Cardinal Peter Turkson visited Rome’s largest hospital on Friday, encouraging staff and handing out rosaries blessed by Pope Francis.
“I bring you the Pope’s embrace. You are not alone in the fight against the coronavirus!” Turkson, who is prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, told hospital staff and chaplains April 3, according to a press release.
The cardinal, who was accompanied by the two undersecretaries of the dicastery, met with staff and told them he was bringing the greeting of Pope Francis to all of the coronavirus patients and their families.
The three Vatican officials also handed out rosaries blessed by Pope Francis and assured hospital personnel of “the prayer and support of the Church in this difficult moment of struggle against the pandemic and of physical and spiritual trial,” the release stated.
Agostino Gemelli University Policlinic is Rome’s largest general hospital and a teaching hospital for the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan.
During the coronavirus outbreak, the Gemelli hospital is working in partnership with one of Rome’s dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, the nearby Columbus Hospital.
The hospital’s foundation started a COVID-19 research unit to help fight the virus and to coordinate the research efforts throughout Italy.
As of April 3, there are more than 3,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Rome’s region of Lazio, with nearly 1,400 of these patients being treated in the hospital. The reported number of deaths is 199.
A rosary for an end to the coronavirus was broadcast live on national Italian television from the St Joseph Moscati chapel of the Gemelli hospital April 2. The rosary concluded with a prayer for the intercession of Pope St John Paul II on the anniversary of his death.