Vatican City, Nov 15, 2019 / 04:06 pm (CNA).- On a rainy Friday in Rome, Pope Francis popped over to St. Peter’s Square to greet the poor and homeless receiving treatment at a mobile medical clinic this week.
A now-annual tradition leading up to the World Day of the Poor, the mobile clinic offers free visits with specialists to Rome’s poor and homeless population.
During his brief “Mercy Friday” visit to the clinic Nov. 15, which took place around 4:40 p.m., Pope Francis also greeted and thanked the health care workers and doctors who donated their time to the clinic this week.
According to a Vatican press release Nov. 15, the health clinic has been seeing hundreds of patients each day, most of whom hear about it through word of mouth.
During his visit, Pope Francis was greeted with applause from the patients in the lobby and medical offices.
“The Holy Father spoke with everyone; a smile and a word of support for each,” the press release states.
He also said a short prayer during the encounter.
The services offered include general medicine, cardiology, infectious diseases, gynecology, obstetrics, podiatry, dermatology, rheumatology, and ophthalmology. A laboratory for clinical analysis is also present.
Afterward the pope stopped for a few minutes at a new location of the Apostolic charity office, located just outside St. Peter’s Square on extra-territorial Vatican property.
Pope Francis established the annual World Day of the Poor at the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy in 2016.
This year, the pope will celebrate the third World Day of the Poor with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Nov. 17, followed by a lunch at the Vatican with over 1,000 poor and homeless people invited as guests.
The theme is taken from Psalm 9: “The hope of the poor shall not perish forever.”