Pope Francis made a visit to the Bambin Gesù pediatric hospital on Saturday afternoon, touring the facility and visiting with the young patients of the care centre and with their families, as well as with medical professionals, other staff and administrators. He was welcomed in the courtyard of the facility by as many as four thousand well-wishers. During the course of the visit, Pope Francis received the Christmas wishes of the young patients, promising prayers for their healing and offering words of encouragement, Vatican radio reported.
A highlight of the Francis' visit this 21 December, 2013, was the scheduled presentation of the hospital's "Francis House" initiative. Named after Pope Francis, the Francis House is to be a place of welcome, safety and integral care for mothers and children on the margins of society with dangerous family situations. The Francis House project aims at building a place and creating an environment in which both mothers and children will receive acceptance, psychological and social support and help with education, with a view to making guest-families able to stand on their own feet.