Doctors cleared Pope Francis to be discharged on Saturday from a Rome hospital where he was treated for bronchitis, the Vatican said, adding that the pope ate pizza one evening with medical staff and baptized a baby in the children’s ward. .
In one of several updates on Friday, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Francis will be in St. Peter’s Square for a Palm Sunday mass at the start of Holy Week, though he didn’t say if the pope would deliver the homily during a particularly long service.
“The medical team following up on His Holiness Pope Francis, after evaluating the results of the tests carried out today and the favorable clinical recovery, confirmed the discharge” on Saturday, Bruni said in a written statement Friday evening.
Francis, 86, was hospitalized Wednesday at Gemelli Clinic, where doctors said the pope was receiving intravenous antibiotics for bronchitis.
Bruni, who described the pope’s medical recovery as “normal,” said earlier in the day, Thursday evening, “The pope dined, ate pizza, with everyone who helps him in these days of hospital stay,” including doctors, nurses and assistants. and Vatican security personnel.
Given the pope’s return to the Vatican Hotel where he lives, the spokesperson said, he is expected to be present on the square for the Palm Sunday Mass, which officially begins Holy Week and culminates with the Easter Mass in the square on April 9.
Medical staff decided to take him to hospital on Wednesday after he returned to his residence in the Vatican after his usual weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square. The Vatican reported that he had experienced difficulty breathing in the previous days.
The Vatican said Thursday that antibiotic treatment for bronchitis has led to a “marked” improvement in his health.
In a video released by the Vatican, Francis is seen baptizing a few-week-old baby in a hospital.
After Mother Francis tells the boy’s name, Miguel Angel, the Pope uses a metal hospital tray usually used to hold syringes to pour water over the sleeping baby’s head, then tries to calm the infant, who is waking up and crying and appears to be trying to calm him down. Hit the Pope’s hand.
Then Francis asked the mother to dry her son’s wet forehead. Then he said to her: “When you go to your parish, say that the Pope baptized him.”
Francis was smiling and looking goofy as he visited the children being treated for cancer at Gemelli and offered large, swirled chocolate Easter eggs.
Earlier in the day, Francis sent out a tweet on Friday possibly inspired by the current health challenge he faces.
Francis wrote: “When we are tested by faith, the trials and difficulties of life purify our hearts, making them more humble, and therefore more and more open to God.” The tweet carried the hashtag of the liturgical fast, the period of the liturgical year emphasizing penance and sacrifice in the run-up to the church celebration of Easter, which refers to the Christian belief that Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion.
The Vatican seemed eager to quickly dispel any concerns about the pope’s fitness to continue his duties fully. Almost immediately after the announcement of Francis’ discharge date, the Vatican announced that the pope would meet with the prime minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina on Monday in a private audience at the Apostolic Palace.
The Palm Sunday mass usually attracts tens of thousands of believers, including many pilgrims from abroad, who flock to Rome for Holy Week.
Francis had already largely stopped celebrating Mass on the Holy Days of the major Catholic Church due to a chronic knee problem, but he continued to officiate ceremonies and preach sermons.
Appointments in Holy Week include the late-night Way of the Cross procession subject to stamina, which features prayers on Good Friday at the Colosseum in Rome and Easter Mass on April 9, which is traditionally followed by a long papal address delivered from the central balcony of St. … St. Peter’s Basilica.
During Wednesday’s hour-long audience, Francis at times seemed visibly in pain as he moved around with help from assistants.
In July 2021, Francis underwent surgery at Gemelli Polyclinic after experiencing a narrowing of his colon. As a young man in Argentina, part of Francis’ lung was removed.
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