can be said: ‘Here you see not only doctors and patients, but people who welcome and help each other: here you can experience the therapy of human dignity’.”

October 18 is the feast of St. Luke, patron saint of healthcare works and physicians.

( – Campus Bio-Medico was founded in 1993, inspired by Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, a Spanish bishop of the Opus Dei prelature.  The Pope noted that Blessed del Portillo had encouraged them to put the patient before the disease, which, he said, is essential in every field of medicine and is fundamental for a treatment that is truly comprehensive and human.

Science and research

Pope Francis also underscored the importance of science and research in medicine, saying “care without science is vain, just as science without care is sterile.”  Science and research together, he said, make medicine an art, that involves the head and heart, combining knowledge and compassion, professionalism and pity, competence and empathy.

The Pope thanked the Campus Bio-Medico University Hospital delegation for favoring a humane development of research.  He lamented the temptation to profit over the needs of the sick and the elderly in healthcare – needs that are constantly evolving with new diseases and inconveniences.

Francis commended the Campus for helping those who do not have the financial means to meet university expenses.   He also mentioned its efforts including a Covid Center, the Emergency Room, and the Hospice.


The Holy Father emphasized that all these efforts must be done together, saying the pandemic has underscored the importance of connecting, collaborating and addressing common problems together.  Catholic healthcare particularly needs to network. “Charity requires a gift: knowledge must be shared, competence must be shared, science must be shared,” he said.

Tackling root causes

Offering science and its products alone, he warned, will remain just band-aids capable of plugging the evil but will not help cure it in depth.  This is true, for example, with vaccines, he said, adding, it is urgent to help countries that have less, but it must be done with farsighted plans and should not be motivated only by the haste of wealthy nations to be safer.  “Remedies must be distributed with dignity, not as pitiful handouts.”

Pope Francis concluded by encouraging the Campus Bio-Medico University Hospital to continue on this path and be open to the inspirations and surprises of the Holy Spirit in its encounter with situations that require closeness and compassion.



Pope Francis established a new Foundation to offer financial support to Catholic healthcare institutions so they can preserve the charism of their founders while complying with Catholic social teachings. It will be headed by Archbishop Nunzio Galantino, president of APSA (Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See).

By Vatican News staff reporter

Pope Francis has created a new body to help Catholic healthcare institutions carry out their mission in compliance with Catholic social teaching. The “Foundation for Catholic Healthcare” was established on Wednesday with a Chirograph, which is an Apostolic letter, handwritten and with the signature of the Pope.

According to the letter, the new body will be entrusted with the task of offering “economic support to Church healthcare institutions, so that the charism of their founders is preserved,” they are included “in the network of similar and meritorious Church institutions”, and therefore can “operate for charitable purposes in accordance with Church’s social teaching.”

The Pope’s decision comes in the light of financial difficulties faced by a number of Catholic health facilities run by religious orders, that are sometimes forced to sell them.

The new Foundation, reads the Chirograph, is an “institution connected to the Holy See” so that “it can operate under its sovereign authority” and as an “instrument of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), which will provide for its governance and whatever is needed for its functioning .”

Pope Francis also approved the Statute of the Foundation, which will be headed by Archbishop Nunzio Galantino, President of APSA.

Ensuring economic stability
The statutory objective is to support and revamp health facilities owned or managed by ecclesial bodies, finding the necessary financial sources, including ones from private donors and public and private institutions.

The Foundation will be able to carry out any type of operation allowed by the legislation of the country in which these health facilities operate while complying with the teachings of the Social Doctrine of the Church and the principles of economic sustainability. In this way, Catholic healthcare institutions facing difficulties will be able to avoid hurried decisions.

“We want to avoid the risk of giving the impression that these institutions are elitist and are reducing treatment to all and for all,” Archbishop Galantino explained to Vatican News.

Healthcare for all
Pope Francis emphasized the importance of healthcare for all in his first public appearance after his intestinal surgery in July. Before leading the recitation of the Angelus prayer from the balcony of the Gemelli Hospital, on July 11, he remarked that during his hospitalization he experienced once again “how important is good healthcare that is accessible to all, like in Italy and in other countries”.

“This precious benefit must not be lost,” he said, noting that “at times” some Church healthcare institutions, “due to poor management” find themselves in financial difficulties and decide to sell.”

“But the vocation of the Church,” he pointed out, “is not to make money: it is to serve, and service is always free.”



So many conferences and meetings and congresses:

JUST ENDED:   The World Union of Catholic Teachers:

JUST STARTED:   World Congress on Global Catholic Education at the Rome Notre Dame Center, organized by ND and by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences –

ABOUT TO START:   Fourth International Vatican Conference Vatican City – April 26-28, 2018 – “How Science, Technology and 21st Century Medicine Will Impact Culture and Society”


I am finally back home and sitting at my desk – though just briefly these first days – trying to get back in the groove of things. The serious infection is gone and we’re now working on getting the tendon to 100 percent. I’ll certainly have a new appreciation of tendon issues whenever I read of athletes who injury the Achille’s tendon and need a lot of time and therapy to heal it.

I certainly spent a lot of time thinking about the healthcare bill in the U.S. Congress – or at least attempts to create a new bill to replace Obamacare. Two things are important for me – and probably for millions. Healthcare must cover pre-existing conditions and insurance companies must be allowed to compete in order to offer good policies at reasonable, affordable prices – not prices that will put families in the poor house with a single hospital stay.

The clinic I was in is run by the marvelous Sisters of St. Joseph of Gerona, a Spanish order of nursing nuns. I saw five of them at Mass in the clinic chapel the first weekend I was there – they all remembered me from a prolonged stay 15 years ago, as I did each of them! Loving, caring, ever-smiling sisters.  And Sr. Guadalupe still plays the organ at the 10:30 Mass.  Her real life sister, Sr. Isabella, accompanied the priest who brought me communion every morning at 7.

I had my iPad so could keep up with news during my stay. Today I offer a story by my EWTN colleagues that I found delightful, and then some stunning video images of Rome. Hope you enjoy both!

I cannot leave you with expressing my heartfelt thanks for all the prayers and rosaries and emails that came my way these past days. You’ll never know what they meant! Mille grazie! Thanks a million!


Loreto, Italy, Jul 23, 2017 / 03:57 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Nine-year-old Andrea is an Italian boy who joined 130 children last month for a “Pilgrimage of Joy” to the Marian Shrine of Loreto, Italy.

He was so moved by the experience that he wrote a letter about it to Pope Francis, inviting the Pope to accompany him and the other children for another pilgrimage next year.

And the Pope offered a surprising response, leaving the door open to the possibility in a letter of reply.

“Thanks for the invitation you have made me to go on a pilgrimage with you, being with children is for me the greatest joy. A proverb says: ‘Never say never.’ Therefore let us entrust this dream into the hands of Providence,” the Pope wrote.

Andrea’s letter to Pope Francis was sent on behalf of himself and the 130 other children who traveled to the Marian Shrine of Loreto from June 22-26. The letter was reprinted by several Italian media outlets.

The pilgrimage was organized by the Rome-Lazio chapter of the National Italian Union of Transportation of the Sick to Lourdes and International Shrines (UNITALSI) with the goal of teaching young children the importance of prayer and closeness to God, while at the same time allowing them to play, have fun, and make new friends.

We are more than 130 children, and many are sick, others in wheelchairs and others are going alone and are accompanied by some nuns,” Andrea said in his letter, adding that they are praying for the Pope every day.

Andrea also included a group photo of all the children, and asked for the Holy Father’s blessing.

Pope Francis responded saying that “it was so nice to receive your letter and to hear about the enriching adventure you experienced with UNITALSI during the Pilgrimage of Joy to Loreto for children.”

“Thanks also for the group photo you sent me, where I could see that there are a lot of you, and you all look so nice. As I was looking at each face in the photograph, I was praying to Our Lady of Loreto for you, and I blessed you straight from the heart, along with your parents, volunteers, priests and the UNITALSI leaders,” the Pope said in his reply.