“I’m Still Alive,” Says Pope Francis As He Leaves Hospital
Pope Francis left the hospital and returned to the Vatican on Saturday after being treated for bronchitis, softening his illness by saying: “You know, I’m still alive.”
The pope, 86, was taken to Rome’s Gemelli hospital on Wednesday after complaining of shortness of breath, but responded quickly to an infusion of antibiotics, his medical team said.
To show he was fully recovered, Francis got out of his car before leaving the hospital grounds, using a walking stick.
He greeted the well-wishers and spoke briefly to the waiting reporters, confirming that he would host the Palm Sunday service in St Peter’s Square and would give his usual weekly speech. before the faithful.
Sunday began a week of Easter and the Vatican later said the pope would join those celebrations, with the support of the cardinals.
Before returning to the car, Francis hugged a sobbing mother, whose young daughter had died in the hospital overnight, and prayed with both father and mother.
He also signed the plasterboard of a boy who broke his arm and waved from a car window as he drove away.
When asked by reporters if he was scared during his hospital stay, the pope said: “No, not afraid.”
“In a hospital with so many heroes, so much tenderness for patients. You know the sick, we are very capricious. Illness comes with capriciousness. You need to be patient,” he said. speak and praise the work of all staff at the hospital. gemstone.
“I went to the children’s section and saw how tenderly they took care of the children,” he said.
“Now I need to sleep for four days,” he joked after answering various questions.
The pope, who marked the 10th anniversary of his pontificate in March, has suffered from a number of illnesses in recent years.
He was last hospitalized in 2021 for colon surgery, but on that occasion he was obscured from his departure from Gemelli.
He faces a challenging week as the Roman Catholic Church prepares for the most important day of its calendar – Easter Sunday April 9 – with a series of rites, ceremonies and funerals. pick up.
The principal of the school of cardinals, Giovanni Battista Re, has said that a cardinal will help the pope with the week’s ceremonies and take care of altar duties.
A similar arrangement was made last year, when the pope sat aside during some Easter events due to persistent knee pain, for senior cardinals to preside over Mass.
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