Dr. José Diogo Ferreira Martins, FIAMC Secretary General

Dr. Rok Čivljak, President of the Croatian Catholic Medical Society and Dr. José Diogo Ferreira Martins, FIAMC Secretary General

Pope to SOMOS Community Care: Bring care and familiarity to those who suffer

Pope Francis highlights the irreplaceable role of family doctors in healthcare, emphasising their dual mission of professional competence and familial warmth.

By Francesca Merlo (Vaticannews)

Pope Francis on Saturday welcomed to the Vatican members of SOMOS Community Care, an independent practice association based in New York, U.S.A, that provides services underprivileged people through a network of diverse, community-based physicians, specialists, health care providers and medical facilities.

In his address the Pope acknowledged their concerted efforts to reevaluate the critical role of family doctors in both healthcare and the social sphere.

The doctor as a caregiver

“Science today has made significant strides,” Pope Francis began, recognising the advancements made in medical technology and therapies. However, he emphasised that at its core, medicine remains a profoundly human encounter. “When we are sick,” he explained, “we look to the doctor to be not only a competent professional but also a friendly presence we can count on.”

Citing Saint Luke, Pope Francis illustrated how Jesus approached the ill with compassion and care. The family doctor, he noted, embodies this spirit by offering both professional expertise and personal warmth. “The family doctor is similarly present and close,” he said, “offering warmth as well as professional care.”

A member of the family

Pope Francis went on to highlight the second crucial aspect of the family doctor’s role: being a member of the family. He stressed the importance of contextualising each patient within their relationships and social ties. “This community dimension of care,” he stated, “helps to create a network of affection, sharing, and solidarity around the sick person.”

Such an approach, Pope Francis went on to stress, strengthens human relationships and transforms suffering into a moment of shared communion. It benefits not only the patient but also caregivers, family members, and the broader community. He cautioned against the risks of a bureaucratic, overly technical healthcare system, especially one influenced by market mentalities that neglect the true essence of health and care.

A call to continued compassion

Bringing his discourse to a close, Pope Francis offered his blessing for the ongoing work of SOMOS Community Care. “Care and familiarity are two gifts of great value to those who suffer,” he affirmed.

He encouraged the members to persist in their mission and expressed his gratitude and support for their invaluable contributions to the health and well-being of communities.

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Ai Partecipanti all’Incontro Internazionale promosso da “Somos Community Care” (25 maggio 2024) | Francesco (vatican.va)