Pope Francis expected to leave hospital

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Pope Francis was due to leave the hospital on Saturday after spending three nights in treatment for bronchitis to begin preparations for the most important week in the Christian calendar.

The 86-year-old pope was admitted to Rome’s Gemelli hospital on Wednesday after complaining of breathing problems, but his condition improved after being given antibiotics.

According to a video released by the Vatican, the Pope visited the hospital’s pediatric cancer ward on Friday, handed out chocolate Easter eggs, and baptized a few-week-old baby boy.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Francis was working in the Pope’s private quarters on the 10th floor of the hospital on Friday, reading newspapers. I ate

Bruni said the Argentine pope was due to be dismissed on Saturday and was scheduled to preside over a Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

The ceremony marks the beginning of Holy Week, which culminates at Easter.

Francis’ hospitalization was his second since 2021, when he underwent colon surgery, also in Gemelli.

His growing health problems over the past year have raised widespread concerns, including speculation that he may choose to retire rather than stay in the job for the rest of his life.

His predecessor, Benedict XVI, abdicated in 2013, taking a radical step not seen since the Middle Ages.

People who visited St. Peter’s Square on Friday expressed relief at the Pope’s improvement.

“I was afraid of the Pope,” said a 56-year-old Italian tourist who identified himself as David.

“But I am happy that he has recovered and is back. It is important for believers and the Catholic community,” he added.

– Hosting Mass –

Francis celebrated his 10th anniversary as head of the global Catholic Church earlier this month.

Although he has pushed for major government reforms and sought to build a more open and compassionate church, he faced internal opposition, especially from conservatives.

He has repeatedly said he would consider resigning if he had health problems, but said last month that he has no plans to quit at this time.

During Palm Sunday Mass, Francis is expected to remain seated while another minister (perhaps a senior cardinal) officiates at the altar.

The Vatican, citing medical staff, said on Thursday that Francis had been diagnosed with “infectious bronchitis” requiring antibiotics and that treatment had resulted in “a marked improvement in his health.”

The Gemelli Hospital was favored by the Pope and was called the “Third Vatican” by Pope John Paul II. Pope John Paul II spent a total of 153 days in the Gemelli hospital, undergoing nine treatments.

A Jesuit who seems happiest in the flock, Francis continues to travel abroad and maintain a busy schedule.

However, he admitted that knee pain has forced him to use a wheelchair and walking stick over the past year, and he had to slow down last summer.

He said on Thursday that he was “touched by the many messages” he received at the hospital and thanked those who are praying for his recovery on Twitter.

Francis’ previous stay at Gemelli in July 2021 lasted 10 days. He was hospitalized after suffering from a form of diverticulitis, a pocket inflammation that occurs in the lining of the intestine that required surgery.

Pope said in an interview in January that his diverticulitis had returned.

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