(Source: Novena/Vatican News)

“You are the unsung heroes of this pandemic. How many of you have given your lives to be close to the sick! Thanks for the closeness, thanks for the tenderness, thanks for the professionalism with which you take care of the sick”.

Pope Francis expressed these sentiments of gratitude in a video message addressed to the doctors and nurses of his native Argentina.

His message comes on the occasion of two national commemorations in the country: the national Nursing Day, which was observed on November 21, the Feast of Our Lady of Remedies, and the upcoming Doctor’s Day on December 3. 

“I want to be close to all doctors and nurses”, Francis says, “especially at this time when the pandemic calls us to be close to the men and women who suffer”.

“I pray for you, I ask the Lord to bless each of you, your families, with all my heart, and to accompany you in your work and in the problems you may encounter. May the Lord be close to you as you are close to the sick. And don’t forget to pray for me”, the Holy Father concludes his message. 

Surprise message

Auxiliary Bishop Alberto Bochatey of La Plata, the president of the Argentinian bishops’ Commission for the Pastoral Care of Health, introduces Pope Francis saying there is a surprise message from him for the nation’s nurses and doctors.

The video begins with several images of health workers engaged in the daily care of the sick in various situations, such as in the hospital, the clinic and the ward. They go about visiting, comforting and caring for the sick with gestures, words and gaze.

A voiceover expresses the immense gratitude of the Church for their work, with a warm and affectionate greeting to all those who give them a chance to serve every day. 

“We want to thank you for taking care of us, for taking care of our family and friends, for taking care of our frailty, for taking care of every life”, says the voice.

“Thank you for being close to us for reaching us, for listening to us, for thinking of us, for your courage, for your generous dedication, for your availability, for your selfless service, for your effort, for having accompanied and supported us in hope. May God bless and take care of all our doctors and nurses, today and always”.  

The video ends with images of smiles, joy and relief lighting up the faces of the sick.

On Novena, more news from the Vatican:

In new book, Pope Francis emphasises charity as “transforming power” of Christianity

Francis, on Feast of Christ the King: “The works of mercy give glory to God more than anything else”

Pope, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar recommit to human fraternity as solution to religious extremism

Francis urges “transformation” of economy post-COVID: “It is time to let ‘the poor’ and ‘the excluded’ become protagonists in society”