Italy: Pope gives new clinic to poor and pilgrims for Christmas
Pope Francis has gifted a new medical clinicas a Christmas gift for the homeless and pilgrims set up just next to the colonnade of St. Peter's Square in the Vatican.
Called “Ambulatorio-Madre di Misericordia”, or Mother of Mercy Clinic, the clinic replaces the San Martino centre that has been providing first aid to the homeless since February 2016, with a shower and barber service added more recently.
In a statement, the Office of Papal Charities headed by the Pope’s Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski said that the initiative was planned and executed by the Governorate of Vatican City State in coordination with the Department of Health and Hygiene of the Vatican.
Set up in a small space formerly belonging to the Vatican Post Office, the Ambulatorio-Madre di Misericordia has 3 rooms for medical examinations, an office, 2 bathrooms and a waiting room.
The rooms are furnished with new equipment and machinery for full medical examinations and some tests for patients.
The clinic will be open thrice a week – Monday, Thursday and Saturday. A podiatrist (foot and ankle specialist) will be available on Monday mornings. The clinic will also provide first aid to pilgrims during Vatican audiences or events in St. Peter's Square and the Basilica.
The entire service is being provided by volunteer doctors, specialists and healthcare personnel of the Vatican, the Tor Vergata University of Rome, the Italian “Associazione Medicina Solidale” (Association of Solidarity Medicine) and the Italian Podiatrists Association.
Ambulatorio-Madre di Misericordia will also provide internships for the students and postgraduates of the Faculty of Medicine of Tor Vergata University.
On the occasion of the Catholic Church’s World Day of the Poor, Nov. 18 2018, a makeshift mobile medical centre was set up in St. Peter’s Square, allowing the poor and needy to come for free checkups and evaluations from specialists. Pope Francis made a surprise visit to the clinic, as he has done on similar occasions in the past, taking time to speak to both patients and volunteer staff there.
Another Christmas gesture of Pope Francis has been a lunch for the poor and homeless of Rome’s seaside town of Ostia on December 18 2018 offered by Italy’s finance police, Guardia di Finanza, at Castelporziano near Ostia.