Pope Francis receives medical personnel from Lombardy and other regions affected by the coronavirus. Doctors, nurses, operators are "pillars" of society, to "nurture fraternity and civil coexistence". "The apostolic spirit of so many priests, who remained beside their people in caring and daily sharing".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Tomorrow must be built" on the pandemic. This is why "now is the time to harness all this positive energy" shown by doctors, nurses, volunteers and priests, who testified to "a generous and free love" even at the cost of one’s own life.
These were the words of Pope Francis as he received a group of doctors, nurses, health workers today in audience. Most of them are from Lombardy, the worst hit Italian region by the new coronavirus, but people from other regions were also present. The Lombardy bishops and the bishop of Padua also took part in the audience, representing Vo ’Euganeo, the town recognized as the place of the first outbreak of the virus together with Codogno.
"Tomorrow must be built," said the pontiff, "it requires everyone's commitment, strength and dedication. It is a matter of starting again from the countless testimonies of generous and gratuitous love, which have left an indelible mark on the consciences and fabric of society, teaching us how much we need closeness, care, sacrifice to nourish fraternity and civil coexistence.
In this way, we will be able to emerge from this crisis spiritually and morally stronger; and this depends on the conscience and responsibility of each of us".
"God - he continued - created us for communion, for fraternity, and now more than ever the claim to focus everything on ourselves has proved to be illusory, to make individualism the guiding principle of society. But be careful because, as soon as the emergency has passed, it will be easy to fall back on this illusion. It's easy to quickly forget that we need others, someone to take care of us, to give us courage. Forgetting that we all need a Father who holds out his hand. Praying to him, invoking him, is not an illusion; illusion is to think of doing without it! Prayer is the soul of hope".
In his speech, the Pope first recalled the witness of doctors, nurses and health workers, who "have been a visible sign of humanity that warms the heart. Many of them fell ill and some unfortunately died in the exercise of their profession ", often accompanying the sick isolated from their families to the threshold of death. The Pope called them "one of the pillars of the entire nation". "These health workers - he added - supported by the concern of the hospital chaplains, testified to God's closeness to those who suffer; they have been silent artisans of the culture of closeness and tenderness”.
Francis also recalled "the pastoral zeal and creative concern of the priests who helped people to continue the path of faith and did not leave them alone in the face of pain and fear". He also cited some "adolescent priests" who did not obey the safety instructions to prevent contagions, but almost all the priests were "fathers", not "adolescents".
He concluded: "I admired the apostolic spirit of many priests, who remained alongside their people in caring and daily sharing: they were a sign of the consoling presence of God. Unfortunately, many of them died. And also among you there are some priests who have been sick and thank God have been healed. Through you I thank all the Italian clergy, who have shown courage and love to people".