Alessandro Di Bussolo - Gemelli Hospital of Rome
This evening Jorge will celebrate his 63rd birthday with the other guests of Palazzo Migliori, the place donated by Pope Francis to the homeless of Rome, just next to the Vatican. But in the afternoon this sixty-year-old Peruvian, who has lived in Italy for many years, wanted to come to the Gemelli Hospital with around twenty other homeless people to pray for the Pope’s health and say "thank you" for all he does for the poor of Rome and the world. He carries a white sign with orange borders and the phrase "Pope Francis, we are close to you." If he could go up to his room on the 10th floor, he would tell the Pope "may the Lord bless you and give you many more years of good health."
Jorge, now 63: "I hope he gets better very soon."
Jorge six years ago discovered he had diabetes, but thanks to the Community of Sant'Egidio that has taken him in, he was able to care for himself and now has regular checkups. "I hope the Pope gets better very soon," he tells us, after reciting the Our Father and singing from the little hill crowded with television crews for a view of the window from which Francis will appear for the Angelus on Sunday. Leading the prayer was Don Francesco Tedeschi, vice-parish priest of Santa Maria in Trastevere, the Community's historic headquarters.
Sant'Egidio: "We are here because the poor asked us"
"We are here because the poor asked us to be here," Carlo Santoro, director of the reception center at Palazzo Migliori, tells us, "and they are very grateful to the Pope for all the Vatican facilities he has opened, like the one I coordinate, to give them a bed, but also for everything he does, like donating vaccines for those living in need, at a time when no one wanted to vaccinate the poor. In all these years Francis has been close to each one of them and every day he invites everyone to be friends of the poor."
Maria's flowers for Pope Francis
Descending from the little hill, the small group of homeless and assistants from Sant'Egidio reached the entrance square of the hospital, reciting another Our Father at the foot of the statue of Saint John Paul II, who gave a nickname to this hospital, where he stayed several times, calling it "Vatican III". Then Maria, who is also a guest of Palazzo Migliori, lead a small "procession" to the atrium of the hospital and handed a bouquet of flowers to one of the Vatican gendarmes on security at the tenth floor.