Vatican City: Pope Francis visited 12 babies with various conditions in the neonatology ward of San Giovanni Hospital on 16 September 2016, Rome. Five of them, including one set of twins are in very serious condition in the ICU. A Vatican description of the event said that Pope Francis wore a hygienic mask and took other sanitary precautions, like all visitors to the unit, where the children’s immune systems are often weak.
He spoke to the babies in each incubator, and greeted their parents, offering words of comfort. Then His Holiness visited the Villa Speranza Hospice, where 30 patients in the terminal stages of illness are housed. He greeted each patient one–by-one, as well as their families, in a emotional encounter. Through the visit, “the Holy Father wanted to give a strong sign of the importance of life, from its first moment to its natural end.” “The acceptance of life and the guarantee of human dignity at all stages of development are lessons repeatedly stressed by Pope Francis,” adding that “the Pope’s dual mercy visit is a concrete and tangible sign” of how essential it is to give our attention “to those in the most vulnerable and precarious situations.”