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Monday, June 26, 2017

Encouragement for the fight against tumors

At 12:20pm today (Rome time), in the Clementine Hall at the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father, Pope Francis received in audience the members of the Italian League for the Fight against Tumors (LILT).


Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
addressed to members of the
Italian League for the Fight against Tumors

Dear friends,

I welcome you and thank your President for the courteous words which he has offered in your name.

The commitment of your Institution is a double richness for all of society.  On one hand, with the multiplicity of services, you contribute to the formation of persons and of families in the practice of prevention: that is to say, promoting the mentality that cancer prevention is above all a style of life.  At the same time, together with many and various other Italian organizations, you promote volunteerism, an emblematic expression of the gratitude that should increasingly be a part of daily life.

Your work represents a very useful instrument for awareness and formation.  There is such need for defending the culture of life, a matter of attitudes and behaviour.  A true culture of the people, taken seriously, accessible to all, and not based on commercial interests.  More specifically, families need to be accompanied on a path of prevention; a journey that involves various generations in a common pact; a journey that values the experience of those who have lived, together with their family members, the tiring journey of oncological pathologies.

Equally valuable is the collaboration between volunteer members of the Italian League for the Fight against Tumors with other health professionals both public and private; as well as the help provided to families, especially in the often tiring and uninterrupted continuity of everyday life.

This last aspect constitutes a witness that the ecclesial community is particularly attuned to, for she is called by her vocation and mission to live in service to those who are suffering and to live according to the typical Christian virtues of humility and silence.  In fact, the good is accomplished and most effective when it is done without any thought of reward or appearance, in the concrete everyday situations of life.

 In this service of yours, there is also a continuous call to go out to the peripheries.  In fact, peripheries involve every man and woman who is experiencing a condition of marginalization; periphery is every person constrained to the margins of society and confined to certain relationships, above all when illness breaks a person's normal rhythms, as is the case with oncological pathologies.  These are the peripheries that call into question the responsibilities of every one of us, for every Christian, like any man who is driven by a desire for the truth and for goodness, constitutes a conscious instrument of grace.

Caregiving as it is witnessed in the common sense with many people who are sick is an inestimable wealth for society: it reminds the entire civil and ecclesial community to not be afraid of being close to others, not being afraid of tenderness, not being afraid to take time with others to offer them support and  mutual comfort, opportunities for authentic and informal solidarity.

Finally, I wish to point out that, since health is a primary and fundamental asset for every person, it is desirable that oncological prevention should be accessible to everyone, through collaboration between public and private services, initiatives of civil society and charitable initiatives.  In this way, with your specific contribution, we can attempt to make our societies even more inclusive.

I thank you for this meeting.  I entrust your commitment and the work of the volunteers, as well as all the sick persons you encounter, to the maternal protection of the Most Holy Mother, Salus infirmorum (Health of the sick), and I willingly impart my blessing to all of you.  Thank you.
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