Pope Francis Commends Mozambican HIV Clinic Community as Good Samaritans

Zimpeto DREAM HIV/AIDS clinic in Maputo, Mozambique. Credit: Vatican Pool Photo.

Visiting the Zimpeto health clinic Friday, Pope Francis told the community that their care for the suffering recalls for him the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Zimpeto DREAM clinic, which opened in 2002, is focused on HIV prevention and antiretroviral treatment. The facility is run by the Community of Sant'Egidio, a lay movement centered on peace and helping the poor.

“I cordially greet the director, the healthcare workers, the patients and their families, and all those present. Seeing the competence, professionalism and love with which you receive and care for so many suffering persons, particularly patients with HIV-AIDS, and especially mothers and children, makes me think of the parable of the Good Samaritan,” the pope said in his prepared remarks Sept. 6 at the clinic in Maputo.

“All those who come here, with despair and anguish, are like the man lying on the side of the road. Those of you here have refused to walk by or continue on your way … This Centre shows us that there are always people ready to stop and show compassion, who do not yield to the temptation to say 'There is nothing to be done' or 'It’s impossible to fight this scourge'. Instead, you have set about finding solutions.”

He commended them for heeding the “almost inaudible” cry of marginalized women: “That is why you opened this house, where the Lord lives with those lying on the side of the road – to those suffering from cancer or tuberculosis, and to hundreds of the malnourished, especially children and young people.”

Francis told the community that each of them are “a sign of the heart of Jesus,” and that in hearing the cry of the suffering they “realize that medical treatment, however necessary, is not enough. So you deal with the problem in its entirety, restoring dignity to women and children, and helping to point them towards a better future.”

He affirmed their humility, and their efforts “to find sustainable means in the search for energy and for gathering and storing supplies of water.”

“The parable of the Good Samaritan ends with his bringing the wounded man to an inn and entrusting the innkeeper with part of the expenses and a promise to pay the remainder upon his return,” the pope recalled.

He said those cured at the hospital “are part of the payment that the Lord has left with you. Having emerged from the nightmare of suffering, and without concealing their condition, they are now a sign of hope for many persons. Their willingness to dream can serve as an inspiration to many people lying on the wayside who need a welcoming hand.”

“For your part, you will be repaid by the Lord 'when he returns', and this should fill you with joy,” Francis said.

He exhorted the community to “keep receiving those who come to you, go out and look for the wounded and helpless in the peripheries… Let us not forget that their names are written in heaven with the inscription: 'These are the blessed of my Father'. Renew your efforts to ensure that this hospital will always be a place that gives birth to hope.”

 


ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
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