The Pope hands out a new version of his recommended “spiritual medicine” in Rome to heal wounded hearts and souls
“Lent is a good time to travel a path of conversion that has mercy at its center. Because of this, I’ve decided to give to those who are here in the Piazza a ‘spiritual medicine’ called ‘Misericordina.’”
With these words, Pope Francis announced on February 20, after the Angelus address at St. Peter’s Square, the distribution of 40,000 small packages similar to those containing medicines, but in place of pills, there are aids to prayer.
“We did this once before, but this one is better, it is ‘Misericordina-Plus’: a little box that has a rosary ring and a little image of the Merciful Jesus,” explained the Pope. “Volunteers, including the poor, the homeless, refugees and also religious, will now distribute them. Receive this gift as a spiritual aid to spread forgiveness and brotherhood, especially in this year of mercy.”
The packages went on sale February 22 in Catholic bookstores and religious shops, and the proceeds will go to the Papal Almoner’s office, which carries out works of charity on behalf of the Pope (for example, by paying every month hundreds of households’ bills that would otherwise be left without light and gas). In the box, manufactured in Krakow, Poland, the city of St. John Paul II, and assembled by the Papal Almoner’s office, led by Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, is a rosary, which can be used for praying the chaplet of Divine Mercy, and the image of the “Merciful Jesus” as He appeared to St. Faustina Kowalska, a mystic Polish nun canonized by John Paul II in the year 2000.
Finally, the classic pamphlet with dosage and instructions is included: it says you must always pray, especially when “we would like to convert sinners, when we are faced with a difficult decision, when there is no strength left to resist temptation, when it is difficult to forgive someone we know, or we wish mercy for a dying man.”
The Divine Mercy chaplet devotion proposed by St. Faustina (and the Pope) lasts an average of 7 minutes, and is recommended as a “prophylactic” at least once a day, with “identical application in both children and adults.”
The pamphlet explains that there are no marked “contraindications,” and that the practice is “compatible with other prayers, and the sacraments promote the effectiveness of the medicine.”
“The Misericordina,” says the pamphlet, “is a spiritual medicine that reinvigorates mercy.”
“A heart full of tranquility, outward joy and the desire to spread goodness.”
The effectiveness of the medicine, the instructions say, “is guaranteed by the words of Jesus.”
Vatican Offers Free Health Care for the Poor
Located near the Bernini colonnade, a new “clinic for Rome’s poor” is now open
Poor and homeless men and women will now be able to turn to the Vatican for medical treatment, the latest initiative to offer care for those persons living on the streets of Rome.
Located near the colonnade, the new “clinic for the poor” opened February 29, offering free services to those unable to afford basic medical care.
“We are equipped to help all those who come knocking on our door. It is Pope Francis who wants this, and those of us who are close to him in this venture are honored and highly motivated to make this possible,” Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, said February 29, according to Vatican Radio.
Lucia Ercoli, director of the Supportive Medicine Association, said, “We are grateful to Pope Francis for having wanted, once again, to give a concrete sign of mercy in St. Peter’s Square for persons without a fixed residence or who are in difficulty.”
“Our doctors, along with those of FAS and the Policlinico (hospital) Tor Vergata, have accepted with great passion this new challenge that ideally combines the work done in recent years in the suburbs with the heart of Christianity.”
He added: “There is still much work to be done, especially in the suburbs of our city, but I think this new clinic in St. Peter’s is a sign of great hope.”
This is not the first initiative on Vatican grounds to be directed at offering concrete aid. Since early 2015, the Vatican has provided persons in need access to showers and even a barber shop run by volunteers. Many barbers have volunteered with enthusiasm, including two barbers from the national Italian organization that transports the sick to Lourdes and other international shrines.
“It seemed right to also provide free medical visits,” Archbishop Krajewski added, saying it is “an indispensable service to the health of the poor who live among us.”
And in October 2015, Pope Francis and his fellow Jesuits converted an old travel agency into a dormitory for the homeless.
Residents in the new “Gift of Mercy” house are welcome to stay for up to 30 consecutive days, and a schedule is set by the Missionary of Charity sisters who help keep things running smoothly.