VATICAN CITY FEBRUARY 7, 2017 (CISA) – A mercy-themed art project titled “Christo’s box, between Art and Mercy, A Gift for Bangui” has raised 200,000 Euros ($215,000) for a children’s hospital in CAR.
The amount was presented to the Pope Francis who said the proceeds would be used at the hospital to care for all poor children, “Without distinction of religious belonging, because all children need care and attention,” Vatican Radio reported.
The art project, inspired by Pope Francis’ trip to Central African Republic in 2015 was presented at the Vatican Museums in May 2016, during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Christo, the artist, is a Bulgarian-born US citizen and contemporary artist best known for his pieces that involve “packaging” or wrapping.
When the project came to the Vatican, Pope Francis made it clear that he wanted the proceeds to go to Bangui Pediatric Hospital in CAR.
He made a surprise visit to the hospital during his trip to the conflict-torn country in November 2015, and said he was struck by the lack of equipment.
“I felt great pain,” the Pope said during his November 30 in-flight press conference returning from Bangui to Rome. “Yesterday, for example, I went to a pediatric hospital, the only one in Bangui and maybe in the country, and in the intensive care unit they do not have instruments of oxygen…” said Pope Francis.
“There were many malnourished children there, many of them, and doctor told me that the majority of them will die soon because they have very bad malaria and are seriously malnourished,” he added.
Bangui Pediatric Hospital was also a beneficiary of a December 2016 concert in Rome held on the evening of Pope Francis’ 80th birthday and marked the bicentenary of the Vatican Gendarmerie and was headlined by the Italian singer Claudio Baglioni.