On the eve of Epiphany, when most Italian children wake up to find gifts and candy, Pope Francis visited a paediatric hospital outside Rome.
The pope arrived at the Palidoro Bambino Gesu Hospital at about 3pm on Friday 5th January and visited the various wards where about 120 children are receiving treatment, according to the Vatican press office.
The pope greeted the children and “exchanged some words of comfort with the parents who are caring for their children in their tiring and painful trials,” the statement said.
Visiting the hospital, Pope Francis was “continuing the experience of the Mercy Fridays,” visits he made to hospitals, orphanages and other care facilities during the 2015-16 Year of Mercy.
Picture: Pope Francis greets a patient during an unannounced visit to children at the Palidoro Bambino Gesu Hospital, in Fiumicino, outside Rome, on Friday 5th January. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano).