· Vatican City ·

Athletica Vaticana for the Pope’s special day

‘Cycling for children’ of the Paediatric Palliative Care Centre

 ‘Cycling for children’ of the Paediatric Palliative Care Centre  ING-051
22 December 2023

Every war is even more inhumane when seen from a paediatric hospital: moreover, from a place where children are treated even when they can’t be healed. With this concrete vision of fraternity, on Saturday, 16 December, the cyclists of Athletica Vaticana cycled — for 35 kilometres, at the pace of the slowest one — from Saint Peter’s Square to Passoscuro, in the municipality of Fiumicino, where the “Bambino Gesù” hospital opened a Paediatric Palliative Care Centre on 22 March 2022.

At the ‘finish line’ of the Centre the cyclists found the children with their families and health personnel waiting to welcome them with applause and warm hugs. Together they planted an olive tree as a sign of hope and peace for the upcoming Christmas.

The ‘pedalling in fraternity’ began at 2:00 p.m. Before the start of the race, Bishop Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Dicastery for Culture and Education, led a brief moment of prayer, with a Hail Mary for peace. In this way, the ‘Pope’s team’ embraced the most fragile community of the hospital, on the very eve of his 87th birthday, representing a simple gift to Pope Francis.