In his first public appearance since having an intestinal surgery, Pope Francis prayed the Angelus from the balcony of his hospital on Sunday and delivered a message urging access to good healthcare for everyone.
“In these days of being hospitalized, I have experienced how important good health care is, accessible to all, as it is in Italy and in other countries,” Pope Francis said July 11.
“A free healthcare system that assures good service, accessible to everyone. This precious benefit must not be lost. It needs to be kept. And for this we all need to be committed, because it serves everyone and requires everyone’s contribution.”
The pope spoke while standing beside young patients from Rome’s Gemelli University Hospital where he has been recovering for one week after an intestinal operation in which part of his colon was removed.
Pope Francis said that even when Catholic hospitals face economic difficulties, it is vital to remember that “the Church’s vocation is not to have money, but to serve, and service is always free.”
“Don’t forget this: Save free institutions,” the pope said.
Doctors and nurses stood together with a group of pilgrims gathered outside in the courtyard under the hospital window. People waved flags and banners, and some religious sisters sang hymns as they awaited the pope’s arrival.