Pope Francis received members of the Italian Religious Association of Social and Health Institutes (ARIS) in the Vatican.
During his address, the Holy Father praised the Catholic Church’s exemplary witness in taking care of the ill and stressed that ‘No one must feel alone in illness.’
The Pope emphasised the importance of caring for the sick as one of the most important works of mercy that Catholics should undertake. He noted that the Church has a long history of helping the sick, which can be traced back to the time of Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis had recounted the religious healthcare in Italy, and its beautiful ancient 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.”
The Holy Father also recognized the efforts of ARIS members in providing quality healthcare to the people in need, particularly the poor and marginalised. He expressed his gratitude to them for their work and urged them to continue with their service in the future.
The Holy Father also warned against discarding healthcare, he said: “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.”
“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.” He added.
The Pontiff emphasised that providing medical care and support to the sick should not only be a task for medical professionals but also a responsibility for the entire society. He called on people to show empathy, compassion, and solidarity towards those who are struggling with health issues.
Pope Francis’ message of solidarity, compassion, and empathy towards the sick is a reminder to everyone that healthcare is not just a medical issue but also a humanitarian one. The Church’s long-standing tradition of caring for the sick has been exemplified by the work of ARIS members, and their efforts are a testament to the importance of service towards the needy.