Pope Francis on Saturday left hospital after spending three nights for a bronchitis infection, joking with well-wishers and newsmen waiting outside for him that he was “still alive.”
The Pope, 86, who was admitted to Rome’s Gemelli hospital on Wednesday with breathing difficulties, stepped out of the car conveying him and smiled and joked with the crowd, before taking off to the Vatican to commence preparations for the Holy Week.
A video released by the Vatican pictured the Pope on Friday when he visited the children’s cancer ward at the hospital, giving out chocolate Easter eggs and even baptising a weeks-old baby boy,
Matheo Bruni, Vatican spokesperson, said Francis has been working earlier on Friday in the hospital’s private papal suite on the 10th floor and reading newspapers. He ate pizza with some hospital staff on Thursday.
The Pope who is from Argentina was discharged on Saturday as Bruni was earlier optimistic he would preside over Palm Sunday mass in St Peter’s Square.
The ceremony marks the commencement of Holy Week, which heralds Easter.
Francis’ hospitalization marks his second since 2021 when he underwent colon surgery at Gemelli.
His health concerns over the past year have prompted worry, including rumours that he might decide to retire rather than stay in the job for life.
His predecessor, Benedict XVI, had in 2013 quit in a radical step not seen experienced in the Middle Ages.
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