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Pope Francis shakes hands with volunteers at a hospital for poor people during a surprise visit Pope Francis shakes hands with volunteers at a hospital for poor people during a surprise visit  (@L'Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis makes surprise visit to field hospital in St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis made a surprise visit on Thursday afternoon to a small "field hospital" set up in front of St. Peter's Square to provide medical care for Rome's poor

During Thursday afternoon's short and unexpected visit, the Pope greeted volunteers and poor people waiting to receive care ahead of the first World Day of the Poor, taking place on Sunday, November 19.

He was accompanied by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation.

The healthcare structure is an initiative connected to that Day and announced by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation.

Pope Francis called for the celebration of the World Day of the Poor at the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

A statement from the Holy See Press Office said the tent hospital run by the Italian Red Cross offers "free medical visits for the poor and needy throughout the week from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM".

Red Cross medics staffing the field hospital are specialized in clinical analysis, cardiology, dermatology, gynecology, and andrology.

16 November 2017, 10:36