ROME (AP) " Pope Francis has donned a pair of surgical scrubs to visit premature babies at a Rome hospital.
Francis seemed enchanted by the tiny babies squirming, sleeping and crying in the neonatology unit of San Giovanni hospital, where he left a papal medal in each crib.
He cradled newborn Emiliano in his arms, asking "Is he eating well?" and inquired about other babies as he greeted parents and NICU staff.
Each month of his Holy Year of Mercy, Francis spends one Friday afternoon outside the Vatican performing an act of mercy. After visiting the babies, Francis went to a hospice to meet with the terminally ill.
The Vatican says he wanted to send a message about respecting life at all stages, from its start to natural death.
This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings