Sunday, November 24, 2013


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the XXVIII International Conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers on Saturday in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. For three days starting on Thursday of this week, experts, professionals and pastoral workers gathered to discuss ways for the Church to serve elderly people who suffer illness and disease, specifically neurodegenerative pathologies. 

In remarks to the gathered participants, Pope Francis spoke of the need to commit to a kind of care, which, alongside traditional models of medical assistance, is enriched by spaces of dignity and freedom, far from the closures and silences that too often surround people in the field of care. It was in this perspective that Pope Francis underlined the importance of the religious and spiritual dimension of life. 

“Indeed,” he said, “this is a dimension that remains viable even when cognitive abilities are reduced or lost,” explaining that what is at issue is, “implementing a particular pastoral approach to accompany the religious life of older people with serious degenerative diseases, with diverse forms and content, so that in any case, their minds and their hearts do not break off their dialogue and relationship with God.” 

Pope Francis concluded with greetings to elderly people, saying, “Every day, you can live as witnesses of the Lord, in your families, in parishes and in other environs you frequent, making Christ and His Gospel known, especially to the younger [generations].”

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