(Source: MJ/Vatican News/Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development)

On Friday afternoon, Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, paid a visit to Rome’s Agostino Gemelli Hospital, which is tending to sufferers of COVID-19.

Accompanying him were the undersecretaries of the dicastery, Msgr. Segundo Tejado Muñoz and Fr Nicola Riccardi.

They met with the medical personnel who are dedicated to caring for coronavirus patients.

In addition, they brought the greetings of Pope Francis himself to “all those sick with the virus, their families, and to the priests who exercise their pastoral ministry within the hospital”.

Cardinal Turkson’s message was: 

“I bring you the embrace of the Pope. You are not along in the fight against the coronavirus!”

The visit concluded with the presentation of Rosaries blessed by Pope Francis and the assurance of “the prayer and support of the Church in this difficult moment of the fight against the pandemic, as well as physicial and spiritual difficulties”.

Praise for the hospital

In an interview conducted by Vatican News after the visit, Cardinal Turkson praised the hospital’s staff and administration. He noted that their good practice of separating the personnel working closely with coronavirus victims was a sign of their preparedness.

“It was interesting to note how the hospital took advantage of the experience of the facilities in Northern Italy, immediately isolating the department dedicated to COVID patients from the others, and thus avoiding infection spread within the facility”, the cardinal said, in reference to the Gemelli Hospital’s best practice.

Citing the example of St. Charles Borromeo, who also lived during a pandemic, the cardinal noted that healthcare workers are doing the work of martyrs.

Pope’s gift of respirators

Cardinal Turkson indicated that Pope Francis is preparing a gift of 30 to 50 respirators to assist the Agustino Gemelli Hospital in its important task of saving lives.

Hope in solidarity

The cardinal also told Vatican News that he finds hope for the world in “learning to be fraternal and learning to live in solidarity.”

He also noted that sharing knowledge is key to the fight against the virus. He gave the example of the medical personnel at the Polyclinic who meet daily to share knowledge about dealing with the virus.

“The scientific community gathered with us has made us understand how interdisciplinarity is today the fundamental resource in the fight against the pandemic: pulmonologists, infectious disease specialists, immunologists, biologists, etc. are constantly working together”, Turkson explained.

“Everything is connected”

The cardinal furthermore stressed the importance of “education, sharing knowledge, working in solidarity, working together, and considering the whole world now in this situation of the pandemic as one family – all of us being members and being brothers and sisters, and learning to support each from the resources of our knowledge”.

This is the confirmation, Cardinal Turkson added, “of how, in the search for an integral approach to human care, every aspect and every experience are connected to each other, and all contribute to a human promotion in the full sense”.

A sign of what the Pope constantly repeats for everything that concerns the life and care of creation: “everything is connected”.

More from the Vatican on the COVID-19 crisis:

COVID-19: Cardinal Tagle exhorts governments “to ensure healthcare and social protection for everyone”

Vatican Secretary of State appeals for international solidarity on COVID-19: “Now is not the time to shut ourselves off from others”

Vatican official urges world not to forget prisoners amid coronavirus

Cardinal close to Pope tests positive for COVID-19: “I am at peace and confident”

COVID-19: Pontifical Academy reminds governments healthcare rationing must only be “last resort”

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