15-March-2013 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pope Visits Elderly Argentine Cardinal in Hospital

Cardinal Mejia Had Heart Attack Wednesday

ROME, March 15, 2013 (Zenit.org) - This afternoon Pope Francis made a surprise visit to Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mejia, a patient in the Pius XI Roman Clinic.

The Pope himself reported to the cardinals at his meeting with them this morning that Cardinal Mejia, 90, had a heart attack Wednesday. "He has been hospitalized at Pius XI," the Holy Father told them. "But it seems his health is stable, and he has sent us his regards."

Like the Pope, Cardinal Mejia was born in Buenos Aires. He had various roles in the Roman Curia, including being secretary of the Congregation for Bishops in the mid-90s. He is also the retired archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church.

According to Vatican Radio, the Pope asked the staff of the hospital to pray for him and he thanked them for their work "with the sick and those who suffer."

A Vatican journalist interviewed Sister Clotilde of the Order of Saint Joseph of Gerona, Spain, who was with the Pope during his visit to the Clinic. The nun said the Pontiff paused to bless the sick. He also prayed with the nuns' community. When the staff of the Clinic learned that the Pope was there, they went to meet him and he blessed them.

Sister Clotilde described the meeting as simple but very moving. He also blessed and spoke with the sick in intensive therapy. The nun described the Pope as a very simple person who does not make one feel distant, adding that one feels the need to embrace him.

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