Francis says that like Jesus walking on the water, the boat will bring calm and comfort to abandoned peoples of Amazon region
The “Pope Francis Hospital Ship” has arrived in the Archdiocese of Belem, and is set to begin work in areas of the Amazon region which are accessible only by river.
Pope Francis himself noted his satisfaction at the initiative bearing his name, expressing his hope that the hospital ship “will bring the Word of God and offer access to better health care to the most needy people” along a stretch of the Amazon extending about 620 miles.
The pope said the “river hospital is above all a response to the Lord’s mandate, who continues to send His disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”
In fact, the Holy Father says, the “primordial mission” of the new hospital ship will be to promote the “abundant life” that Jesus offers to all men and women.
In his letter, Pope Francis recalls once again the image of the Church as a “field hospital” which “welcomes everyone without distinction or conditions,” noting that with this new initiative, the Church can also be seen as a “hospital on the water.”
“Just as Jesus, in appearing walking on the waters, calmed the storm and strengthened the faith of the disciples,” he says, “this boat will bring both spiritual comfort and calm to the upheavals of needy men and women, abandoned to their fate.”
The Holy Father concludes his letter with a word of thanks to Bishop Bernardo Bahlmann of Óbidos (Brazil), the main proponent of the initiative, along with the Franciscans of Providence, for “this beautiful sign of faith and Christian solidarity.”