Rome, Italy, Apr 22, 2014 / 11:04 am
Pope Francis sent 150 Easter eggs to the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital as an Easter gift to children hospitalized with cancer.
According to hospital officials, a van from the Vatican filled with chocolate eggs arrived at the facility during Holy Week, and the eggs were given to the children in the oncology unit.
The Bambino Gesu Hospital, known as "the Pope's Hospital," was founded in 1869 and is the oldest pediatric hospital in Italy.
Families in Italy traditionally give chocolate eggs to their children during Easter. The eggs are often elaborately decorated and specially packaged at bakeries and candy shops.
Pope Francis met with children at the hospital during a Christmas visit last Dec. 21.
Pope John XXIII – who will be canonized April 27 – visited the hospital on Christmas Day in 1958. Pope Paul VI continued the tradition by visiting the hospital, as did Pope John Paul II, who will also be canonized April 27. Pope Benedict XVI made his own visit to the hospital during the first days of his pontificate.