Vatican City, Nov 16, 2018 / 11:18 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis visited Friday the temporary medical clinics serving Rome’s poor and homeless in St. Peter’s Square this week.
During the Nov. 16 visit to the free mobile health clinics, which lasted about 20 minutes, the pope greeted those present, speaking with them and giving them each a rosary he had blessed.
He also greeted the volunteers and medical professionals within each of the shelters. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, accompanied the visit.
The mobile clinics, an initiative begun last year, have been open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day the week leading up to the World Day of the Poor, which will be celebrated Nov. 18.
The temporary center offers Rome’s poor and homeless free visits with doctors specializing in general medicine, cardiology, infectious diseases, gynecology, obstetrics, podiatry, dermatology, rheumatology, and ophthalmology. A laboratory for clinical analysis is also present.
Established by Pope Francis at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy, the World Day of the Poor takes its theme for 2018 from Psalm 34: “This poor one cried out and the Lord heard.”
The day will be marked by the pope with a Mass with the poor in St. Peter’s Basilica followed by lunch with around 3,000 poor men and women inside the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.
Present at the tables of the lunch will also be members of the Roman community, such as volunteers from local charitable organizations, parish priests, and university students and faculty.
The evening prior a prayer vigil for charitable volunteers and others who help the poor will be held at the Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls.