Pope visits young Ukrainian refugees in Rome
Pope Francis made a surprise visit to a pediatric hospital in Rome on Saturday to speak to young Ukrainian war refugees.
Nineteen Ukrainian children at the Bambino Gesu hospital are being treated for cancer, neurological conditions or serious war injuries caused by explosions, the Vatican said in a news release.
“The Pope stopped in the rooms, and visited all the little ones present, before returning to the Vatican,” it added.
The pontiff said that families have been separated by the war and many children and other people are left to “die under the bombs without being able to receive help and find safety even in the air raid shelters.”
“One was missing an arm; one had a head injury…innocent children,” he said, referring to the children he visited, during the Angelus address with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.
Francis also thanked the hospital’s president, Mariella Enoc, in a handwritten letter.
“Thank you for your service, charity, and love for wounded Ukrainian children,” he wrote. “I am close to you.”
The pontiff additionally renewed his call for an end to the war, which is on its fourth week.
“Unfortunately, the violent aggression against Ukraine does not stop, a senseless massacre where every day there is a repetition of slaughter and atrocities,” he said. “There is no justification for this! I plead with all those involved in the international community to truly commit to ending this abhorrent war.”
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