“Competence, professionalism and love”. These qualities were praised by Pope Francis at Zimpeto Hospital, the first place he visited on his second day in Mozambique. The clinic specialises in the treatment of people affected by HIV/AIDS, which is a real pandemic in the country. “All those who come here, with despair and anguish, are like the man lying on the side of the road”, Pope Francis said, referring to the parable of the Good Samaritan. “Those of you here have refused to walk by or continue on your way like others”, the Pope went on to say. Indeed, “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. You have heeded the silent, almost inaudible, cry of countless women, so many of them living in shame, marginalized and judged by all. 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. All of you who in various ways are part of this healthcare community thus become a sign of the heart of Jesus, so that no one will think that his or her cry has gone unheard”.
“The poor do not need intermediaries, but the personal involvement of all those who hear their cry”, the Pope argued: “The concern of believers in their regard cannot be limited to a kind of assistance – as useful and as providential as this may be in the beginning – but requires a loving attentiveness that honours the person as such and seeks out his or her best interests”. “Hearing this cry has made you realize that medical treatment, however necessary, is not enough”, the Holy Father said, praising the staff, who, upon his arrival at the Centre, was welcomed by the Founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio, Andrea Riccardi: “So you deal with the problem in its entirety, restoring dignity to women and children, and helping to point them towards a better future”.