On Friday, Pope Francis visited a neonatal unit and a hospice for the terminally ill in Rome as part of the year of mercy.

Throughout the year, Pope Francis has been visiting various groups as part of the “Mercy Friday” initiatives.

This month, the pope visited the San Giovanni hospital and stopped by the emergency room and neonatal unit where he spent time with the 12 babies the unit. The pope spoke to the babies in each incubator and shared messages of comfort with the parents.

Following the visit to the neonatal unit, Pope Francis visited the Villa Speranza Hospice which houses 30 terminally ill patients. The pope spoke with each patient as well as their families.

Through the visits, the pope hoped to highlight the dignity of life from conception to natural death.

“The Holy Father wanted to give a strong sign of the importance of life, from its first moment to its natural end,” the Vatican said in a statement, “The acceptance of life and the guarantee of human dignity at all stages of development are lessons repeatedly stressed by Pope Francis.”

In past months, the pope has visited a home for the elderly, an addiction rehab center, and a home for retired priests.

Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.