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Pope Francis, in Scrubs, Visits Children’s Hospital

In a surprise visit Friday, Pope Francis greeted a number of gravely ill children at San Giovanni Hospital in Rome, as well as offering words of comfort to their parents.

At the hospital’s neonatal unit, the Pope visited 12 children, five of whom are intubated in intensive care, and extended his thanks to the medical staff for the work that they do.

Like everyone else, Pope Francis had to wear a mask and undergo all hygienic precautions to respect the aseptic environment.

After visiting the newborns, the Pope moved on to visit the Villa Speranza hospice, home to some 30 terminally ill patients. Francis greeted each patient individually.

The Vatican press office said that the Pope wished to celebrate a special Friday of Mercy in remembrance of the recently canonized Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who devoted her life to caring for the “poorest of the poor.”

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