Pope Francis unexpectedly stopped at a hospice in Vilnius, Lithuania, today to greet and bless terminally ill patients who were waiting outside under a tent along his popemobile route.
Patients, volunteers and staff of the Blessed Michael Sopocko Hospice in the Lithuanian capital and of several other similar palliative care centers in the country had formed a “living rosary” to pray for the Pope as he passed. Palliative care centers provide special care, in a comforting and dignified setting, for incurable patients who are often near the end of their lives.
Stopping, the Holy Father got out of the popemobile, walked over to a number of patients in beds and wheelchairs, and over the course of several minutes greeted and blessed each one. He then returned to the popemobile and continued on his way from the Marian shrine at the Gate of Dawn to Cathedral Square, for a multitudinous encounter with young people.
Papal Visit Organizing Committee of the Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference
Photo by Laima Penek