Vatican City, Dec 14, 2009 / 02:40 pm (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI paid a visit to the sick and health care workers of the Rome Hospice Foundation Sunday morning at their facility located just minutes from the Vatican. He lauded the hospice for providing free care and invited the sick to use the "light of faith" to bring them closer to God.
The Sacre Cuore (Sacred Heart) Hospice was very pleased to host the Pontiff on-site, where 30 patients suffering from terminal cancer are treated without cost. The hospice also provides home health care for 90 others.
Pope Benedict XVI addressed the gathering, saying that in a world that tends to marginalize those that suffer from incurable illness and think of them as a weight on society, "Whoever has a sense of human dignity knows ... that they should be respected and sustained while they face the difficulties and the suffering tied to their health conditions."
In providing their health care, said the Pope, "Along with the indispensable clinical cures, it's necessary to offer the sick concrete gestures of love, of nearness and of Christian solidarity to fulfill their need of comprehension, of comfort and of constant encouragement."
"I've come to offer to each of you a concrete testimony of nearness and affection," the Holy Father told them. "I assure you of my prayer and I invite you to find sustenance and comfort in Jesus, to never lose trust and hope."
See also from Catholic World News, "Pope visits hospice, speaks on patients' need for loving care."