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Vatican opens the mobile health clinic at St. Peter’s Square

Mobile health clinic at St. Peter's Square (Photo screenshot and cropped from Vatican News Video)

Archbishop Rino Fisichella of the Dicastery for Evangelization inaugurated the mobile health clinic at St. Peter’s Square on November 9 as one of the initiatives for sixth World Day of the Poor.

The archbishop recalled Pope Francis’ words, “the poor are the closest ones to the Lord and agents of evangelization” as the core of all initiatives for VI World Day of the Poor.

“The poor allow us, all of us believers and nonbelievers, to understand that the essence of the Gospel is to be close, to be near, to be in the service of all people who are weak in the world of today,” Archbishop Fisichella said.

The opening of the mobile health clinic in St. Peter’s Square intends to give free health screenings and medical care to those who cannot access it and comes after two years of the Global Pandemic, soaring inflation caused by the Ukraine war, and the global energy crisis.

It includes general check-ups, electrocardiograms, blood tests, flu shots, COVID-19 tests, and screening for HIV, Hepatitis C, and Tuberculosis. 

Archbishop Fisichella noted that this service was all the more urgent at the time and said, “This is a peculiar moment for all people in the world, not just in this county.”

The mobile clinic in a Square could be a “provocation” to millions of pilgrims and tourists and a challenge to prevent poverty from going unnoticed.

The archbishop said that the visitors come to “contemplate the beauty of this place, but they also can become sensitive to the presence of the poor. So this is just a small sign, a sign to challenge people to understand that the poor exist and they need our help.”

Quoting Pope Francis’ words, “the poor are close to us all the time. They are not invisible: they are persons who have dignity,” the archbishop encouraged all to give back what the poor lost due to financial choices which resulted in the enrichment of a small majority and the impoverishment of many.

World Day of the Poor is observed on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time every year and it falls on November 13, this year.

Pope Francis established the World Day of the Poor at the close of the 2016 Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

This World Day aims to encourage Christians to “go forth” to the people with economic and existential struggles and to serve as “a sign of love, the love shown by Jesus himself.”

The Vatican arranged many initiatives promoted by the Dicastery for Evangelization to observe World Day of the Poor.

They will offer lunch to Rome’s poor in the Paul VI Hall after Sunday’s Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica with the poor on November 13, and some long-term initiatives to support families and individuals in difficulty.

The Vatican is distributing boxes of food to struggling families in the parishes around Rome.

The prelate said, in Italy, “we have more than five million poor people - that can give you an idea of what can happen in the world,” although Italy is one of the six wealthiest nations.

He encouraged all to think about what it means for some regions in Asia, Latin America, and Africa as well as to trigger a wave of solidarity among all the nations.

“Poor people do not have a special identity. They are poor, and as such, they must be recognized by everybody.” - With inputs from Vatican News


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