Pope Francis departs hospital, delivers 2-word joke to reporters ahead of Holy Week
Pope Francis has been discharged from the hospital after a three-day stint under observation for a respiratory infection.
The pontiff, 86, was discharged on Saturday morning from Gemelli Hospital in Rome, Italy in good health.
Asked by reporters how he was feeling, Pope Francis quipped, “Still alive!”
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The sovereign was hospitalized on Wednesday due to difficulty breathing. He was later diagnosed with bronchitis and showed rapid improvement after receiving antibiotic infusion treatment.
Pope Francis met with patients and their loved ones before departing Gemelli Hospital, stopping to pray with the mother of a five-year-old who had died during the night previous.
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He took time to sign a young boy’s arm cast before departing, and also visited with and thanked the staff of the hospital for the healthcare he received.
The pope’s first stop upon departure was the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where he prayed for the souls of those he met during his time at Gemelli Hospital.
He is expected to participate in the Psalm Sunday mass on April 2.
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Pope Francis continued to work in a limited capacity during his three-day hospitalization — bringing chocolates, rosaries, and children’s books about Jesus to the facility’s pediatric oncology ward.
On Friday, he also baptized a child named Miguel Angel who was only a few weeks old.
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During his recovery, Pope Francis also sent a papal telegram to the Diocese of Nashville to express condolences for the victims and those affected by the Covenant School shooting.
“Deeply saddened to learn of the recent shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, his Holiness Pope Francis asks you to convey his heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his prayers to all affected by this senseless act of violence,” the telegram read.
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The message continued, “He joins the entire community in mourning the children and adults who died and commends them to the loving embrace of the Lord Jesus.”
The papal telegram was relayed to Bishop Mark Spalding by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.
The message concluded, “He likewise invokes the consolation and strength of the Holy Spirit upon the grieving families and prays that they will be confirmed in their faith in the power of the risen Lord to heal every hurt and to bring good out of unspeakable evil.”
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