MEXICO CITY — Pope Francis on Sunday visited a pediatric hospital in Mexico City. He met the children being treated there, gave them rosaries and prayed with them.
In simple language, he spoke to the children about Jesus’ childhood.
“He was very small, just like some of you,” he said.
The Pope thanked God that he could visit the children and their families in the hospital “to share a little of your life and of those who work here.”
The Pope visited the Federico Gomez Pediatric Hospital in Mexico City Feb. 14.
There, he recounted to the children the biblical story of the Presentation. When Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple, they presented him to Simeon who was “very moved and filled with joy and gratitude.”
“He took Jesus in his arms and held him close, and began to bless the Lord. Looking at Jesus inspired him in two ways: the feeling of gratitude and the desire to bless,” the Pope explained.
He described Simeon as “the uncle” who teaches the attitudes of gratitude and blessing.
“For my part (and not only because of my age), I feel I can relate well with these two lessons of Simeon,” he said.
“On the one hand, entering here and seeing your eyes, your smiles, your faces, has filled me with a desire to give thanks. Thank you for the kind way that you welcomed me, thank you for recognizing the tenderness with which you are cared for and accompanied,” he said. “Thank you for the efforts of many who are doing their best so that you can get better quickly.”
“I ask God to bless you, and to accompany you and your families, and all those people who work in this home and try to ensure that your smiles grow day by day. May God bless each person… not only doctors but also those who provide ‘kindness-therapy’ thus making the time spent here more enjoyable.”
He linked the children’s illnesses to Mexico’s famous Marian apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“Have you ever heard of the Indian Juan Diego? When his uncle was sick, he was quite worried and distressed. Then, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to him and said, ‘Let not your heart be disturbed or upset by anything. Am I not here with you, I who am your mother?’”
“We have Mary as our Mother, and so let us ask her to give us the gift of her son, Jesus. Let us close our eyes and ask her to give us what our hearts seek today, and then let us pray together,” he said.
He led the gathering in praying the Hail Mary.
“May the Lord and the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe remain with you always.”
After his remarks, he moved through the hospital. He greeted the children, embraced them and blessed them. He gave medicine to one of the children.
At one point, a child sang the “Ave Maria” in a capella style.
He then visited the hospital’s chemotherapy wing to make a private visit to the children being treated there.
Pope Francis will be in Mexico Feb. 12-17.