POPE FRANCIS APPOINTS A “PERSONAL HEALTH ASSISTANT” – JESUIT JOURNAL PUBLISHES CONVERSATION BETWEEN POPE AND FELLOW JESUITS IN CANADA

POPE FRANCIS APPOINTS A “PERSONAL HEALTH ASSISTANT”

There was a very interesting one-sentence announcement from the Vatican press office today: “The Holy Father has named Massimiliano Strapetti, nurse coordinator of the Vatican’s Health and Hygiene Department (direzione) as his personal health assistant.”

No further explanation or clarification was provided by the press office or any other source.

What can this mean?

The Vatican – Vatican City – has a health and hygiene center and a remarkable and well-stocked pharmacy with a sizeable staff of pharmacists. To become a pharmacist in Italy requires 5 years of intense studies and then passing a very demanding, rigorous exam.

The Vatican health center is for current employees of Vatican City State and the Roman Curia, as well as for retirees. There is a main administrative office and the center is staffed by dozens of physicians of all specialities, as well as the generic “family doctor.” Doctors usually work here two half days a week, in either morning or afternoon sessions. However, all have their own private studios or offices and many are on full time staff at some of Rome’s hospitals.

There are facilities for x-rays and for Doppler and other exams, though the center is not equipped like a full-fledged hospital. There is no “pronto soccorso” or emergency service, such as would be needed for victims of a serious accident, although it was here that Pope John Paul II was brought immediately after being shot on May 13, 1981, attested to by a floor plaque in the main building entrance.

There is, however, a “guardia medica” on duty from 7am to 8pm. This is a kind of emergency medical office, staffed by 3 or 4 doctors, for issues that are usually minor or for patients who have health questions. If a diagnosis is serious and a person needs to be hospitalized, there is a specific office for that at the health center.

Medical personnel is always available for events in the Paul VI Hall, Vatican Museums, the basilica and St. Peter’s Square.

This may be more information than you need but I want to point out that medical care at the Vatican is quite comprehensive.

Although I do not know for certain, I would hazard a guess that even at 3am, for example, a doctor is on call somewhere.

Certainly for the Holy Father, should such a need arise. And/or for cardinals residing in Vatican City.

Popes have always had their own personal physicians. We probably knew more about Pope John Paul’s doctors than any other pontiff in history. Many of us who have covered the Vatican for years can remember, without looking them up, the names of the doctors who took care of him in 1981.

A physician has always accompanied the popes on apostolic journeys, be they short or long.

Years ago, a friend who was a flight attendant told me a fascinating story when we met for dinner on her overnight stay.

Suzanne was shopping on Rome’s celebrated Via Condotti and wanted to buy an upscale purse. A flight attendant colleague had recommended a leather shop near Via Condotti, so she went to the address provided, walked up for the second floor and found what she called “the most fascinating and beautiful leather shop” in Italy!

The owner became a professor of leather as he showed Suzanne around and explained how purses, suitcases, jewelry boxes, etc. were made. During their conversation he showed her a beautiful piece of workmanship, explaining that it had been ordered by the Vatican for the doctor who travelled with popes! He had just finished it and was about to deliver it.

Suzanne told me it had numerous compartments for whatever a physician might need to put inside. She said every aspect of the physician’s bag was beyond perfect craftsmanship, adding, “it will probably last 100 years.”

I return to the original question: What does it mean that the pope chose a “personal health assistant”?

It is clear from the announcement that Strappeti is a nurse. He will obviously now be working more closely with the papal doctor, Roberto Bernabei.

By the way, Pope Francis has said of Strappeti “he saved my life” as it was Strappeti who, last summer, persuaded the Pope to have colon surgery.

Why did the Pope deem it necessary to have a personal health assistant? Is Strappeti needed for the daily therapy that Pope Francis is undergoing for his ongoing knee issue? Tomorrow, August 5, marks 3 months that we have seen the pope use a wheel chair.

Or is there an underlying health issue with the Holy Father that we know nothing about that Strappetti is to oversee?

I do not like speculation but we know nothing more than what we were told today.

Pope Francis often ends encounters with individuals or groups the same way he ends the Angelus on Sundays, asking people to pray for him.

And that we will do, Holy Father!

JESUIT JOURNAL PUBLISHES CONVERSATION BETWEEN POPE AND FELLOW JESUITS IN CANADA

On Thursday, the Jesuit review La Civilta Cattolica published the exchange between the Jesuit Pope and his fellow Jesuits that took place in the archbishop’s residence in Québec City on the last day of his penitential pilgrimage to Canada. Francis touches on synodality, concern for Haiti, the Church’s love for families, and liturgy as ‘the people of God’s public praise!’

The full text of the conversation, written and published by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, the Editor-in-Chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, can be read here. (vaticannews)

 

VATICAN INSIDER: THE BIRTH OF WORLD DAY OF GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY (PART II) –   POPE FRANCIS IN CANADA, DAY 6: MEETINGS, A JOURNEY TO IQALUIT, DEPARTURE FOR ROME

VATICAN INSIDER: THE BIRTH OF WORLD DAY OF GRANDPARENTS AND THE ELDERLY (PART II)

Last Sunday, July 24, the Church marked the Second World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. This weekend, in the interview segment of “Vatican Insider, I replay, in Part II, my conversation of last July with Catherine Wiley, grandmother and founder of Catholic Grandparents Association (CGA) and Marilyn Henry who coordinates CGA in the United States. Both women are grandmothers and both have exceptional lives and stories.

Catherine was truly the catalyst for this now annual World Day. For years, she had an idea, a dream that, after meetings with Vatican officials and Pope Francis, culminated in last year’s First World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. A great story of love and determination! And teamwork with Marilyn at her side!

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

POPE FRANCIS IN CANADA, DAY 6: MEETINGS, A JOURNEY TO IQALUIT, DEPARTURE FOR ROME

Today, July 29, is the longest day of the papal trip for Francis, a day in which he has several morning encounter in Quebec, departs for Iqaluit for further meetings with indigenous and then takes leave of Canada for Rome.

As I write, the Pope has started his day that included private mass and a meeting with Canadian Jesuits (Pope meets with Canada’s Jesuits – Vatican News).

He just concluded his 25-minute meeting and talk with indigenous populations at the archbishop’s house in Quebec, telling them he “leaves Canada greatly enriched by indigenous peoples.” (Pope: ‘I leave Canada greatly enriched by indigenous peoples’ – Vatican News) 

Francis then greeted and thanked the personnel of the archbishop’s residence, and is on his way to the Quebec airport for the three-hour flight to Iqaluit.

Home to about 7,500 people, half of whom are Inuit who have fished here for thousands of years, Iqaluit – “the place of many fish” – is the capital of the Canadian territory of Nunavut and the northernmost city in Canada.

In Iqaluit, at the La Nakasuk Elementary School, he will meet privately with a group of alumni of the residential schools. Nakasuk was an Inuk born in the Northwest Territories, now Nunavut, at the beginning of the twentieth century, who is considered the founder of Iqaluit.

The school building is one of the four elementary schools in the city and is distinguished by its unique, hermetic shape due to the scarcity of windows, a two story fibreglass ice block inspired by the traditional igloo.

After his meeting, Francis will go to an adjacent square to meet with young people and the elderly where traditional songs, dances and music will be performed, and the Pope will deliver his final speech of this trip.

The papal plane departs for Rome at 6:45 pm local time and is scheduled to land on Saturday, July 30 at 7:50 am Rome time.