The Pope, just released from the hospital, thanks the faithful during Palm Sunday Mass

The pope, fresh out of hospital, thanks the faithful during the Palm Sunday Mass


Pope Francis, hospitalized this week for treatment of bronchitis, thanked the faithful for their prayers during Mass on Palm Sunday, an important event in the Christian calendar marking the start of Holy Week. 

“I greet you all, Romans and pilgrims, especially those who have come from afar. I thank you for your participation and also for your prayers, which you have intensified in recent days. Thank you!” said the 86-year-old pontiff as he led the Angelus prayer the day after he was discharged from hospital after a three-day stay.

He briefly greeted the crowd Sunday morning as he moved through St. Peter's Square decorated with more than 35,000 plants and flowers.

Aboard his papamobile, he had displayed a serious air before taking part in this ceremony, at which he had promised to be present, in front of 30,000 people.

The pontiff had left Rome's Gemelli hospital on Saturday after a three-night stay, appearing to be in good shape and in a joking mood.

“I'm still alive,” he replied in smiling at journalists and worshipers gathered around the hospital who asked him how he was feeling.

The leader of 1.3 billion Catholics has suffered from growing health problems for several years, including pain in the knee that force him to use a wheelchair and a cane.

At Palm Sunday and Easter Masses, he is expected to remain seated while a cardinal conducts the ceremony at the altar. According to the Holy See, this organization was decided before his hospitalization, the Argentine pontiff no longer being able to stand for long.

On Wednesday, the Vatican said he was going to Gemelli Hospital for scheduled check-ups, before admitting he had been experiencing difficulty breathing and had a 'respiratory infection' requiring antibiotic treatment. .

This is his second hospitalization since 2021, when he underwent colon surgery, also in Gemelli.

Pope Francis celebrated his tenth years at the head of the worldwide Catholic Church. He pushed through major governance reforms and sought to forge a more open and compassionate church, although he faced internal opposition, particularly from conservatives.

He has repeatedly said he would consider resigning — like his predecessor Benedict XVI, who died in December — if his health were to fail, but he recently claimed that was not on the cards.

< p>His previous stay in Gemelli, in July 2021, had lasted ten days. He had been admitted there for a major colon operation. He claims to have kept “after-effects” from the anesthesia, which have led him to rule out knee surgery so far.

During an interview in January, Jorge Bergoglio confided again suffer from diverticulitis, an inflammation of the diverticula, hernias or pockets that form on the walls of the digestive system.

The pope is constantly monitored by a team of caregivers, both in the Vatican and when he travels abroad.

A precaution all the more necessary as he has a heavy medical history behind him: at the age of 21, he almost died of pleurisy and underwent the partial ablation of his 'a lung.